“I feel like the way to get people to cooperate and come together is to step into their shoes and their situations.”

As it turns out, The Cave is #1 spot on campus to meet a diverse and interesting array of individuals. This is how I met Penniel Huggins and spoke with him about his life as a college student. “Technically I’m a grad student in the sense that I graduated last year in December. But I’m not really a grad student because I’m pretty much just taking courses this semester for fun.”

Penniel is studying Japanese here at ETSU. “I’ve always been a language person. For instance, I speak Spanish fluently. I have a lot of friends in Latin America and Germany and France. You know, I try to learn how to communicate well. Just in general, I’ve always been interested in Japanese culture so I’ve been wanting to learn the language. I want to learn multiple languages because I believe they’ll help me out a lot in life.”

When I heard about Penniel’s interest in language, I was curious to see where he has traveled in his life and where he might plan to visit in the future. “I’ve been to Japan, I lived there for about six months. I have a lot of friends in Venezuela so I’ve been there. I have family in Canada and most of my family is from Trinidad so I travel there often.” Penniel says the country he  most wants to travel to specifically is Brazil. “I do Capoeira, which is  Brazilian martial arts so I really wanna do to Brazil.”

Lastly, I asked Penniel why being culturally aware and diverse is important to him. Penniel told me it was because he comes from a very multicultural background and family. “On my mom’s side we’re like half -black/half -Indian. On my dad’s side, I mean we’re a mix of everything. Black, Hispanic, Asian, just a lot of different things. And because of that I’ve just always had this sense of interest in other cultures. Since I identify with various different ones, I just feel think traveling is important because it gives me context and background to understand other people. I feel like the way to get people to cooperate and come together is to step into their shoes and their situations. And so I like to stay with close friends regardless of where they live.”

Penniel is such a well-rounded individual. I really thought everything he had to say was inspiring and it was definitely a pleasure getting to meet him. I hope everyone finds his story as interesting as I found it.

Abby

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