Cheyenne Uribe: “I feel like a citizen of the world”

@Roberto Arribas

This young Swiss student lived in several countries across Europe, Africa, and America before moving to Segovia where she’s studying a Dual Degree in Law and International Relations

As a child, Cheyenne Uribe listened to fairytales, and one of her dreams was to become a princess. She would close her eyes and imagine she lived in a castle with a moat, drawbridge, dragons, witches, and fairies. So, when this young girl, born to a Swiss mother and Colombian father, first set eyes on the Alcazar of Segovia, residence of the Spanish royal family since the 13th century, she was completely taken aback.

As she gazed at this medieval fortress, which is said to have provided Walt Disney with the inspiration for Cinderella’s castle, she had a feeling that this Castilian city would one day be her home. And she was right.  These days, she no longer dreams of being a princess, but of becoming an expert in Law and International Relations, subjects she’s currently studying at the IE University campus in Segovia.

Cheyenne Uribe’s story is truly fascinating.  She was born in Switzerland but at a very young age began moving between countries including, Spain, Nigeria, Guatemala, Eritrea, and Kenya, because of her family’s job situation. This led Cheyenne to come into contact with different cultures and ways of life and this ultimately forged her character. It helped her to learn other languages and, perhaps most importantly, gave her a global view of the world.

This young girl has raw talent; she’s intellectually gifted with a real flair for languages. She can speak English, Spanish, and German fluently, plus she’s able to understand French. “I feel like a citizen of the world. My personality is the product of a mixture of cultures,” she assures. She spent much of her childhood in Africa, and when she thinks back to those years on a continent so different to ours, Cheyenne’s eyes light up and a nostalgic smile appears on her face. “I love the African character, it’s so simple and attached to the land. The people there are so kind and friendly. I will never forget those Kenyan safaris, our visits to the Great Rift Valley, that pure wilderness.”

Photo by: Roberto Arribas

After touring a raft of countries, Cheyenne’s family finally returned to Zurich, the largest city in Switzerland, where she began studying for the International Baccalaureate. At her school, her talent, work ethic, and entrepreneurial spirit set her apart from an early stage. Aside from her outstanding academic achievements, Cheyenne also received several awards for other projects. She recalls one in particular in which her efforts in the creation of a guide for visitors to Zurich, which has been named the city with the best quality of life in the world on a number of occasions, were recognized. Cheyenne, together with several other classmates, also earned a distinction for entrepreneurship at her high school, for a social project which focused on care for the elderly.

At IE University

Cheyenne first arrived at the IE University campus in Segovia in 2014 to participate in a summer program about social entrepreneurship, which involved 32 students from 17 countries, aged between 15 and 18. “I came away with a great impression of the campus,” she says. “I also had a friend who was studying Business Administration there and who told me all about the international atmosphere of the university and how they thought I’d fit in well there given that majority of the students had come into contact with different cultures, were from many different nationalities and spoke more than one language,” she adds. Having chosen her university, Cheyenne wasn’t sure whether to study Law or International Relations at first. In the end, she opted for a dual degree which combines both subjects.

My degree teaches me how the world works,” says Cheyenne. She’s passionate about the historic time we’re living in today. One of her professional goals is to specialize in the topic of terrorism, crucial knowledge for understanding some of the events taking place around the world today. “It’s a complex subject which deserves thorough assessment, especially given the fact that it affects so many countries. And we’re not just talking about France and Belgium; in fact, the countries worst affected by terrorism, such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Syria, are far from Europe,” she argues.  For this reason, Cheyenne would like to organize a seminar at IE University to attract experts to Segovia to provide a deeper insight into this problem which causes so many innocent victims and suffering in the world.

Ambassador

Cheyenne quickly integrated herself into university life from her first year. Among other things, she’s acted as an Ambassador for IE University, which involves providing other young people and their families with information regarding the campus, the university facilities, and the educational model it promotes. As well as being class delegate, she’s also actively involved in a number of student clubs, such as the Law Society, which is geared toward people interested in the world of law. She’s also a member of other clubs which are more leisure-based, such and the Wine Club and the Beer Club. “Getting to know the gastronomic culture of each country is another of my passions,” she confesses.

It’s clear that this young Swiss student has made a comfortable home for herself in Segovia. “It’s a small city where everyone knows each other; I don’t think the locals are unfriendly, they’re really nice in my experience,” she says with a knowing smile. “In every corner of Segovia, in every step you take through its streets, squares, and countryside, there’s a sense of tradition, art, and history,” she claims.

When things get tough, Cheyenne looks to sports to relieve her stress. She’s an excellent swimmer thanks to her mother, who taught her how to swim at an early age. From time to time, Cheyenne goes to the pool in La Lastrilla, a village on the outskirts of Segovia, to swim and relax. Indeed, one of her projects is the setting up of a club at IE University to bring together students interested in swimming.

Cheyenne loves to wander through Segovia’s suburbs, especially the green areas, and hike to beautiful places such as La Granja and Valsaín, in the foothills of the Guadarrama mountain range. In fact, she loves anywhere with a view of her castle, the Alcazar of Segovia. On an impregnable rock, surrounded by the Clamores and Eresma rivers, stands this fairy-tale-like fortress. It’s a castle custom-made for this young student, who once wanted to be a princess and who is set to be an expert in international relations, to witness and interpret the world’s evolution in the 21st century.