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He traveled 9,378 miles to come here

Faraway-freshman

You can add Chicago to the long list of cities where freshman Nikhil Sequeira has lived.

By Gillian McGhee  |  Student reporter

“Where are you from?" is a go-to icebreaker, one that new students on campus ask of one another quite frequently. But for freshman Nikhil Sequeira, there is no simple answer to the question.

  • This year Loyola welcomed
    2,512 first-time freshmen students.
  • 87 of them—like Nikhil Sequeira—come from outside the United States.
  • Nearly 60 percent of the Class of 2017 hails from Illinois.

“It’s difficult for me to say where I’m from,” he said.

In his 19 years, Sequeira has lived in seven cities all over the world, moving frequently for his father’s work. At the New Student Convocation in August, Sequeira was named the student who traveled the greatest distance to attend Loyola: He logged 9,378 miles from Singapore to Chicago and endured a grueling 29-hour plane ride.

“It was terrible,” he said with a laugh. “I hate long plane trips. It took me like a week to get over my jet lag.”

Sequeira was visiting his father in Singapore, where his dad now works, before beginning his journey to Loyola. This is the first time Sequeira has lived in the United States, and it’s the fourth continent that he has called home. Sequeira was born in India but has lived in Australia, Bahrain, and Luxembourg because of his father’s career.

His lifestyle made for a lot of transitioning in and out of different cultures and leaving good friends behind, but Sequeira has few qualms about his constant state of motion.

“It’s great,” he said. “I love change. I love new places.”

Sequeira attended several international boarding schools while growing up, and he’s fluent in English and French. He considered coming to Chicago for college because his brother, a recent University of Pennsylvania grad, had just landed a job in the city. After being thousands of miles apart, he thought it would be nice for the two of them to live in the same city again.

Sequeira, who was deciding between George Washington University and American University in Washington, D.C., chose Loyola after visiting in May.

“The campus is just amazing,” he said.

But he’s really hoping that Loyola will provide him with a place where he can find his passion. A declared economics major for now, Sequeira said he’s open to learning and trying new things.

“I basically just want to find something that I really like to do,” he said,  “something that I would consider doing for the rest of my life.”

Still, no matter how many stamps he collects on his passport or whether the Windy City steals his heart, Sequeira said, “India will always be my home.”