La Vida International

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Born to Russian-Panamanian parents, Kristina Rosales, A.B. ’10, had lived in Eastern Europe, Central America, and Washington, D.C., by age 14. “I love the international lifestyle,” says Rosales, who speaks Portuguese, Spanish, and Russian, with conversational knowledge of French and Creole.

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Every year, approximately 2,725 international students (undergraduate and graduate), scholars (professors and researchers), and observers from more than 110 countries representing every region of the world study, teach, conduct research and observe at the University of Miami.

That made the University of Miami, with its global orientation, a natural draw. While at UM, in addition to majoring in international studies and political science and minoring in Latin American studies and economics, Rosales interned at the Center for Hemispheric Policy, took part in Get Out the Vote, joined the national leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa, and earned three prestigious prizes, including a Fulbright Award.

Rosales has been a passionate advocate for victims of Haiti’s devastating earthquake; she herself is a survivor of the catastrophe, which occurred when she was taking an intersession course in Cite Soleil. A Haitian youth initiative that Rosales helped develop was one of just 13 projects—out of some 250 submitted by UM students—that received seed money from the University for the Clinton Global Initiative University hosted by UM in April.

It was through her experiences in Haiti that Rosales learned of the problems faced by young people in Rio de Janeiro’s slums; through her Fulbright, she is currently conducting nine months of independent research in Brazil. She’ll then attend Columbia University’s social and urban studies graduate program before pursuing her foreign service career. What keeps her going? The answer, she says, is simple: “I’m just a very curious and ambitious individual.”

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