Hello, my name is Milka, 22 years old International student from Indonesia. This December will be my last semester as an Undergraduate student at Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, CA. I am majoring in graphic design. Despite the excitement of this being my last semester, I’m not able to graduate because of my current financial issue. This is very heartbreaking and saddening to me. The total payment of $31,169.25 has to be made before/on Dec 15 in order to participate in the graduation commencement. Otherwise, the case has to be taken to more complicated process since I'm not a U.S citizen. This is a very last minute asking for help because I couldn't find any other way out. I have been fighting my case with Deans and committe of the university but I received no solution.
*Feel free to also scroll to the very bottom for you to understand my whole complete backstory and not to judge from social media, so you will understand. I took my social media (esp. Instagram) as a professional work as a blogger just like my design portfolio, and that doesn't reflects my real life. I'm sorry if you believe in pictures*
A little bit about myself:
I grew up both in a small town between Java Island and Bali island, Indonesia. When I was 15, I was crying to God up on the mountain knowing that it was impossible for me to see the world. My country doesn't have any privilege to have a passport that allows us to travel to most countries in the world (we have to apply for a visa to almost every country - very complicated process) and I realized how weak is Rupiah especially for exchange to USD, Euro, and many other world currencies. But despite all of those, my family doesn't have enough funds to even travel to other countries.
Back then I was only able to travel and wander through my mind hearing all the stories from my foreign friends or traveler who come to visit Indonesia (especially in Bali) as I am gladly showing them around my hometown. I grew up with many foreign friends who mostly coming from Europe. I was pretty discouraged and didn't know my life purpose but at the same time, I became really ambitious and passionate to learn more about the world.
After a very long journey of not knowing my path, 4 years ago through a great miracle, I was able to come to the U.S for the first time to pursue my study in Southern California. I received a help of a very generous Indonesian church synod chairman who lives in San Dimas, CA and willing to support for $12,000 to go to Azusa Pacific University.
The first time moving to California, it wasn't easy as I was expected. I had to start everything by my self from zero. Without helps from people who care about me I wouldn't be able to do it.
Even though I have received a yearly grant and an international scholarship. It's still a struggle to pay the remaining. For almost four years in college, God always made a way for my family and me to pay my fees, even with the recent money struggles that have hit my family. But for this very last semester of college, my family’s resources have been depleted and we are struggling to come up with the required tuition fees. Unfortunately, we don’t have any other resources or options at home or here in the US.
My family has been trying the best they can by selling their property, belongings, and even vehicles (my parents sold our plot of land, pieces of jewelry, two motorcycles, and a car) back home in Indonesia, but we still don’t have enough money to pay off my very last balance owed.
The currency rate, also adding to our financial difficulties.In America, some students are eligible to pull out loans or do FAFSA/some other type of Federal Aids but it is not eligible for me as an international student.
I am the first person in my family to go to college. APU has been a very special place for me, I have treasured my time here. I want to make my family proud and graduate after 4 years of very hard work. It has been my dream to be able to participate in the commencement since I'm the first generation to go to college and I haven't been able to go home to see my family in for years.
I have tried everything I could and this is my last hope temporarily, I won't expect too much but I will appreciate any help.
Thank you for reading!
For some of you who saw me on my social media might often get confused and questioning about how I was able to afford to do so many things and be in really different places. Honestly, I was not. Sometimes I like to look back for every pictures I made as a memory and remindeer that God is so good and He gave me a lot of blessings.
My parents have been really supportive of me to see many things while I still can (my time to stay in the U.S is equal the length for study). I work hard as a graphic designer to support myself and I also do multiple social media blogging on the side. As an international student, we have limited working hours (under 20 hours) and working place (on-campus only) based on the immigration law.
However, few people know that every journey that I made was a pure blessing and generosity from people, especially all my close friends or even people with a heart of travels who always invited me along or take me to places since I don't even have a car. I also recieved many gifts for Christmas or my even Birthday.
Unexpected blessings such as: Suddenly a friend of mine gave me her old DSLR camera because she is getting a new one, or even unexpected place to stay while I'm on Couchsurfing.
From sponsorship as a influencer/blogger to Couchsurfing, these are the basic foundation of my travels. I do not put all my money to travel, but I do it mostly to survive for living and school expenses. In fact, I try to live as minimum as possible and always try cook at home.
I’m very thankful to have many friends and people who have taken great care of me, without all of you I won’t be able to stand until today.
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