Feature: Never too late to study

2008-01-19 21:39:23 Xinhua English

SANTIAGO, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- A Chilean woman told the world that nothing is impossible and nothing is too late by obtaining her university degree in her 90s.

Lucia Munoz, who turned 90 last in September, passed her thesis defense recently at the University of Arturo Prat. Her thesis, on social aid and social security system for senior citizens, gained a score of 5.5

Munoz, who lives in the northern Chilean city of Iquique, had to leave school at the age of 13 for working to support her poor family. After she grew up and got married, she had got too much housework to do as she had four children to raise and later her husband was seriously ill, which smashed her dream of attending university.

The woman, however, has never given up her dream. When she was 61, she obtained her secondary school diploma by attending night school. After her husband passed away, she became a university student.

Studying over 20 courses together with those young students, Munoz, though advanced in age, said she has never found it difficult.

As her memory was not as good as that of those young students, she could not learn by heart all the clauses of the related laws, she said, noting however, she was able to comprehend them by referring to actual social practices.

Ramirez Francisco, director of the Department of Sociology at the University of Arturo Prat, said he was moved by Munoz.

"She made unremitting efforts to understand the fast-changing world at every class," said Francisco.

He praised Munoz for choosing a challenging major with practical significance instead of a symbolic one.

After passing her thesis defense, Munoz becomes a professional assistant to family affairs in the community.

Her experience shows that senior citizens, who need others' care though, are also willing to serve the needy people, said Francisco.