Campus Champions - Andres Jaramillo

Laurie Stephens
Image of Andres Jaramillo

Already a world-ranked athlete, Andres Jaramillo decided to tackle another challenge last fall: leave his home in Quito, Ecuador and travel 5,000 kilometres to attend school at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

The 19-year-old karate competitor was Ecuador’s national champion for three of the last five years. However, he left behind family, friends and a promising career in international competition to begin a new chapter in his life as an international student in UTSC’s Management program.

Part of UTSC’s allure for Jaramillo was the University’s excellent academic reputation around the world. Another was the opportunity to train at UTSC’s new Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre that has been built for the Toronto2015 Pan Am & Para Pan American Games.

“To be honest, those facilities are amazing compared to any facility I’ve been to. They have better standards than many national teams, for example. And to have that just minutes away from the University, that’s pretty cool.”

Jamarillo will not be competing in the upcoming Pan Am Games because he is currently not a member of Ecuador’s national team. But he has not closed the door on future competition, and at UTSC, he has access to weight-training facilities, the track and the Olympic-sized pool for cross-training, and a drop-in studio space where he can practice his karate technique.

He also has his studies, and this academic year he is taking four bridging courses in preparation for entering the Management undergraduate program next year.

Being so far away from family and friends has been very difficult, he says.  “But I was accepted at one of the best universities in the world. I really had planned to study and I didn’t want this opportunity to go away.”