Twin sisters Arianne and Alessandra Paul-Forton, 19, were born in Nashville, Tennessee, but left the states at age six and to move back to their parents’ native Peru. Growing up in Peru provided the young girls a unique international experience, but when it came time to pursue their higher education, they wanted to expand their boundaries.  

Leaving their parents and friends back in Peru, they worried that they would feel estranged from their home, their traditions, and their culture. But when they discovered Broward College, with its 39 percent Hispanic population and robust financial aid services, they knew they could make a second home in the U.S.  

At Broward College, the sisters braved new terrain—both geographical and personal. This December, they will graduate with their associate degrees hand in hand.  

Belonging at Broward 

“A big adversity I faced was homesickness,” said Alessandra, recalling her arrival at Broward College. “However, I was not alone. I brought a piece of me with me, my sister. She was my rock and safe place since day one.” 

Navigating their social and academic environment was a daunting task, but with the help of their peers, their advisors, and, of course, each other, they began to find footing in groups like the International Students Club and the College’s academic honors society, Phi Theta Kappa.  

In fact, Arianne went on to serve as the Public Relations Officer for the International Club, and later held the position of Vice President for Latinos in Action. Her contributions to the International Club were recognized when she was awarded the "Unsung Hero" title at the Student Life banquet. Additionally, she was a proud member of the Sigma Delta Kappa honor society, further highlighting her passion for academic excellence and community involvement. She even organized a screening of the documentary “Llévate Mis Amores” for her fellow International Students Club colleagues. The movie chronicles the brave Mexican women known as Las Patronas who give food to immigrants crossing the Mexican frontier. “We want people to understand why immigrants risk everything to come to this country,” she said. 

Likewise, Alessandra garnered recognition with the Student Life Outstanding Leader Award for 2022-23, a testament to her exceptional leadership qualities. As the President of the International Club, Secretary of the Latinos in Action Club, and a dedicated member of both the Phi Theta Kappa and Sigma Kappa Delta honor societies, she has consistently demonstrated her commitment to academic and extracurricular excellence. Despite her rigorous academic pursuits, Alessandra also managed to balance the demands of two jobs, showcasing her remarkable work ethic and ability to excel in various aspects of her life. 

Ready for the Future 

As the sisters blossomed socially, they thrived academically. With GPAs above 3.70, they are now poised to leverage their Associate of Arts degrees to pursue further undergraduate study in Mass Communications at a four-year college here in the U.S. Their success story is a testament to the transformative power of education and the invaluable support provided by Broward College, guiding them seamlessly from college life to the professional workforce.  

Arianne sums up their experience, stating, “The diversity at Broward College makes students feel welcomed into their institutions. We get to know so many people from around the world and connect with their experiences. I felt integrated and represented at Broward College. The College also offers the best interactive experience with amazing and knowledgeable professors. A lot of what I learned in my classes will stick with me for the rest of my life.” 

Together with Alessandra and Arianne, more than 1,500 students will receive credentials during the Fall 2023 Commencement ceremony, which takes place Thursday, December 14, at the Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise, Florida. Interested in more fascinating stories of Broward College graduates? Read them on our blog