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Photo by Elke Schmidt, Senegal Bridge Year Program.

Introduction Letter – Fernanda Romo

Hi! My name is Fernanda and I’m very excited to be a part of the Bridge Year Program in Senegal this year! I’m sorry for not posting this letter sooner, so I’ll just go ahead and start telling you a little bit about myself.

I’m from Mexico, and my parents are both originally from the capital (Mexico City), but they moved to Cancun when they got married, 27 years ago. I’m now 18 years old and have lived my entire life in this city on the southeast of Mexico, right by the Caribbean Sea. I have a brother, Alberto, who is 23, and a sister, Daniela, who is 15.

Since I’m not really sure how to structure this introduction, I decided to make a list below of some things about myself that I think will help everyone know me a little bit better.

  • I am a big fan of dogs. I have 5 dogs right now, and love them like crazy. My camera roll is like 99% pictures of my dogs.
  • I used to be very involved in chess. From ages 6 to 14 playing chess competitively was a huge part of my life. I trained a lot, and I attended many tournaments that took me across my country every year. I was even lucky enough to qualify for a few international competitions, so playing chess actually opened the doors for me to travel to places like Turkey or Brazil, which were incredible experiences.
  • Growing up, I was that one kid who always carried a book everywhere she went. I read all the time, and I was a big fan of some popular fantasy series (Narnia, Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, etc). For a huge chunk of my life, I wanted to be a writer. Today, my favorite book is probably The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende.
  • I am very passionate about social causes. In high school I started to become more and more aware of the many social issues affecting Mexico, and I started getting involved in some causes that are very important to me, like gender and economic inequality, and some other issues that are particularly out of control in Mexico, like corruption and impunity in the government, or the violence perpetrated by the State towards civilians.
  • A couple of years ago, I read an article about something called effective altruism, which is a movement that seeks to use reason and analysis to find the best way to allocate resources in order to do the most good that is possible. I was very interested by the idea, and even though it’s not a perfect philosophy by any means, it did lead me to realize that I strongly believed in our moral responsibility to serve others, and to try to do the most good we can.
  • After considering how passionate I was about doing something to change the enormous inequality and misallocation of resources I saw in my country, how interested I was in the social sciences (specifically in politics and government), and how convinced I was that I wanted to use my career to serve others, I decided that I wanted to pursue a major in Public Policy, so I’m probably going to be a Woodrow Wilson major at Princeton. I have no idea what I’m going to do after that, but I would like to work in social development in developing nations such as my own.

I’m really excited to find out how Bridge Year is going to change my perspective on a lot of these things, and what I’m going to learn about the challenges of service and interculturalism, amongst everything else. I’m not going to lie, I’m also very very nervous about this upcoming year (specially now that its only a couple of weeks away!), but I guess this is a pretty normal way to feel in this case. Anyways, I can’t wait to meet everyone that will spend the next 9 months in Senegal as well. See you all soon!