Humans of Oglethorpe

Humans of Oglethorpe: Beatriz Zuloaga ’23

Beatriz “Bea” Zuloaga ’23 is a junior biopsychology major.

“The most important person in my life was my Grandpa. Only my mom’s parents lived where I lived in Valencia [Venezuela]. The other side of the family lived three hours away, so it was really hard to see them—so I never had a close relationship with them. Plus, all of my cousins are like twenty-plus years older than me—so it was just awkward to have a relationship with them, because I was like four, and they were, like, ready to have kids and stuff. We never really had a close relationship. Except for my grandpa. 

Ibrahaim and Beatriz Zuloaga

Bea’s Chicho and Chicha, Ibrahaim and Beatriz

He came from a very, very small town back home in Venezuela, where the only college was three hours away. So he had to ride a donkey! But he got his PhD there. And he was the most loving human I’ve ever met in my life. I found old letters from when he was trying to flirt with my grandma, and the things he would write her—he would write paragraphs on paragraphs just about how much he loved her. He was my role model; he was like a second dad to me. He used to always tell me that I was his favorite—like, he wasn’t even shy about it, which I felt kind of bad about, because he would say it in front of my cousins and my brother.

Bea as a child in Venezuela

Bea as a child on her father’s cattle ranch in Cojedes, Venezuela

My brother and I used to be very different, back at home. We didn’t even have the same friend group, so we didn’t really talk. But as soon as we came here, to America, it was just me and him—that was it. He was my only family member. He’s the only person that I can actually be super vulnerable with, and he’ll understand. He’s just my rock. 

We came here in 2017, so my junior year of high school. I was really excited to go to America; that’s what I’ve always wanted to do, is to move here. But the cultural shock was a lot. I wasn’t used to people not liking to touch each other. And calling people “ma’am” and “sir”. It’s just a different type of hospitality. Like, for us, we use hospitality in a physical form, like hugs and stuff, and y’all use it in nice words. Like words of affirmation, almost. 

My senior year of high school was when I finally settled down, and I understood what I wanted to do with my life. I was determined to get good grades and end up at a good place, a good college. I want to be a PT when I’m older. But at first, I chose a major I didn’t really like. Some people had told me that it was just easier to go that route, and that it would be better for me…so I just listened to them. But I didn’t like it, and it was showing on my grades. I lost all motivation. And then one day out of nowhere, I just decided to do what I wanted to do. So, I changed my major at two in the morning without telling anyone. And I definitely feel now that I’m where I’m supposed to be.”

Humans of Oglethorpe was created by a Pegasus Creative student intern in University Communications at Oglethorpe. Inspired by Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton, this series will share personal stories and perspectives from across campus. Everyone has a story and everyone is human. Would you like to be involved in this series? Email Jamie Aiken. 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email