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Namatsai Mautasa

Country of Origin: Zimbabwe

Age of Arrival: 4 years old

Hometown: Illinois & Georgia

Degree: Computer Science

During my sophomore year of high school, my older brother began the arduous process of college applications. He’d dreamed of studying aerospace engineering and was a member of the gifted program in school. But, he had a very difficult time receiving financial aid without a social security number and was ultimately unable to attend, despite his brilliant academic performance. That’s when I realized both the importance of higher education and that my family was undocumented.

 

I am currently studying Computer Science at Christian Brothers University. Both of my parents graduated college before migrating to the US, but I will be the first of my three siblings to attend university, all thanks to TheDream.US Scholarship. I heard about the scholarship through a social media post on the account Humans of New York. My goal at CBU is to earn a quality education and gain as much experience as I can. I also look forward to engaging with the community in and around campus, and doing all that I can to bring awareness to the issues that face undocumented students.

 

I came to the US when I was 4 years old. I remember my mother was stressed out about getting the money to obtain visas for us to join my father in Chicago, and I remember the long plane ride and our layover in Germany.

 

The move was fairly easy for me, because we had some family here. My older cousin taught me how to speak English the summer before kindergarten, and I quickly made friends. Throughout our childhood, my mother always encouraged us to do well in school, go to church, and engage in our community. I never really felt alienated by my peers, even though my family had different traditions and customs, food, and could even speak a different language. I am very grateful for that. America always felt like home. Unfortunately, I don’t have much of a recollection of my home country and still struggle to speak my home country’s language.

 

I would encourage people who are skeptical about the need for DACA to broaden their awareness about our current immigration system and invite them to think about all of the rights and privileges that they may take for granted. I used to be really apprehensive about sharing my story but realized that the easiest way to get someone to empathize with immigrants is by giving them the opportunity to get to know one.

 

TheDream.US National Scholarship Applications are still open. The deadline to apply is Feb 29, 2024.

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