March 14, 2024

My Journey to the University of The South: From Paraguay to the Top University in Tennessee with a Global Scholarship

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Lucas from Paraguay 🇵🇾

Campus Image of The University of the South
My Journey to the University of The South: From Paraguay to the Top University in Tennessee with a Global Scholarship

How my International Academic Journey started

Hello! I am Lucas and I am from Paraguay. Since I was a kid I've always looked beyond the education that my country could provide me. In 2020, I started learning English by myself with Duolingo and online resources. At the young age of 14 years old, I was part of a program called YouthAmbassadors, this program made me connect with inspiring young minds who shared their passion for studying abroad with me, some of my classmates at YouthAmbassadors applied to Opportunity Funds, a program of EducationUSA that is responsible for financing your entire application process to U.S universities, in at that time I didn't apply because of the age requirement. However, I focused on starting to build a great profile to apply to the program later.

Therefore, I applied to Yale Young Global Scholars, an academic program for students around the world and consequently, I was accepted. I enrolled in activities that would help me high up my resume, the UNEPY (Unión Nacional de Centro de Estudiantes del Paraguay) and I was President of my school student council. When I reached the age requirement I applied to the Opportunity Funds program, I passed the four phases of the program being one of the six selected. What ensured my studying in the U.S plans was my participation in the Latin American Phoenix Scholar of The University of Chicago. In that program, I took enlightening classes that reinforced the idea of studying abroad.

Why Sewanee?

For as long as I can recall I considered myself a picky person, while making my college list I looked for a university that could make me feel like Monsters University, I wanted the American Dream. I also was looking for a university with 100% financial aid and a small university population, a personalized education with around ten to fifteen students per class.

The other reason I chose The University of the South is that I built a sense of belonging with the university, contacting admissions officers through emails and meetings and asking questions about financial aid and opportunities within the university, where I demonstrated my interest in attending. My EducationUSA advisers recommended that I make myself known to the admissions officers since that increased my chances of being accepted.

Another thing that caught my attention was that Sewanee is located in a mountain, you can take classes in the forest and be surrounded by nature, since my intended major is Environment and Sustainability, having the chance to learn outside was something I appreciated.

University Campus
University Campus

Stats, Extracurriculars

My GPA in the Paraguay Educational System was 5.0 (the maximum) and 4.0 translated in the American System. I took both the SAT and the TOEFL, as well as the Duolingo English Test. I ended up submitting my Duolingo score, which was 130.

One of my biggest extracurriculars was my passion project, Ecoañua which in Spanish is “eco abrazo” and can be translated as “eco hug”, which was the first NGO that I founded and is a virtual platform about environmental information in Paraguay and around the world. Also, promotes advice on how to improve our relationship with nature and to be more sustainable with the environment.

In 2022, I got involved in the UNEPY (Unión Nacional de Centro de Estudiantes del Paraguay) and later I became the coordinator of my region in 2023, I was elected as a national spokesperson. In that organization, I had monthly meetings with the Minister to discuss better education in Paraguay.

Since I was five years old, dancing has been part of my life. I am a dancer of Polish, Ukrainian, Paraguayan, and jazz music. So that really stood out in my application.


I started my application in October and while I was applying, the biggest resource I had available was the help of my EducationUSA advisors.

I also highly recommend the website College Essay Guy, it helped me while I was writing my essays. There is also a book called “How to Write with Flair” and it improved my writing skills.

Personal Statement

Finding the right topic was something hard for me because I wanted to tell everything in my statement but I focused on something very personal that has value to me, dancing. I wrote my personal statement about how dance influenced me, my personality, and my way of showing myself to the world. My essay structure was like a choreography, I used dancing vocabulary and I connected life experiences with dance.

I recommend focusing on oneself and talking about oneself. Sometimes without realizing it we talk more about another person and we do not focus on our achievements and long-term goals and trust in ourselves.


The University of the South provides financial aid, which is need-based and merit-based scholarships, to everyone no matter their financial situation but their merits. I personally received a merit-based Global Scholarship that covers tuition, food, and dorms for four years. The scholarship does not cover healthcare and airplane tickets.

As an Opportunity Funds student, I have some advantages, as the program pays for my airplane ticket and visa. Luckily, I have it all covered.

Campus life

Sewanee is known as Sewanee because the University of the South is located in the city of Sewanee and the campus covers the entire city land, resulting in it being the third largest university campus in the United States.

As a student, you have the opportunity to enroll in all kinds of sports and activities such as hiking, exploring caves and the University has its own airport, so anyone interested in being a pilot can study in Sewanee. The university also provides host families to International students, to make them feel that they have a family near to them, and promotes worldwide studying abroad experiences and internships. The University also has a partnership with Vanderbilt University which means that Sewanee students can take classes in Vanderbilt with the 3+2 Engineering program, which means 3 years of study of liberal arts at Sewanee and 2 years of study in an Engineering program at Vanderbilt.

Final thoughts

I hope that Sewanee will be a place that makes me feel at home despite the hundreds of kilometers between me and my family. I hope to make the Paraguayan culture there alive because I will miss my country's food and traditions every day.

I want to keep promoting in Paraguay the idea of studying abroad, I hope that I won't be the last Paraguayan in Sewanee and that young people not be afraid of failure, there is always uncertainty about what could happen, but it is worse not to try.

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from Paraguay 🇵🇾

Duration of Study

Aug 2024 — May 2028


Environment and Sustainability

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The University of the South

The University of the South

Tullahoma, US🇺🇸