HEARTFELT tributes have been paid to a popular graduate who collapsed and died at her Southside home less than a week after her 24th birthday.
Bright Ana-Maria Wilson was due to begin a masters in translation and interpreting at Heriot Watt University when she suffered an epileptic seizure on September 15.
The keen traveller had spent the summer teaching primary school children in Spain – determined never to let her long-standing medical condition hold her back.
Mum Liliana said: “Ana-Maria was a lovely girl and everyone is heartbroken about her death.”
Born in the Capital to Colombian Liliana and Scottish father, Steven, she had two younger sisters, Amy and Natalie. She attended St. Peter’s Primary School before going on to St Thomas of Aquin’s High School.
Brought up effectively to be bilingual, she first showed promise at St Peter’s and later excelled academically at high school.
In her final year she was Joint Dux having secured top marks in Advanced Highers in Spanish, French, history and computing. She then enrolled at Edinburgh University to study French, Spanish and Portuguese. Since visiting the battlefields of the Somme as part of a school first World War project she remained fascinated by France.
Her course gave her the opportunity to explore different aspects of Hispanic and French culture, enabling her to visit Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Spain, Belgium, and France.
The “year abroad” in her course in 2014-15 was split between Buenos Aires and Toulouse.
From Argentina she visited Florianopolis in Brazil and Montevideo in Uruguay while during her spell in Toulouse she visited Barcelona and Carcassone among other places.
Having gone frequently on visits to Colombia since she was very young, she grew very fond of the country and saw it as her second home.
She had made arrangements to go again around Christmas.
After graduating from university with honours, she spent six months between January and June this year as a language assistant in a primary school in Elche, near Alicante in Spain where she combined language teaching against a backdrop of games, music and dance.
While there she visited Morocco and toured Andalusia. She derived a lot of fulfilment in this work and was much appreciated by the children.
On her return home, she received many letters from them which bore touching and eloquent testimony to her popularity.
Ana-Maria enjoyed socialising with friends and playing guitar. Visits to the cinema, television dramas and reading books in French, Spanish and English were other interests.
Her favourite title was The Great Gatsby, to the extent that she had a tattoo of a passage from it. She was a great help with Amy who has special needs and was able recently to give much appreciated assistance to Natalie with her Highers.
Liliana added: “Despite her health difficulties, she achieved a lot and made a lot of good friends. We are really proud of her.”
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