We are excited to share the inspiring journey of Lissette, a driven student from Ecuador who pursued her dream of studying abroad. As an international student, Lissette faced many challenges in navigating the application process and moving to a new country. However, with the help of her supportive family, friends, and guidance counselor, she was able to overcome these obstacles and ultimately earn a degree in Mechanical Engineering. 

In this article, Lissette shares her personal account of the application process, moving to the US, and the valuable lessons she learned along the way. Her story serves as a testament to the power of perseverance and the importance of a strong support system.

First steps

Studying abroad has always been in the back of my mind. My mom would always tell me I could study what I wanted and wherever I wanted. The opportunity was always considered, but my solid decision to study in the US came after graduating. I did not know where to start, so someone at school recommended me to work with Carla Real (IEC). She had helped many students before me and was ready to guide me through the steps from day one. I attended some college fairs, yet online research was the main and most helpful tool.

The application process

Looking through all the universities that were recommended to me was vital, and I could tell from their website whether I would apply to them or not. Key things I looked for were Major information and offered courses. Universities with the classes I wanted to take the most went to the top of my list. The application process was confusing, but having Carla walk me through it made it simpler. The hardest part was doing the work – essays and questionnaires for weeks. Each application had to be new and unique, which meant hours of writing. After applying, the staff of each university contacted me to acknowledge that I was being considered. They were quite communicative and ready to answer all my questions. Some of these interactions placed certain universities over the rest.

The adventure of moving

The University of Toledo really struck me, as their staff was so personal and welcoming. Additionally, the Engineering offered courses with mandatory internships sealed the deal. Moving to the US was equally scary and easy – the media depicts the States quite frequently. The hardest part was leaving home! My family was so supportive from the start, pushing me to start applying abroad in the first place. My support system was vital, and I’m infinitely grateful to my family and friends who were there every step of the way. My university was great at helping with the travel and move-in process. All the needed details were sent to me before and after traveling. I was picked up from the airport by another international student from Brazil. He helped me check into my dorm and took me to a Walmart to get items for my room. I do not know what I would have done without his help! I was also on the same flight as another student, and we quickly became friends. I’m so grateful to both of them, as meeting them that first day erased the fear of not knowing anyone at school. I’m also thankful to every person that was part of my journey. I would not be where I am right now if it wasn’t for them. 

Here I am now – with a Mechanical Engineering degree and a Project Engineer job. Seven years ago, I would not have believed that! The work was hard, from the first meeting with Carla to my last day at university. Everything, every essay, every email, and every document, was more than worth it.