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Northern Exposure

Northern Exposure
Caroline Purtell

Before moving into Brockman Hall her freshman year, Angela Su Luna had already shared her home with dozens of Xavier students and a few professors. Those participating in the University’s academic service-learning semester program in Luna’s native Nicaragua have made themselves at home in her family’s living room in La Luz, a working-class neighborhood in Managua. During their semester-long stay, students take classes and do volunteer work while living with local families.

“I loved having them there,” says Luna, who was 11 years old when the students first started staying with her family. “Instead of doing homework I thought, ‘Let’s go hang out with the gringos.”

Although her mother, Adilia, usually hosts the program’s director, students often dropped in to visit. “She was one of the reasons they would hang out there,” Luna says. “She was so welcoming.”

Through these visitors, Luna was exposed to the University on a very personal level, so when it came time for college she knew where she wanted to go.

Luna communicated with her mother—who had never been to Xavier, despite years of sheltering its constituents—by phone and returned home at Christmas and during the summer.

In May, however, Adilia Luna finally managed to make a trip to the Queen City. She came for her daughter’s graduation. “She’s my greatest supporter, my biggest fan,” Luna says. “I know she missed me a lot, but she encouraged me to do everything.”

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