|My city in Brazil. Maceio-Alagoas
The college I was attending in Brazil
The city I lived for my first year in the U.S it was called Chatham and it was located in New Jersey.
|The only Gazebo and park in the city haha|
Over the weeks, I learned a few things such as;
Although I didn’t necessarily agree with a lot of my host family behaviors, I was living an amazing experience. With the monthly meetings (organized by the exchange travel agency I came) I met other girls, which some of them, later on became best friends and others, friends of convenience.
Since my work schedule was flexible (2:30 pm to 7:30 pm) I had every morning and evenings free.
In the morning, I chose Drew University to start my English classes. (a decision that couldn’t have been better, besides being a wonderful college, my teacher was a sweetheart ) through my English classes, I met other exchange students. I loved spending mornings learning English and sharing experiences with people from all over the world.
Self-confidence X Support
Switching visas- from J1 to F1.
During my exchange year (living and working for a host family) I took classes both in New Jersey and in New York City. Twice a week I would attend my ESL class at Drew University, once a week I would attend my french class at a local church and every Saturday I would come to New York for my jewelry design classes at Studio Jewelers(my therapy!)
I took advantage of my first year to explore schools and opportunities. I guess around my 8th month in the United States, I decided to switch my j1 visa to f1 and attend college over here. Since we all need to take the TOEFL test in order to get accepted to any college, I made my student visa application through an English school in New York called ALCC.
|Entrance of ALCC on 36th street.|
For 4 months, I took the train 5 days a week from NJ to NY for my classes. At ALCC, I took writing, speaking, listening and TOEFL prep. classes. Right after 4 months, I took the TOEFL test and scored 92. I was ready to apply for colleges. Since I was still living in New Jersey, I decided to apply to a community college there.
I started my classes at Raritan Valley C.C but unfortunately the staff was very unfriendly. They obligated all International Students to take endless English classes (that sometimes it would take up to 2 years). That meant we were paying tuition fees for English classes regardless of our TOEFL scores or time lived in the U.S. (of course, it was a college in the middle of nowhere, they needed money) Watching the time passing by while taking a 4 hours commute (yep, 4 hours! 2 trains + light rail + bus = 8 hours commuting every day) made me feel completely miserable. I’ve never felt so frustrated in my whole life. I could barely taste a class related to my major. I was studying English all over again, leaving home at 4 am and coming back at 10-11pm.
That is when I decided to move to New York and attend college over here. I applied for 4 CUNY colleges: Baruch, City College, Hunter and Borough of Manhattan Community College. Unfortunately I couldn’t attend Baruch, City or Hunter because as a transfer international student, you have to have English 101 and Math. Since all my classes in 1 year and 6 months at Raritan were only ESL, I wasn’t able to transfer to a 4 year college.
I moved to NY on April and started attending BMCC in the fall of 2013. As soon as I got here, I had to take some CUNY assessment tests (to see if I needed any remedial classes). I passed all tests and no remedial classes were needed. I was finally going to register for my first real English and math class! I could not contain my happiness. During my first semester, I was happy but a little bit lost. It was during my second semester that I started to get more involved on campus. I applied for of a leadership program called B.O.L.T (Building Outstanding Leaders of Tomorrow) and this program changed everything.
|BMCC- Fiterman Hall|
|I am the blond one on the left 🙂|
Through the B.O.L.T program, I met a lot of leaders on and outside campus. I got to understand how the student activities office operated and all opportunities the college had to offer. After meeting Kimberly Chu, a lovely person responsible for the CUNY CORPS PROGRAM, (Opportunities for
students, faculty, and staff at
the University to work on projects that improve the city’s short and
long-term civic, economic and environmental sustainability), I applied for the program.
endless interviews with organizers and companies, I was hired by an
awesome and by far (at least for me) the best organization. I will be
working for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on their mobile development team. They only had 4 spots
for 4 different departments and my best friend, also made it too. My college population is of 24000 students and only 108 were in
the program ( less than 1% of the students, to be exact 0.4%). Yes, I am happy and proud of my journey =).
Now, in my third semester at BMCC I will start working on my first real job pretty soon, I am also part of the P.L.U.S program and I am the vice president of the college’s Fashion and Beauty Club.
There are no smooth rides when we do the ”right thing”