It’s normal for students to be uneasy when they’re going away to college for the first time. But when Raquel Pratas hugged her mom goodbye at the start of her freshman year at Taylor University, she was feeling more than the typical first-day jitters. Her family, her home, and everything she’d ever known were oceans away.
“I was in a new country, speaking another language with people I didn’t know,” Raquel said. “But even though I was crying and unsure, I felt a peace in my heart that I knew this was the place God had for me for the next four years.”
Raquel and her sister Mariana were born in Portugal. The daughters of missionaries, they moved to Mozambique when they were 11 and 7, where they lived until college.
After visiting campus in 2014, the sisters had their sights set on Taylor, but it seemed out of reach. “With a lack of financial resources, the opportunity to come to study here was almost an impossible dream for the both of us,” Mariana said.
But thanks to the generosity of donors, they both were able to receive scholarships that turned their college dreams into a reality.
Now a recent graduate of the Class of 2019, Raquel is prepared to take the lessons she has learned at Taylor into a career in public relations and event management.
“The last four years have been the most incredible journey of my life,” Raquel said. “I’ve grown both spiritually and mentally, and Taylor has helped shape me into the person God wants me to be.”
As for her younger sister, Mariana’s first two years at Taylor have also been a time of immense growth and learning. A pivotal moment for her came during a trip to Peru with the Taylor World Outreach spring break trip, where she realized that home is wherever you are, because God is always with you. “It was a very important time in my life because it was where I first felt like Jesus revealed Himself in my life through so many people,” she said. “God touched my life in so many ways and opened my heart in ways I didn’t think I needed.”
She feels fortunate to call the Taylor campus her home for the next two years and is determined to make the most of it. “My hope is that I never take for granted the home I found at Taylor and the opportunities given to me there,” Mariana said. “Even if that means seeing my parents once a year, speaking a different language, and not eating mom’s food.”
The Taylor Fund is helping hundreds of students, including the Pratas sisters.
You can help.