By EMMA RUDD For 20-year-old Priscilla Malavet Alvarado, a move to New York City from her hometown in San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico never seemed like a possibility.

“It all happened so fast,” she said, seated in a coffee shop on the corner of Bleecker and Bowery.

In December, Alvarado was accepted into NYU’s Hurricane Maria Assistance Program, which allowed a small group of Puerto Rican undergraduates to attend NYU for free during the Spring semester. Since the hurricane hit in September, her family had been without power for two months and her classes at the University of Puerto Rico had been cancelled.

“For me, as a student, I think it was one of the lowest moments that I’ve felt. I had a lot of anxiety back then,” she explained. “I wasn’t working and I didn’t have any classes so I was basically in a limbo.”

Now out of this limbo and into the fast-paced vibrancy of the city, she finds herself exploring new possibilities and sometimes escaping from the world that remains back home.

Why did NYU interest you?

I had this idea that going to NYU would be eye-opening and I would realize many things that would actually start to give meaning, direction and purpose to what I’m studying. New York is filled with so many people from around the world and there are so many points of view to get to know.

How does it feel to be living in New York? 

The pace is so fast, sometimes I cannot keep up and sometimes I feel really lost. I kind of like it, it’s out of my comfort zone and I get bored in my comfort zone.

How does it feel leaving your community in Puerto Rico?

Well there are also many Puerto Ricans in my dorm and so we all got together. Having that moment for us and speaking in Spanish the whole time, it was so joyful and homey.

What do you like to do to escape?

Sometimes I get out of class and sit on a bench and just watch people go by to see what they’re doing. You get a lot of insights into people’s life by their manners or what they’re talking about.

How do you think your friends would describe you?

I think they would describe me as funny and down to earth. Although, many of them say that I give a weird vibe at first because I tend to be distant from people and don’t make friends right away but when they get to know me, they love it.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

I don’t really know actually but I always say “donde el viento me lleve,” which means where the wind takes me.