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Former soccer star finds fresh start with Ambassadors program

Teodoro+De+Paula+on+Thursday%2C+March+9%2C+at+the+Winslow+Maxwell+Overlook+at+City+College.+Paula+is+a+co-mentor+for+the+ambassadors+program+at+City+College+and+is+an+international+student+from+Brazil.
Teodoro De Paula on Thursday, March 9, at the Winslow Maxwell Overlook at City College. Paula is a co-mentor for the ambassadors program at City College and is an international student from Brazil.

Teodoro De Paula on Thursday, March 9, at the Winslow Maxwell Overlook at City College. Paula is a co-mentor for the ambassadors program at City College and is an international student from Brazil.

Michaela Wahlstroem

Michaela Wahlstroem

Teodoro De Paula on Thursday, March 9, at the Winslow Maxwell Overlook at City College. Paula is a co-mentor for the ambassadors program at City College and is an international student from Brazil.

KELSEY LOPEZ, Channels Staff

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Teodoro De Paula Slemenson came to the U.S. from Brazil to pursue a career in soccer, but a major injury ruined his chances of recruitment at a school in Connecticut.

After tearing his anterior cruciate ligament, he realized he wanted more in life and needed a fresh start. De Paula Slemenson began searching for a new school online. After quickly searching Santa Barbara on Instagram, he found City College.

“If there is one place to start exploring the world from Brazil, for me, it’s Santa Barbara,” he said.

De Paula Slemenson, 21, who goes by “Teo,” was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil. Although Brazil is very poor, De Paula Slemenson said his life and upbringing there was “privileged” and feels very lucky to have had it easier than many of his soccer teammates.

De Paula Slemenson continues to play soccer at City College but said it is more of a hobby now. Apart from soccer, the undeclared major has also tutored astronomy, mentored and now interns for the Ambassadors program. Although he has enjoyed all of these activities, the intern position is what he considers to be the most significant.

De Paula Slemenson said he was immediately drawn to the Ambassadors program, which was created for international students to come together and form a diverse group filled with students from any and all backgrounds.

“The thing that convinced me to join was that I would meet a lot of people because I was new to this city,” he said. “They help integrate the international students in this school’s community and show that we are here to help and to make a positive impact.”

After being involved with the Ambassadors for one semester, De Paula Slemenson was encouraged to apply to the intern position that the program offers. He met the requirements, and was ultimately chosen because of his commitment to the program.

This is now his third semester with the Ambassadors. De Paula Slemenson said he plans on continuing with the program that he considers family.

Shelby Arthur, international student advisor and Ambassadors program advisor, said this position is more than just a job but a real learning opportunity.

“He’s very good at connecting with other Ambassadors on a level that is very motivating,” Arthur said. “Teo’s really committed and always sees the deeper purpose to our events and what we are doing.”

When in front of the students he is charismatic, captivating each student. He makes sure to explain that the events are a chance to connect with each other on a level that he encourages all students to aim for.

Cheyanne Yang, a member of the Ambassadors program, said De Paula Slemenson is engaged and motivational.

“He’s passionate about the program and what he does,” Yang said. “When we are stuck in a rut he picks everyone back up.”

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Former soccer star finds fresh start with Ambassadors program