Meet Philippe Patri. He is a junior business marketing major and psychology minor. Patri has spent two and a half years in the United States. He was born and raised by his family of French background in the South American city of Santiago, Chile. Coming here as a college freshman, he didn’t know much English. He started to learn, but only for a short time in high school because he was already fluent in French and Spanish.
Moving to a small town in Iowa was a big cultural shift for Patri.
“Santiago is just in the middle of our large and tiny country. Chile on one side has the Cordillera de Los Andes [Andes Mountains] and on the other side is the Pacific Ocean. This makes available to me to take my car and go and practice surf one hour away from home or to go the other way around and practice snowboard one hour away from home,” Patri said.
The flat and cold setting of Iowa, in Patri’s words “makes winters even less enjoyable.” During breaks, however, he and his friends try to explore the country looking for different landscapes and mountains in places like California and Colorado.
One of the largest celebrations in Chile is the country’s Independence Day on Sept. 18. The country usually stops everything in order for the people to properly celebrate. Because there are so many options for outdoor sports and activities with the mountains, ocean, forest and deserts, the people of Chile are very active and lovers of the outdoors. One common pastime for Chileans is playing soccer.
“There is no Chilean who doesn’t play soccer on weekends,” Patri said.
Like Halima Shokuri said in her response, the community here in Orange City is drastically different than the large city of Santiago, population of 5.6 million people. Patri appreciates this fact, along with the calm and spiritually focused atmosphere. According to Patri, if he had stayed in Chile to go to school, it would have been much harder with everything that there is to distract students in their studies there. As well as staying focused in his studies, he reflects on his appreciation that students in the United States can have the opportunity to have a high participation in sports while also being a student.
Even though Patri could have just as easily attended another college in America that would allow him the same privilege of participating in sports at the same time as studies, there was another reason he made the final decision to attend Northwestern. When Coach Swier of men’s soccer here sought out Patri as a recruit, Patri felt viewed as a valued person and addition to the team, not just viewed for the stats he had earned previously in the sport. He felt like he was able to be seen as a person, not just a number. Because of this decision, Patri has grown here in his spiritual life, in his athletics and overall as a person.