Alberto Sebastian Moncayo made a cultural leap from Quito, Ecuador, to Monroe, Louisiana and now studies accounting at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. He is the fourth of his siblings to journey from Quito to Monroe to benefit from ULM’s educational opportunities.
His three older siblings Marcelo, Melissa, and Xavier Moncayo graduated from ULM with degrees in business and a degree in graphic design respectively. Now, Marcelo lives in Paris, France, and works as a financial advisor. Melissa lives in Houston, Texas, and works for a multinational oil company. Xavier lives in Little Rock, Ark., and works in advertising.
“I have the example of my three older siblings who attended ULM…they strongly recommended that I attend ULM, since all of them had great experiences here,” said Sebastian, recalling how he made the decision to travel so far from home for the sake of his education.
“I visited the campus when my oldest brother was graduating. I was only 13 years old, and I was completely fascinated by ULM’s campus. The bayou, the green areas, the library, the football stadium – I really liked the campus, and the idea of attending this school stuck in my mind for many years.”
Now, at 21-years-old, Sebastian says that being so far away from home has helped him to grow as a person, allowing him to become more independent and more responsible.
Sebastian, who has been studying English since the first grade, said he loves meeting so many people from around the world. “Living in a different country expands your points of view and perspectives. I have learned how to understand different cultures and respect them.”
His favorite spots on campus include Starbucks and the ULM Library. “It is a great place,” he said of the library. “And I like the view from the seventh floor. It is a really amazing view that you can only get in Louisiana.”
Sebastian makes a significant effort to be involved on campus. Every Friday, he plays soccer in the Activity Center, and he works as a Spanish tutor in the Language Learning Center on the third floor of Brown Hall. He also participates in the Catholic Campus Ministry and works in the business computer lab helping other students.
But his studies come first in everything. So far, his favorite class has been English as a Second Language taught by ULM English instructor James Pettit. “It was my favorite class because of my professor… He was so nice to all international students… He makes the class fun and enjoyable.”
Sebastian raves about all of ULM’s professors, however, insisting, “The teachers are great. They are always willing to help. They make me think that they are worried, that they care about my studies and my development. They’re great!”
His professors feel as enthusiastic about him. ULM Instructor James Pettit said of Sebastian, “It was a pleasure having [him] as a student in the ESL class and later in an English 1002 class…the characteristic that impressed me about him the most was his level of engagement, not only with the material and activities in the class, but with his fellow students as well…Having had the opportunity to teach him for two semesters, I can tell you that this is simply a part of his personality.”
So far, his proudest moments at ULM have been interviewing for his DiscoverULM video and this feature. “I feel very proud to represent a Spanish speaking student from ULM, my family, and my country.” He said, “It has been such a fun and great experience.”
After two years, Sebastian said that he loves his university and looks forward to spending more time in Monroe, continuing to participate on campus and meet new friends. In his junior year, he hopes to work as an intern for a major company, and after graduation, he plants to attend graduate school for his Masters in Business Administration and his CPA certification.
“I consider ULM my home,” he said. “My parents are very proud of me.”