"United, we can make something better. SDA pushed me so I can realize who I am and what I can do"
As part of the Hispanic Alliance's ongoing efforts to support our alumni of the Student DREAMers Alliance, we recently sat down to talk with Daniel Mateo Cubides Sanchez. Daniel was a member of SDA Class III (2018 - 2018) and is a Senior at Furman University.
What kind of mark do you want to leave on the world?
For Daniel Cubides, the answer to this question begins with learning about others to better understand them. “We live in a very big world,” he says. He began exploring the world’s largeness and diversity when he moved to the United States from Colombia as a child. He saw that people in the United States were from all different places, and this sparked his passion for discovering other cultures. Following this passion led him to study anthropology and Japanese at Furman University, where he is currently a senior. “Learning about cultures and all these different people, it opens borders,” he explains. “It opens up your perspective of everything. It helps you to understand more of the world—more about what makes us human.” This led him to discover a change he wants to create in the world: to bridge the gaps between people.
Daniel’s participation in the Student DREAMers Alliance helped him to discover his dreams and pursue his passions with an open heart. Through SDA , Daniel joined a community of other students who were both similar to and different from him. They immediately supported each other.
In one of Daniel’s favorite memories from his time with Student DREAMers Alliance, the group went zip-lining at a retreat center in the mountains. He remembers his peers supporting each other through their fears and having a good time together. This experience embodied one of Daniel’s key takeaways from the program: “We can unite to make something better.” He always had the power to create change, but he says that before Student DREAMers Alliance, he didn’t know his own potential. “United, we can make something better. SDA pushed me so I can realize who I am and what I can do,” he says. He also says that he used to be shy, but Student DREAMers Alliance taught him that his voice matters. He learned that, in addition to doing good for himself and his community, he can help other communities. By forming a close-knit local community as part of the Student DREAMers Alliance, Daniel became better connected to and interested in global ones.
In times of doubt, Daniel’s Student DREAMers Alliance experience helps him stay true to himself and to his dreams. He’s found that the act of listening to and learning about others is a way to positively influence the world in and of itself. He plans to travel to other countries, teach foreign language, and use his knowledge to support all the different communities he encounters. When looking to the future, he hopes to spread his spirit of genuine acceptance and curiosity, starting with his own city. In his ideal Greenville, everyone is included. “I want everyone to be involved in the success of the city and the success of the country,” he says,”without any barriers in between us.”
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