USTL provides full scholarships to outstanding students from Timor-Leste for two to four years of study at high-quality undergraduate degree institutions in the United States. Scholarship awards include full tuition toward either a bachelor’s degree or associate degree, travel, living stipends, medical insurance in the U.S., and visa costs. USTL is a program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), U.S. Department of State.

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If I was asked about my favorite thing about the University of Minnesota one year ago, my answer would be the same as of today, “everything.” I’m not exaggerating or trying to make it look better, but that’s how I feel. I think it’s because I feel comfortable being here, which is unlikely for me, because I tend to get really awkward and I would think twice before going someplace new (sometimes I would not end up going to my planned destination). However, being here I stepped out of my comfort zone and went to the places that I wanted to go. Sometimes even by myself, which it may not sound big to you, but it is a big achievement for me, personally.
I enjoyed all of the classes that I have taken, even Grammar. Trust me, I’ve surprised myself these days. Not to sound too much, but I guess I’ve stepped out of the box that I have made for myself all these years. This semester I’m really excited for all of my classes, because they are all really interesting. I would have to say that my most favorite class so far is Theater. I’ve always love performing, since I was a little girl. It’s one of my "many" hobbies. Being able to learn more about the thing that I love doing is a great opportunity that I would never pass. This class also surprises me, because I thought it would be about acting, technical or writing plays all semester, but it also talks about the political side of Theater. How theater can help bring changes or awareness to the world in so many ways, that makes me enjoy the class even more. It is writing intensive, but I took writing intensive classes last year, so I’m able to find my way as the course goes by.
The most challenging thing in this semester is managing my time. At the start of the Fall semester I find myself struggling to keep everything in order, because I’m used to remembering my schedule in my head. This time, due to many assignments and activities that I’m doing, I find it hard to keep everything in my brain. Don’t worry, I didn’t miss any assignments because when I felt myself struggling I relied on the white board that I bought last year that never got to use. Two semesters ago when I was speaking at the student panel, whenever the students asked how could they manage their time, I always told them to write down their schedule in a white board, calendars or post-it notes, and after a month they told me that my suggestion worked. Now, the funny thing is that I gave good advice, but I’m terrible at following my own advice.
I didn’t really get much chance to participate in a lot of activities like the previous semesters, because my schedule is pretty tight, but I’m currently volunteering as a MELP (Minnesota English Language Program) Helper. I help mentor two new international students and so far I enjoy it very much. I’ve already met both of them and they are wonderful people. I texted them every week to check on them or to give them any information about events around campus that they might be interested in. I’m really glad that they didn’t feel shy to text me whenever they have a question in mind or when they needed my advice about a certain thing.
As I had said to the new international students during the student panel, "step out of your comfort zones" and try new things that is interesting to them. I have tried that and it helps me a lot. So, that would always be one of my suggestions for students who are studying abroad.