Jackpot! Paola Mendoza

Paola Mendoza, an international student, finds home and comfort at Trinity

Growing up near the beach in a town in Venezuela, Ana Paola Mendoza, who goes by Paola, moved around quite a bit due to her father’s job at a company in the oil and gas industry. After moving to Ecuador at the age of 10 on account of the political climate in Venezuela, she had to adapt to her new life in Ecuador.

This idea of moving saddened Mendoza because of her admiration for her home country. Going into sixth grade at the time, Mendoza had to make new friends and sometimes felt like it was very difficult. However, the move also opened many new doors for her and her family.

“The cultural differences between Venezuela and Ecuador were pretty apparent to me and some people in school would make fun of me by saying that I talk funny. But that was just something I learned to adapt to and it got much better over time,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza is the youngest of three sisters. Being the youngest was fine for her, but sometimes her sister and her would butt heads, as they were pretty close in age. Still, that doesn’t keep her from missing the times they spent together. As a family, they used to go to the beach. When they are all together, they love to cook, listen to music and dance. Some of their favorite cuisines to cook are Italian food and a fusion of Ecuadorian and Venezuelan cuisines.

Mendoza’s mom volunteers a lot and worked for Rotary International in Venezuela, an organization working to help minorities in foreign countries. Mendoza said that she has learned a lot from her mom’s volunteering experiences and that they have influenced her.

“I’ve been very influenced by my mom and I feel like giving back to the community and helping others are both big parts of what completes me,” Mendoza shared.

Mendoza’s dad’s job led her to find out about Trinity as his work requires him to be in Texas often. Mendoza wanted to explore Texas and, during her junior and senior years, looked at schools predominantly in Texas. She also got insight from her college counselor about schools, and Trinity caught her eye immediately.

Back in high school, Mendoza did a management project that opened up her perspective on how the fundamentals and different aspects of a business apply to daily life. Mendoza intends to major in international business and shared that she loves to travel.

“I noticed that Trinity had a lot of students from different backgrounds and I really liked that. It is also a small school, so I feel like I can get to know people better and click with them easier. I was a little nervous at first because I’ve always seen things on the news about people from Texas, but it’s not the same, and I really love the people at Trinity,” Mendoza said.