Written by Annie Wang.

What is your story?

I am originally from the Philippines. I moved to the United States when I was 14. It was definitely a tough transition. I wasn’t used to sharing a classroom with guys because I was enrolled in an all girls school my whole life. Another was that I had to start speaking English. Even though I knew how to speak it, I was still hesitant to start conversations because of my accent. Finding friends was also tough because there wasn’t a lot of Filipinos in my area. I mean, there were only 2 of us and everyone thought we were sisters. The culture shock was also really hard for me. I found myself homesick a lot because I was away from my extended family, and didn’t have my cousins around which is what I was used to in the Philippines.  But, I coped by concentrating on my studies and doing well in school, all while working various part-time jobs and being involved on campus. When I got to community college, I met others with similar stories as me and it helped me create strong relationships and foundations with them. It made me realize that I wasn’t alone in this journey, and that there are others like myself who are working towards a better life for themselves and their families.

How did you know you wanted to come to Berkeley Haas?

My family is super close and tight-knit, which is very common for our culture. At first, my mom was against me coming to Berkeley because she did not want me leave her. But my parents have sacrificed so much for me. So, I wanted to come here for me, but also for them. I want to be able to provide for them like they did for me. This motivated me so that I could work hard and get into Berkeley. I knew Berkeley Haas was a great business school, and it is located near San Francisco which happens to be my favorite city, so I motivated myself to perform well in my studies in order to get into Berkeley. During my last year of community college, I was determined to work extra hours and apply to various scholarships just so I can relieve my parents of any financial burden once I transfer. Berkeley Haas specifically stood out to me because of its defining principles and reputation. I like the fact that I am not forced to focus on one industry in the business field.There is a focus on collaboration.  Here, people are very open to helping each other. They are really open about sharing resources like textbooks, which is something I’ve never experienced before coming to Berkeley. And one of the aspects I love most about Berkeley Haas – the people!

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