After Learning English at UNK, Francisco Cantelo Returns to Pursue a Bachelor’s Degree – UNK News

Francisco Cantillo came to UNK in 2011 to learn English. Now, he’s back on campus pursuing a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. (Photos by Erika Pritchard, UNK Communications)


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Francisco Cantelo got here to UNK in 2011 to study English. Now, he’s again on campus for his bachelor’s diploma in Chemistry. (Picture by Erica Pritchard, UNK Communications)

Written by Tyler Ellison
UNK Communications

Kearney – His face lights up when he talks concerning the College of Nebraska at Kearney.

“I really feel proud to be a lopper,” says Francisco Cantillo. “I really feel proud to be a part of this household. Kearney has made my goals come true once more.”

The 37-year-old Worldwide Pupil is at the moment pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistryone thing that appeared unimaginable in his hometown of Cartagena, Colombia.

“Sadly, in a creating nation like Colombia, there will not be many individuals who know English and have a level,” mentioned Cantelo, who started his journey in larger schooling greater than a decade in the past.

Cantelo was a helicopter pilot for the Colombian Nationwide Police when he got here to UNK in 2011 to study English via a partnership between the nation’s Ministry of Nationwide Protection and UNK’s English Language Institute. He spent two years at Kearny, taking courses and constructing relationships with the college, employees, and college students right here.

“It was the primary expertise of my life exterior my dwelling nation,” mentioned Cantelo. “There have been language and cultural obstacles, however these variations did not matter as a result of the folks at Kearney and UNK are keen to make it work. You possibly can have your ups and downs, however it’s going to enable you work via these issues.”

Cantelo returned to Colombia after finishing the English program. However he mentioned, “I all the time had Kearney, Nebraska in thoughts.”

“At Colombia, I could not observe all my goals,” mentioned Cantelo. “You are able to do loads of good issues there, however my actual dream was to be within the sciences or the tutorial area.”

He served within the Nationwide Police for 10 years and hoped to get a place on the United Nations. When that did not work out, a buddy advised he work for Disney Cruise Line due to his outgoing character. Appointed in 2015.

“They gave me the chance to develop as knowledgeable,” mentioned Cantelo, who turned an assistant meals service supervisor overseeing the preparation of meals for friends and crew members.

The job allowed him to journey the world, meet new folks, and find out about different cultures. As well as, there have been alternatives for development inside the firm.

Nevertheless, every part modified in early 2020 when COVID-19 shut down your entire trade.

At this level, I mentioned to God, ‘If this is not the time to return to school, let me determine it out. Let me transfer on with my life and proceed with Disney.'” Cantelo mentioned.

Francisco Cantelo volunteers at
Francisco Cantelo volunteers for the weekly Non-English Dialog Tables, a UNK program that promotes worldwide pupil participation.

He obtained the reference he wanted with a Fb interplay with Traci Gunderson, an assistant director on the present Office of International Education of the United Nations University. After reconnecting on social media, Cantelo requested her a couple of attainable return to UNK.

“She mentioned, after all, you possibly can come again at any time,” Cantelo defined. “Right here I’m.”

Cantelo transferred to Kearney in the summertime of 2021 and took further courses via the English Language Institute to organize for his undergraduate schooling, which started that fall.

Despite the fact that he is older now, Cantelo has the identical shut ties to campus and the group.

“Once they say age is only a quantity, you possibly can really feel it right here,” he mentioned. “That is why I needed to return again. I really feel like I can observe my goals and I am not alone.”

Along with his classroom actions, Cantillo works at Studying Commons on campus and conducts analysis with chemistry professor Chris Exstrom. He additionally volunteered for the weekly Non-English Dialog Schedules, a program that enables worldwide college students to work together with the campus and Kearney communities whereas educating their native languages ​​to attendees and sharing details about their cultures.

Cantelo will not graduate till 2025, however he is already set his sights excessive. He sees a possibility to make use of his background in aeronautics and science within the house exploration trade.

“Once they begin sending folks to Mars, I wish to be prepared for that,” Cantelo mentioned, and he is definitely keen to do no matter it takes to make his goals come true.




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