SELF-DETERMINATION IS THE KEY FOR SUCCESS.

Marcos - Orlando, Florida
Entered on October 23, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I had a real purpose when I decided to come to this country: I would like to improve my knowledge of the English language as well as experience the American way of life, seen only on movies and sitcoms. I remember when I first told my mother and father about my decision; they were so shocked and surprised. They did not even try to deny my choice because they knew what I wanted and it would be the best move I had ever done in my life. I believe that if you have a goal in your life, you should live and guide yourself toward it.

I traveled to the American consulate in Rio de Janeiro to get my visa. I packed all my stuff, and 6 months later I was arriving at Miami International Airport. From Florida I flew to New York. The first impact, of course, was being astonished by the beauty of the Big Apple. The hectic style of New York City made me question being ready for this life. For the first time in my life I felt scared and so unprepared for the burden I was going to carry. I thought I was not going to be able to accomplish my goals. But that was the option I had chosen, right? Nothing comes easy in life. I had to face the fear and so I did.

Life in a new culture is not easy. I started to feel homesick and sometimes this feeling distracted me toward the goal I had set up for my life. I lost my sense of guidance. I had to survive in this new environment and off course I needed to get a job, right? But most of the positions I had, at least at the beginning when the privilege of choice was scarce, made me feel depressed. I was doing things that I had never though of being doing in my life before and those were leading me to a very depressive stage. I had to confront myself with the original purpose and fight to keep me on the trail. I created a strong positive way of life and it redirected me to my original goal: Succeed in this new culture. I believe that the first 3 years of America helped me develop a strong feeling of being able to do things that I had never done before.

America has made me stronger. I feel more prepared and confident to confront the obstacles of life. I am definitely no longer the same guy who arrived here at 5 years ago. I believe I have overcome my fears and my concerns. I feel proud of me and proud of this country, which helped me being the Marcos that I am now.