Gabriella Mendoza-Hydes is from the Cayman Islands. Mendoza-Hydes is an interdisciplinary major, focusing in sociology, psychology and peace and justice studies. She is also a leader in the Multicultural Affairs Office (MAO)

Facts about the Cayman Islands:

Capital:/Largest District

George Town

Official Language:



102 square miles


55,000 people

Cost of round trip:

Approximately $500

Interesting facts:

It is the only place that is home to the blue iguana, an endangered species.

It has a turtle farm that is home to over 100,000 turtles.

In 1794 King George III declared the island tax free (sales tax).

1. What do you miss the most from the Cayman Islands (besides family)?

I mostly miss the fresh food–especially the fish, like fresh lobster. I also miss Sundays.

2. What do you like and dislike about America?

I like the fact that most things are accessible and traveling from place to place is easy. I also like the fact that there are more opportunities for people.

I do not like the fact that there is lack of a sense of community in some parts. People tend to keep to themselves.

3. What is your favorite childhood experience?

My favorite childhood experience was caving (exploring caves) in the island as part of a class. I also cherish watching the sunrise with my father at four in the morning.

4. What did you think about America/Goshen before coming here?

When I visited the Goshen College website and saw the AVI website, I was attracted to the nice pictures that they had on their website and I thought to myself that the food looked great, so I should attend.

5. What inspired you to come here?

I went to a high school that had a small graduating class, and in order for me to make a smooth transition I thought it would be best to attend a small college as well.

6. What are some cultural differences between the U.S. and the Cayman Islands?

In the Cayman Islands the sense of community is very high; people are also very laid back. We have what we call “island time” or “paradise time.”

7. What did a typical day in the Cayman Islands look like for you?

It depends on the day. Sundays usually start with setting up for lunch and then heading to church. I would spend two hours at church and then go home to cook lunch. After this I would help set the table for my extended family (grandparents, aunts and uncles).After eating we would nap. Then we would go back to church for an afternoon/evening service and then come back home and sleep.

Interview by Raymond Waweru