Growing up in Australia the only connection I ever had to the U.S college life was through movies and stories of people who were fortunate to travel there and get a great education. I never in a million years thought as an 18-year old I would be fortunate enough to live my dream and move to America so that I could pursue my education and live out what I considered my “American Dream.”

I had been fortunate enough to receive an opportunity to go to Cypress College in Orange County and pursue my education at the local community college level, and without any hesitation, I took that opportunity and left for the states. I was 19 years old and had no friends in Orange County but I believed that if I worked hard I would get into my dream school. After two years of studying and working hard at the community college level, I applied for UCLA, Berkeley, UCSB, and many other top universities. To my surprise I got into every university I applied to, my hard work paid off and this motivated me more than anything. 

I decided to attend UCLA as I wanted to enter the entertainment industry. Within my first year, I was accepted into the UCLA Law Fellows program where I was taught by the best law professors in the country. Shortly after Law Fellows, I did the UCLA Bruin Development Academy for Media and Entertainment where I was mentored by the entertainment industry’s most respected individuals. Throughout my time at UCLA I was able to build a network of friends who would help me adjust to the American way of life. I know that I worked hard to get into community college and even harder to get into UCLA but it all paid-off at the end and now I am ready to graduate in December 2020 with a double bachelor’s degree in Sociology and African American Studies and minor in Music Industry. 

As an international student I could have never imagined the life I live now but with hard work and determination, I was able to put myself in a position to receive the best opportunities that this country has to offer. Now my sister attends The University of Berkeley California and I am helping my friends in Australia apply to some of the top universities in the states. This is the land of opportunity and although I had to work hard, I was rewarded for the commitment.      

By Hawe Yonas

Hawe Yonas, UCLA

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