I came to the Unites States when I was seventeen years old. I arrived knowing very little English, but I had a strong desire to start college. Because my English communication skills were still developing, interpersonal communication was often a challenge. I felt a great deal of shame at my failure to communicate with others, but I stuck with it because I very much wanted to have the opportunities that an American education affords. Now that I am working on my Associate’s degree in Business Administration at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, I can say that the challenges I faced helped me appreciate the struggle of others who come to this country for a better life. It has increased my empathy for those who must overcome cultural and socio-economic hurdles to obtain opportunities that others may take for granted.
Growing up in a developing country and then moving to the United States helped me realize the impact that different markets can have on populations. After noticing differences in the quality of life between North and South America, I suddenly understood that the lives people lead—their obstacles and opportunities—are greatly affected by larger financial systems. I began to understand that if I wanted to help people improve the quality of their lives, I needed to be part of the decision-making process that determines the financial resources available to communities. That is why after completing my Associates degree, I plan to earn my Bachelor’s degree in International Finance.
What makes excites me about the New York Needs You Fellowship program is the opportunity to develop the skills that are needed to be an effective leader, and the possibility to learn those skills from experienced professionals who are actively engaged in the communities they serve.