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In our ongoing animated series “Lost & Found,” we feature stories about international students who share the journey from their homeland to Boston University. They talk about what they’ve left behind and one thing that has helped them forge a new life at BU.

The latest installment in our series features Eleonora Valdez (CAS’19). She grew up in San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador, where she attended a small private American school. When it came time to apply to college, her grandfather Mario Bicard Bloch (CAS’60) urged her to apply to BU, his alma mater. Her mother, Leonie Bicard de Valdez (CAS’83), is also a BU alum.

When Eleonora arrived on campus, she was stunned by the size of the University. She’d known all of the 100 students in her high school class and had been captain of the volleyball team. She tried unsuccessfully to join BU’s volleyball club team, and other efforts to make friends were difficult.

In the video above, Eleonora Valdez (CAS’19) talks about how joining a sorority helped her find her niche at BU after arriving from El Salvador.

Then one day Valdez saw a Facebook post for Greek life recruitment on campus and decided to see what it was all about. What the economics major knew about fraternities and sororities came from American movies. “I thought Greek life was all about partying and hanging out in cliques,” she says. Friends from home urged her not to join a sorority, telling her it wouldn’t be a good fit.

But when she met the women from the BU chapter of Sigma Delta Tau, a sorority committed to empowering women through scholarship, leadership, service, and sisterhood, she felt an instant kinship. The women were relaxed and welcoming, reminding her of her friends back home. She soon discovered: “Greek life isn’t at all like the movies.”

As she became more involved in her sorority, Valdez started liking her classes more and became more outgoing and comfortable making her own decisions.

“Now, I’m a different person than I was freshman year,” she says.

Read other stories in Bostonia’s “Lost and Found” series here.

Carlos Soler can be reached at