Where in the World is Miami Wednesday: Meet an International Student from Bolivia

Franciso rides in a RedHawk Racing car

By Fatimata Ndiaye & Halie Best

In this week's, Where in the World is Miami Wednesday, we meet Francisco Fabian Torres Pinell, a first-year student majoring in Mechanical Engineering, from La Paz, Bolivia.

Although Francisco has only been on campus for several weeks, he's already had a myriad of experiences. He's joined several student organizations on campus that align with his interests and field of study. He's gotten a taste for American culture at a football game, and has met friends from all around the world.

Francisco appreicates Miami's focus on a Liberal Arts-based education, as it allows him to explore interests outside his engineering major and learn more about topics he's passionate about. He also believes this will make him a marketable, well-rounded person who has knowledge in other fields.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Of course! My name is Francisco Fabian Torres Pinell (but you can call me Fran, Francis, or Franch), and I am a first-year student from La Paz, Bolivia. I have just begun classes to accomplish my dream of becoming a mechanical engineer, but I am considering to pursue an additional major in either Electrical Engineering or Entrepreneurship. Something that you might be surprised to know is that I founded a charity campaign in my hometown to gather clothes for children at a hospital. Although I am not currently in La Paz, my sister is taking care of it now.

Francisco and his family

How did you get to know about Miami University and what made you choose it?

I got to know Miami through the internet, and I really liked the quality of its engineering programs and its location to major cities like Cincinnati. However, the final push came when my uncle, who studied at Miami University to get his master's degree in Music Performance in Violin, told me about the opportunities to travel abroad that Miami has. He went with other Miami musicians to play in many countries including Germany and Luxembourg. Just as he had the opportunity to travel abroad while he was studying at Miami, I plan to do the same with some of the many programs that Miami has!

What has been your most memorable experience at Miami?

I have to admit that it was the Miami University vs. Tennessee Tech football game. I had never seen an American Football game live before, and I was surprised by how exciting it was. Even though I learned the basic rules of the game while I was watching it, I could feel the enthusiasm of Miami students supporting their team. I definitely learned what the RedHawk spirit was that day.

What has been the biggest difference between your home country and the U.S.?

The diversity of nationalities. Don’t get me wrong. In Bolivia, there is a lot of cultural diversity, but most people are from Bolivia. In the United States, I was able to meet people from many nationalities. I made friends from Nepal, Russia, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Serbia, Spain, Argentina, and China. Being exposed to so many cultures showed me that you can always learn something new from people that are different from you.

What has been the biggest similarity between your home country and the U.S.?

The hospitality of people. In both countries, Bolivia and the United States, I was able to find people that, without knowing you, are eager to meet you and become friends with you. For this reason, I was able to make so many friends in Miami even though I am here for less than a month!

Francisco with a RedHawk Racing Car

What organizations are you involved with on campus, and why?

I decided to join many engineering clubs. Fascinated by car construction, I joined the RedHawk Racing Team, in the hopes of learning how to use 3D modeling programs and how hydraulic systems work. In addition, I joined the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in order to learn the principles that make flying possible and to build some cool drones! Lastly, I joined the American Society of Mechanical Engineers to meet people who share my passion for machines.

What does Love & Honor mean to you?

To me, Love & Honor refers to the principles that all Miamians should lead our lives by. Love means to always put passion in whatever you are doing. Honor pertains to people. It reminds us that we should always treat others with respect, as well as recognizing that there is a community that will always join us: Miami.

What do you like to do for fun?

There are many activities I do for fun! These include learning how to play new Metallica songs in the guitar, playing paintball, hanging out with friends, and watching movies (my favorite movie director is Christopher Nolan!). However, I am always eager to participate in new activities.

Francisco hanging out with friends at a campus event

What is your favorite place to eat on campus?

Well, I don’t have a single favorite place to eat on campus — but two. I consider the Western Dining Commons to be the most visually appealing and comfortable to have a good laugh with friends. Besides Western, I really like the food that Maplestreet Commons has. I had never tried spring rolls and wonton that were so good!

How has Miami’s focus on a Liberal Arts-based education helped you?

In addition to engineering, I am passionate about world history and politics. Through Miami’s focus on Liberal Arts based education, I am able to explore both these interests. In addition, I believe that they will make a well-balanced person, someone who not only knows about engineering, but also has knowledge in other fields.

Francisco with his parents on move-in day

What advice would you give to someone who is considering pursuing their education at Miami University?

Be brave. I know it may be a tough experience to live by yourself for the first time in your life, probably far away from your family. This experience, although difficult at times, will not only help you grow academically but as a person. Being at Miami teaches you to be more responsible and to take care of yourself. In addition, you will meet people from various parts of the United States and the world. This will open your mind to new cultures and teach you that learning is a never-ending process. Lastly, you will be exposed to your passions! At Miami, there are so many student organizations that you will always find other people that share your same interests!


Catch us next week as we continue to travel around the world to feature the amazing opportunities that Miami students are taking and the experiences our alumni have had since graduating!

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