”My name is Tam Thai. I came from Vietnam. Some people run away from their country to escape a harsh life. But for me, I came here to be with my parents. I want to reunite with them. I want to challenge my life and I want to discover how Americans live.
When I first arrived in America, I struggled a lot because I didn’t speak correct English. Before leaving Vietnam, I was confident about my skills and my language abilities. Therefore, once in my new country, I felt terrible and embarrassed when making mistakes. It felt like I was lost in the center of an ocean, totally disoriented. So, to overcome my struggles, I started joining groups and getting support to improve my English. Through the University of Southern Maine, I learned about the PESLSF (now SMI) scholarship and, luckily, I was granted one. Over time I received two more scholarships. Even though I learned a lot of English in four years and people can better understand me now, I still keep learning English in order to live well in America. Receiving the scholarship not only helped me with my tuition, but also motivated me to prevail in my life. The scholarship is a bright light for me, motivating me to pursue my career goals.”
Update: In May, 2017, Tam graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a GPA of 3.48 and a degree in Computer Science. Tam was hired in August, 2017, as an application programmer in the IT department of the City of Portland.