My name is Michael Baca Soto and I’m originally from Lima, Peru. I’ve been an international student since January 2015. I studied at Salt Lake Community College until December of 2016. Recently, I transferred to BYU-Idaho. This blog will share my experiences as an international student.

I grew up in San Miguel, Lima-Peru. I grew up in a city with a gray sky and bars outside my window. Painted walls balanced the lack of green areas and I am still not sure if it’s some kind of art or pure vandalism.

According to RPP News, 58% of Peruvians suffer from stress. Social problems such as public insecurity, work pressure, economic stability among others are the main cause of the stress. I was 22 years old and I was already stressed.

I studied for three years at Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (UPC) I had part-time and full-time jobs since I was 18. I met a lot of people inside and outside school but opportunities weren’t there. I felt restricted from reaching my potential.

In 2014 I made my second trip two United States. My family and me traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah and we met with my uncle, Jymy, and his wife, Angy. What a lovely city! It isn’t too big, but it isn’t small either. It is quiet, peaceful. Somehow Salt Lake City reminds me of my dad’s hometown, Cusco. It’s close to perfection.

I felt so bad for the city that I didn’t want to go back. When I got back to Peru, I was so excited about Utah that I rushed into the idea of starting a new life there. One more time, I flew to Salt Lake City and I made my first mistake. I didn’t have any knowledge about the process of becoming an international student.

I came with my tourist visa. I thought the process of becoming a student was done once you’re in USA but I was wrong. I waited for almost 8 months to change my visa status. I was able to study in Salt Lake Community College but I lost 8 months of my life.

Even though I rushed myself into my new life, I don’t have any regrets. Somehow everything fitted perfectly and took me to where I am now.