Dr Adriana Navarro-Suarez, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellow, Department of Chemistry

Part of Shifting the Lens: A celebration of cultural diversity at Imperial

“To me, Colombia means happiness. There’s such amazing food, and on Sundays, we usually have a family gathering with our grandma. We don’t do this that often now because we don’t all live together, but whenever I go back home there is always a time where around 30 of us will gather and eat, drink and laugh.  

“Colombians also love dancing – especially Cuban and Colombian salsa! As a nation, we’re really successful in international dancing competitions. Colombia is also a very religious country. During Christmas, there is an event called novena, where for nine days before the 24th you pray each night. Each of those nine nights is hosted by a different house/family and includes food and drinks. 

“I feel like I can be open about being Colombian. It doesn’t happen that often, but sometimes people are racist, especially because Colombia has been quite renowned for drugs. People do not realise that the drug-lord era deeply hurt our people and belongs to our past. Now we are just a nation trying to heal and grow.  

“People also generally don’t know much about Colombia and barely know it’s in South America – I remember once someone thought it was a Baltic Country! As a result, while there is recognition of minority groups, usually it focuses on Black and Asian people – for example, when I am filling in forms, there is no Latino option. It would be great to find other Latino people at Imperial to show the large and diverse community we are and to share our experiences.”

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