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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“Then, I remembered things that I always said to myself that getting a scholarship to come to America is not just to get a degree but also to gain an experience that can help me make the best decision and I don’t think I can get that in anywhere else so I would take any opportunity as many as possible that can help achieve my goal.” - I said it in my sophomore blog.

I am in my second last semester now which means it’s my last year of college which also means I have more responsibility to take as a Vice-president of the International Student Association also known as ISA. ISA is an initiative by the international students of Southeast Missouri State University to showcase diversity on campus. It aims to improve communication between international students, provide and promote programs that support and serve the needs of international students, promote cultural awareness and understanding through social and intellectual activities, and facilitate better social interaction between international students and the Cape Girardeau community.

I recently just got elected to be a VP of the biggest international student organization on campus. As a Vp, I’m responsible for calling and presiding over meetings in the absence of the President, assisting President in overseeing the delegation and implementation of all planned activities, and overseeing regular and special elections. In my previous semester, I have been assigned as coordinator and facilitator in other student organizations in which I was heavily involved. So, I have gotten a lot of experience leading groups of students. So far, as a new vice president. I have been working closely with other students alongside our adviser Mrs. Hannah to organize and facilitate events. My first task was facilitating an orientation dinner for 400+ new students and it was a success! We then have been promoting international cultures to the Cape Girardeau Community by participating in community services, booth tabling, and SEMO Homecoming parade, as well as doing special elections for the members of ISA.

These past four months have taught me so much to be a leader. It honestly has been the most significant challenge in my organizational leadership experience. Because of the new environment where you are surrounded by people from different backgrounds in terms of race, ethnicity, culture, language, religion, values, or just the way they view things, in general, makes it a bit difficult sometimes to make a fair decision and build trust. It can make you so overwhelmed and frustrated. On other hand, it makes me more resilient, critical thinking, and better at communication as a leader. This role also allowed me to be more understanding and open-minded toward the people that I lead. It allows me to learn more about their experience and the stories that they brought.

I have one semester left in this role, and I cannot emphasize enough how lucky I am to get to know the people that I work with and to share the same space with them. I hope that my involvement in this organization will contribute positively to the international community on campus and hopefully will help more international students get involved. My goal as a student outside of my academic life is to take any opportunities that allow me to grow, learn, discover my passion, meet new people, and certainly achieve my goal. So, let’s fingers crossed for a better experience in my last semester this year.

[Below is me with SEMO President Dr. Vargas during welcoming orientation for new international students that was held by me and my team]