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I came to UMBC as an International Student. It was quite hard to think of it then and even now that I had to pay out-of-state tuition, which was a lot more than other in-state students. Other incentives or assistance from state and federal such as scholarships, financial aids, federal grant were pretty out of reach for international students like myself. I remember asking myself if I would have enough savings for next semester and the one after that. It was even harder to not being able to work and earn money during regular school semesters as it was illegal for international students to work more than 20 hours per week. Finding a job was not easy for international students either as employers who were willing to make extra effort to hire a J-1 or F-1 visa student were quite rare.

Somehow, I was able to come up with all needed financial resource for my years at UMBC. I ended up being graduating at the end of 2001 with an honor. I was quite exciting to finally have the knowledge with a proving degree in Computer Science to go out and find a job, a good job that would yield good income so that I would be able to pay off the debts of many credit cards that I maxed out for tuition. The reality was not so much so. It was at the time that we got hit by terrorists. Finding an employer who was willing to sponsor and hire an international student was even tougher around that period. Emailing resume was my everyday routine, but getting an interview invitation or even a response was another story. There was not much luck for myself, and my friends who were “regular”-not international student- graduates were not having much luck either. It was certainly a very tough time.

Fast forward, I am currently working as a Senior Web Developer in Silver Spring where I have been living ever since. I am also married with two beautiful kids, a boy and a girl.

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Richard B. '86

Your story has Grit and Greatness! Thanks for sharing!

Sara M. '18

As a first-generation daughter, your kids will definitely appreciate the sacrifice! Happy you've been so successful! :)

Meredith P.

Thank you, Vu, for sharing your story!