Student profile: Blanca Morillo of Spain finds new home away from home at CCU
Morillo, an incoming freshman moving in this week, is an international student from Màlaga, Spain, and her family took the 13-hour, 4,100-mile trip to be with her the first time she set foot on Coastal’s campus.
“I’m very excited to get to know everything CCU has to offer,” said Morillo. “I’ve seen pictures and heard really nice things about the school from people who have visited campus.” She had not visited campus prior to her arrival, so the first time she experienced CCU is when she arrived to move in to the residence halls on Aug. 15. International students move in a few days before the majority of other students in order to attend an international student orientation session organized by CCU’s Center for Global Engagement.
Morillo has an interest in business and horses, so when she heard that CCU has a great business program as well as an equestrian team, her college choice became clear. She turned down a $22,500 scholarship offered by a small college in Virginia; even though she liked the college and it had also an equestrian team, tuition was prohibitive even with the scholarship.
“When Coastal Carolina gave me a merit scholarship, the prices for both schools were very similar,” said Morillo. “I decided to choose CCU because of its location, its business program and because many people I know have talked to me about how great of a school it is.”
She first heard about Coastal when she attended an American high school last year as an exchange student. Many of her friends and teachers told her about colleges in South Carolina that she could potentially attend, and CCU was one of the ones mentioned.
“CCU is near the beach and that feels like home,” said Morillo. “Back in Màlaga, I live right on the beach, and the weather is so similar. I’m excited to learn new things in another country but with the same characteristics my hometown has.”
She plans to major in business with a concentration in international management and is considering a minor in marketing.
“We are thrilled that Blanca felt that Coastal was the right choice for her, and we are excited to welcome her to her new home away from home,” said Leisha Deriso, director of international recruitment and admissions at CCU.
Morillo has been riding horses since she was 4 years old, so in addition to diving into the business program in the E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration, she is eager to join the equestrian team. “I’m looking forward to competing and meeting new friends with the same interests I have,” she said.
Her passion for riding horses began when she watched an animated movie called “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron” (2002). Morillo competed in show-jumping competitions in Spain and said she loves how free she feels when she is on her horse, D’Artagnan.
“I’m very happy when I’m riding,” Morillo said. “I don’t think about anything else. I’m only focused on my horse, the course of the jumps and my coach.”
Morillo is living on campus in a residence hall and doesn’t feel nervous about the new experience. “I’m super excited,” she said. “I think it’s a very great way for people to get to know others and start making friends.”
Her family will be traveling back to Màlaga after Move-in Weekend. “We are a very close family,” Morillo said. “My friends didn’t want me to leave, although they are very happy I’m going to have such a great new experience.” She plans to go home to Spain during winter break and over the summer.
CCU has nearly 200 international students on campus, which is around 2 percent of the entire student body population. The Center for Global Engagement provides services and support for international students throughout their college career, said Deriso, and they always encourage students to get involved.
Morillo is looking forward to joining other organizations at CCU and being involved in the Coastal experience. She is an athletic person by nature and enjoys playing basketball, tennis and exercising.
After she graduates, Morillo wants to work in a management position in an established company. “CCU seems to be a very good business school,” she said. “I want to become a professional businesswoman, and I think CCU can make that happen.”
Video: The CCU Equestrian Team