On May 27th, as 350 students graduated from St. Augustine College, there was a very emotional moment when Silvia Loza, a graduate of SAC’s first Bachelor in psychology cohort gave her speech entirely in English. “I am here to give testimony that a dream that started in my country Bolivia, finally came true. Today I graduate as a Psychologist after a lot of effort and sacrifice and thanks to the great help that this institution (SAC) gave me. It’s an indescribable emotion that I regret not being able to share with my parents who could not come from Bolivia. Thanks to them, I made my dream come true,” said Silvia, who arrived at SAC in 2014.

The speech of this Bolivian was very applauded, especially by the almost thirty foreign students who study at SAC and who seek the same dream. She is one of the students who, day by day, far from their families, study hard to become a professional and their graduation represents the corollary of those efforts and sacrifices. St. Augustine College currently has international students from Italy, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Nepal, Peru, Tanzania, Congo, Mongolia, Mexico, India, Argentina, and Bolivia.

“It was very hard not to be able to enjoy that special moment with my parents to whom I owe what I have achieved. I still feel very emotional every time I remember that day without them,” said this young woman who applied to SAC from Bolivia and followed all the steps to be admitted and subsequently obtain the student visa. In fact, it did not become so difficult because her brother Gustavo Loza had already done these procedures and arrived six months before her and was already studying Computer Information Systems at SAC.

Silvia obtained the Bachelor in Psychology, but by 2016 had already obtained an Associate in Early Childhood Education at SAC. In her native country, Bolivia, she had already graduated as a Psychologist and had begun studying Law, when she decided to move to Chicago.

“We started our dream from La Paz, Bolivia, although we are from Sucre, the capital of Bolivia. We came on the recommendation of our uncle who lives in Chicago. We were able to do it because we have the financial support of our parents and our uncles who gave us accommodation,” said Gustavo, who has already graduated from the Computer Information Systems program but is studying General Studies to get his Bachelor Degree.

He says he was the first to come to Chicago and was impressed by the huge city and how friendly they are at SAC. “It’s amazing how they treat us. The truth is I did not imagine this reception and attention. They are wonderful,” he confessed. His sister Silvia adds that the atmosphere as an international student is quite friendly, “they all help us, greet us and make us feel good, like regular students, with no differences. At the social level, the environment is nice because for us it is a family, the one we have now … the truth is we feel privileged to have come to SAC,” she said.

They revealed that when they returned to Bolivia, all their cousins and friends asked what they had to do to go to SAC as well. “I think soon there are some who will come because they love everything we tell them,” said Gustavo. “I have told them that the stories we’ve heard about studying in the United States and how it’s too expensive or impossible to be admitted, is a myth. They know our story and that has encouraged them,” he said.