In 2011, Antoinette came to Arizona as an unaccompanied minor. Here, she shares her story about life as a refugee and the struggles she has faced adapting to her new life in America.
I’m a freshman at Arizona State University, studying civil engineering. I’ll be a sophomore when the fall semester starts in August 2016-2017 academic year. My name is Antoinette, and I want to tell a brief story of my life. In 2009, I left my country to avoid the military government and joined my sister who was in Malaysia applying for refugee status.
Life was hard. I couldn’t process the sudden, huge changes of my life. I was exhausted each day by trying to figure out what was going on and what was going to be my future. It was hard to picture a positive image in that situation.
Coming to the United States
Finally, in June of 2011, we got to resettle in Phoenix. Then, I got put in the foster care system under the care of Catholic Charities unaccompanied minor program. I started high school the following 2011-2012 academic year.
My life never got easier. It was hard learning new language, adapting to a new culture and a new family. I just wanted to give up on everything in life, but the thing that kept me moving forward was education.
I love school, because it is full of diversity. It gave me a whole new perspective on life. During high school, every day of my life was challenging, but with the incredible support from my foster mom and the diligent assistance and encouragement I got from Catholic Charities, school, and the YMCA--it made my journey possible day after day.
I also get abundant spiritual and mental support from my family. Now, I look back my journey and how wonderful it is having those people and programs. They always give me confidence that I have people who have my back, people that I can run to anytime I need help, people that love me and care about me. Most of all, the precious gift that I received and I will never forget from my family, my foster mom and family, YMCA program, and Catholic Charities is the sincere sense of letting me feel that I was never alone, and I will never be alone.
And now I am ready to pursue my further education, over my obstacles and difficulties, toward my engineering degrees.
Support Unaccompanied Minors
Antoinette is thankful for all of the support she received from her foster parents, her school, and programs, including Catholic Charities. You can be a part of making a difference for people fleeing dangerous countries by learning more about our unaccompanied minor program or becoming a monthly donor.