Today we speak with Frank A. Villarreal, a freshman Radio/TV/Film major originally from Venezuela, who lives on campus in Edgewood Apartments. Frank, who loves the craft of making movies and is passionate about becoming an actor, will share his #PROFspective with us on what it’s like to be a Rowan University international student and how he’s getting the most out of his college experience as a Rowan Prof.
Name: Frank A. Villarreal
Major: Radio/TV/Film within the College of Communication & Creative Arts
Minors: None yet, but I would like a minor in theater
Hometown and Country: Caracas, Venezuela
Resident: Yes, I live in Edgewood Park Apts
Athletic clubs: Member of the recreational Fencing Club
Why did you choose major? I chose my major because I love movies, I’ve enjoyed them for as long as I can remember. I want to help people tell stories whether by acting, which I enjoy the most, or behind the camera.
One reason why you chose Rowan? One of the reasons I chose Rowan was because it is located close to some of my favorite cities. I’m just half an hour away from Philly, two hours away from NY, and two hours away from Washington D.C. I love experiencing, and exploring Rowan as much as those amazing cities.
My typical Thursday at Rowan:
On my busiest day, Thursday, I wake up at 6, and have five free hours before my class starts. I use that time wisely. I do my homework or read. That is one of the reasons why I like to wake up early, so I can easily catch up with my homework.
After my morning routine, around 9, I head over to the Student Center cafeteria, or if I like eating something on the go then I walk to the Student Center Pit and get a Starbucks bagel.
Around 10 a.m. I walk in no hurry across the campus for my 11 a.m. class, College Comp II. I pay lots of attention and try to stay focused throughout the class. Now I look at the clock. It’s 12:15. The end of the class. And it’s lunch time!
I return to the Student Center, and debate between eating American cuisine at the cafeteria or Latin style cuisine at Sono. Usually the choice is obvious because cafeteria has so many food options to offer, but when I get tired of burgers and french fries, I go to Sono. The main reason why I sometimes choose Sono is because it is slightly related to Venezuelan home food, that I miss so much. We use the same ingredients, like rice, black beans, chicken or beef, but we eat them separately, and not together in one burrito. But it’s still close enough to home food.
It’s almost 2 o’clock now, time to head over to Experiencing Acting class. It’s never a dull class. On one of our recent classes each student was telling a story, and then our professor would give us instructions, like: “Tell the story as if you are sad. Now pretend you just won the lottery,” and we would have to act accordingly. Michael Osinski is a fantastic teacher and every class with him is full of fun.
Once that class ends, I’m ready for my 3:30 class, Social Problems. I’m taking it as a Rowan Seminar class. Discussing various burning topics really interests me, and I learn how to look at one thing from many angles. Listening to other’s opinions and views makes me think of things I haven’t even considered before. Plus I can learn American mentality, as well as bringing in my cultural perspective into the conversation.
After that class, I either have dinner or head back to my dorm until my Cinema Workshop meeting at 9:30. Last semester, we participated in a festival, in which we had to create a short movie in 48 hours. The first day I was in charge of finding a perfect location for the shooting. And the second day, I was in charge of a movie slate. Yes … that board with a zebra top that you click before filming a movie scene. It was actually a difficult work to do, much harder than it looks. I had to take bunch of notes, follow every scene we shoot and work with a cameraman. From now on, once I see someone clicking a slate, I know how much work that person has to do.
Stress and tension, it almost felt surreal! It was an amazing experience that brought all of us together. We all had to stay till late at night to write the script, and then shoot the movie before sunset. Observing all of the hard work that went into the movie project “Right of Way” was a truly unique experience for me, and I’m looking forward to relive that experience again.
During regular meetings we discuss different movies, and explore different movie making techniques. The meetings can last for up to two hours sometimes. So I usually get home late at night, and try to go to sleep right away. Gladly, I don’t have classes on Friday, so I can enjoy “me time” and get ready for my Saturday morning fencing training.
One day I saw Rowan’s Recreational Fencing club poster in the Student Center, and I immediately decided to join. I started to practice fencing back in Venezuela, when I was 9. I was excited to meet people who also love fencing. And it’s just more proof that Rowan has so much to offer, and I’m really glad that I chose Rowan as my American alma mater.
We are #RowanPROUD and we are Rowan Profs! Not exactly sure what a Prof is? It’s our owl mascot, Whoo RU. Read about him here.
Story organized and photography by:
Natalia Panfilova, senior public relations major