Name: Ariela Santillan
House: Rogers Rotary

Hi! I am Ariela Santillan. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but have been living in Florida for about eight years now! I love listening to music, spending time with my family, playing games with my housemates, learning different languages, and eating. Back home in Davenport, I live with my parents, my grandparents, my sister, and my two dogs Babalu and Rico.

I am a linguistics major, as well as pursuing my TESL certificate. I come from a Cuban-Dominican family, which led me to what I am studying now. I LOVE language and I really do believe that language is the door to every culture. Language shows one the behavior of a society and its cultural customs. In my opinion, one can’t understand one’s culture without accessing its language directly. Being raised in a two-culture home, I’ve grown to love other cultures. After I graduate, I’d love to be a teacher for TESL (teaching English). With this job, I plan on teaching abroad somewhere, I don’t know where yet. However, one day I would love to visit Korea. I love Korean food, the Korean language, Korean music, etc. If possible, I want to teach around the whole world. I am thankful for SSF because I can make these dreams happen.

I heard about SSF through my friend Zab who lives at the Tyner house. I’ve known her since high school. I needed a place to stay as I was coming to Gainesville for the first time, as I was a UF online student. I couldn’t finish my major online anymore as nothing else for my major was available. One thing that was stressing me out was how I was going to live in Gainesville with barely any money. I am so thankful for my friend Zab telling me about SSF, I am so grateful for SSF. I have made life long friends here in the year and a half I have been here. I literally would not want to live any where else. The community at SSF is so amazing! I can’t wait to spend the rest of my senior year here.