By Paige Bodine
Grand Rapids Community College’s music department’s standout soprano, Gabriela Ramonell, 21, was one of the highlights of GRCC’s honors concert. She performed in a way that wouldn’t seem possible a year ago. When COVID-19 transitioned to online classes, and took the opportunity to move back to her family in the Dominican Republic.
“It has been a bit surreal since I thought this wasn’t possible,” Ramonell said. “During the current health situation, technology has allowed me to keep connected to college, regardless of distance.”
For Ramonell, it was difficult to leave her friends and family when she decided to take classes at GRCC. However, the switch to a digital format allowed her to have the best of both worlds. She was able to take classes online and not be so far away from home. The Dominican Republic is a country that occupies the eastern part of the Hispaniola island in the Caribbean.
“It is a country that is a product of a fusion of different cultures, which is reflected in the gastronomy, art, music, and folklore,” Ramonell said when describing what living in the D.R is like. “We have beautiful beaches, mountains and valleys; and we enjoy a tropical climate. This allows us to do many outdoor activities.”
At the honors concert, Ramonell performed “Amorosi miei giorni” by Stefano Donaudy. Anyone that witnesses Ramonell sing, will immediately recognize her love for music. All concerts can only be viewed through a live stream and upcoming events can be found at GRCC Music.
“I have always loved and identified with music and singing,” Ramonell said. “I really enjoy how the voice can convey emotion, tell stories, and connect people.”
Learning how to navigate online college in a different country during the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be a challenge. The new learning environment has been attainable for Ramonell because of her strong work ethic, being surrounded by friends and family, and the excellent staff at GRCC.
“This is possible because of the incredible and constant follow up from the faculty at the music department, and from the international student’s department at GRCC,” Ramonell said.
Ramonell is able to embrace the challenges of online school and continues to focus on her passion and through that becomes a more strong and confident woman every day.