Phi Do – UCLA
Growing up in Northern California, I was surrounded by a network of family, friends, and a community that I grew to love. I loved my high school, my hometown, my room, my dog, all of which were things that I adapted to be a part of my comfort zone. What most people don’t know was I came to America young, not knowing how to speak English, having very few friends, and I was very shy. I was thrown outside of my comfort zone once before, so I already knew that leaving my hometown and starting all over at UCLA would be a huge independent adventure.
My 1st year at UCLA, I never said NO to anything, unless it was detrimental to my health and success. I was involved with sports, clubs, volunteering, internships, work, eating, anything I found from fliers, YOU NAME IT! Of course, when I first heard about the Southwestern Advantage internship, learning about the possible opportunity for traveling, meeting thousands of people, getting outside of my comfort zone AGAIN, I knew I could do well. I have had to overcome many obstacles in the past, but the Southwestern Advantage internship offered me the biggest challenge, and.. I love a challenge!
For most of my friends and family, they supported me…thought I was crazy, but they trusted my decision. “Oh that’s something that YOU WOULD do..” Sure, I love people, I love challenges, but it made me think back to when I struggled to speak English. I was afraid of meeting people, and I always saw other people and was inspired and amazed at how they were much more outgoing than I could or ever be…fast forward to present time… LOOK AT ME NOW. I love speaking and being around people. Throw me in a crowd and I’ll thrive. I’ll have my occasional English slip ups, and you can detect my imperfect English, but after completing a summer with the Southwestern Advantage Internship, I am now more convicted and I strongly believe that anything can be possible if you really want it. Who doesn’t want to enjoy the company of amazing people? Who doesn’t want to feel confident and be able to dictate their own lifestyle? The successes I’ve gained from Southwestern are multifaceted. Aside from the thousands of dollars I accumulated from building my business, paying off my loans, helping my family, and independently supporting myself from when I was first accepted into college; aside from traveling around the world and meeting thousands of people from knocking on doors; aside from having a group of friends that I can truly call some of the most amazing people I have ever met; aside from all of that, I’ve gained probably 10 pounds from all the food I’ve eaten. I would say the majority of my check goes to my loans and paying off school, but the rest of it will go towards food. After graduating from UCLA with a bachelors in International Development Studies, I’m going to be traveling through developing countries in Eastern Europe and Central America, all thanks to the $30,000 I saved this past summer. Thank you Southwestern Advantage Internship. What more can I say, life’s been great. Nothing’s going to take my smile away from me. =D