Commuting from Mexico, experiencing unpredictable borderlines and attending school is the regular morning schedule of Luciana Pareyon-Gil and her mother, Ofelia Gil.
Luciana is a commuter student from Tijuana, Mexico. She has been crossing the border to attend school in the U.S. for 15 years.
“I prefer Luciana to go to school in the states because she has the opportunity to go to school in a first-world country and have the best education,” said Ofelia.
Ofelia makes the daily commute with Luciana because Luciana is not yet comfortable with the freeways and speed; however they see it as bonding time, said Ofelia.
While Luciana is in school, Ofelia enjoys San Diego by going on walks, having breakfast with friends, shopping, and reading.
The freeways aren’t the only challenging thing about Luciana’s commute. Luciana and Ofelia both agree that the most difficult thing about commuting is the unpredictability of the border line. The actual commute is only an hour; however, they have to leave home two hours early to ensure they are on time.
Point Loma Nazarene University supports Luciana in the challenges of international commuting through programs such as the Commuter Services, The Mosaic Lounge and The Office of Multicultural and International Student Services.
“The Office of Multicultural and International Student Services has a mentoring program called Team Barnabas,” said Luciana. “This program provides me support, assistance, and social guidance.”
Eddie Simhairy, commuter student services manager, organizes the events and amenities of the Commuter Lounge.
Commuter services host many events throughout the year for commuters, including international commuters. “COMMUTER WHATEVER” is a breakfast event, where commuters can go into the Commuter Lounge and get donuts, bagels, fruit, and juices, according to Simhairy.
Lunch for a buck days allow commuters to go to the cafeteria and buy lunch for one dollar, which is an awesome event to bond with other commuters and residential students, said Simhairy.
“The Commuter Lounge sells snacks for fifty cents which is really cheap,” said Simhairy. “We offer printing, lockers, and kitchen necessities. The commuter lounge opens at 7 a.m. and closes at 8 p.m.”
These different organizations and resources on campus help support transborder according to Luciana.
“These systems have helped me navigate college and feel less alone,” said Luciana.
Simhairy, being a commuter himself, offers advice to other commuter students, including international commuters.
“Don’t live the commuter life, get involved with the school, form relationships, join clubs, and get to know the community,” said Simhairy. “Especially for international commuters who may not be as familiar with the area.”
Luciana is accustomed to crossing the border for school after doing it for 15 years. She has been lucky enough to find schools that she’s liked, and she is excited to share her transborder experience.
“Being a commuter from Mexico here at PLNU is really interesting,” said Luciana. “I come from a high school where everyone commuted from TJ. Each time I introduce myself to someone here, they are surprised that I cross the border. This information is new to them, and the way they react is new to me since crossing the border is normal for me.”
Written By: Amanda Fishback