Nicolas Hernandez ’09
Hometown: Bogotá, Colombia
Nicolas Hernandez ’09 is a living testament to the enduring faculty-student bonds developed at Messiah College and how those relationships can span generations.
More than 25 years ago, while on a study abroad program in Bogotá, Colombia, Kim Yunez, now an associate professor of Spanish at Messiah College (www.messiah.edu/department of modern languages), met and befriended Angela Morales a social worker involved in community development. The two sparked a friendship that kept them connected for more than two decades.
“My mother [Angela] and Kim stayed in touch all those years,” said Nicolas. “I knew of Professor Yunez but had not met her until she visited our home in Bogotá about five years ago. After then my whole life changed.”
Nicolas beams with excitement when sharing his story of how Professor Yunez graciously volunteered to sponsor him via the College’s Academic English Program of 2005, going so far as to put a roof over his head, and giving him a crash course in English.
“Can you imagine sitting in an economics classroom on the first day of school and not understanding a word?” he exclaims. “The subject matter is difficult, even for those who speak English!“
Today, after a lot of hard work, Nicolas has an excellent command of the English language and the good grades to prove it. “It’s against the odds for a kid from Colombia to have such an opportunity. I’m going to make the most of this … and then help my family.”
This summer, the Messiah junior will be afforded another great opportunity—living and working in New York City. Frederick Schlomann, parent of an alumnus and Big Apple resident, has offered Nicolas housing during his three-month internship at HVB Group, one of Europe’s leading financial firms. In his role, Nicolas will use his bi-lingual skills to assist Latin American partners with finance-related research. “My attitude is this,” he claims, “whatever learning opportunities come my way … I am open and eager.”
Posted on July 8th, 2008