Next time you're on campus, take a short walk up the hill and say hi to Liane de Souza, Southern Adventist University's transition services coordinator. She'd love to talk, but don't expect to cool off in her office. This staff member likes it hot, "so don't be surprised if I have the room at 100 degrees," she laughs.
De Souza's office is adorned with tropical themes that remind her of her warm sunny hometown of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Coming to the United States 15 years ago was a life-altering decision for de Souza. "You just have to start life all over again," says de Souza, who was a principal and English teacher in Brazil. "So I ended up in nursing school. That was, according to everyone, the easiest way of getting a job."
As predicted, she did get a job quickly, but nursing didn't seem to be her calling. Then Southern opened up a master's program in counseling. She decided this would be a great way to combine her education and nursing skills.
After completing the program, de Souza worked as a counselor at Valley Hospital before joining Southern's Counseling and Testing Department, where she counsels about career choices and acts as an adviser to international students. One of the highlights of her job is seeing students gain the tools they need to succeed. De Souza especially loves encouraging the international students who struggle with learning the customs and ways of the United States.
"The students feel like I know what I'm talking about since I wasn't born in the United States," she says.
When asked what it was about counseling she enjoys most, Liane de Souza smiles and says, "I really enjoy being able to help people. I want them to see that there is still light at the end of the tunnel." She agrees with her husband, a pastor, in saying, "we enjoy mending broken people and showing them that there is always hope in Jesus."