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Aida Flores

Country of Origin: Mexico

Age of Arrival: 7 years

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Degree: Business Management

 

I was just 7 years old when I came to the United States and I have lived here ever since. Coming to America felt very lonely to me, and I struggled with anxiety during my first few months here. There were many things I didn’t understand. It was really hard not having any other relatives here apart from my parents. Even though I had made friends, I found it hard to be accepted by others because of the language and cultural differences between Mexicans and Americans.   

My parents and I came on a tourist visa but we overstayed. My dad was offered a business venture by a friend to help run a travel agency. However, my dad was scammed and was left with the failing business which cost my parents a lot of money. Our family was fortunate enough to have charitable friends who helped feed us and look after us until we had enough money to get by on our own.

I first realised the repercussions of being undocumented when I was in high school. I had completed my drivers education but I could not apply for a drivers license because I had no social security number.

However, having the TheDream.US  scholarship enabled me to finish my degree in Business Management. It was very rewarding. Even though I was an adult and had many responsibilities of my own, I realised that I can achieve whatever I set my heart to with the love and support of my friends and family. Most important, I discovered a support community within my college and not only did they offer me advice, they also made me feel like I mattered.

During my time at college, I did really well – I graduated with a 4.0 GPA. In the future, I would love to be a successful entrepreneur and own my own restaurant group.

I currently work for Venmo, which is a free digital wallet that lets you make and share payments with friends, as a Technical Support Specialist. I feel like my college education is benefiting now because I have more opportunities to apply to mid-level management roles straight away rather than starting from an entry-level position and working my way up.

DACA really did change my life for the better. It allowed to do so many things – get a state ID, apply for better jobs with better pay and allow me to seek proper benefits to help my family out more. Most importantly, DACA made me feel like a human. That’s what mattered most of all. DREAMers also needs to be protected as much as possible – families, employers and communities are all affected by it. DREAMers contribute to the American economy and are individually vetted by the U.S government. They just want the opportunity to thrive in the country they have grown up in and be ambassadors for the American Dream.

For anyone thinking of applying for TheDream.US scholarship, do it! Make best of the scholarship and utilize all the resources given to you. I would also recommend getting involved with the support system within the scholarship community. Thanks to TheDream.US scholarship, I achieved my bachelors degree. I’m eternally grateful to TheDream.US!