Have You Met Rutgers-Newark?

Didier Murillo

Life in Colombia was difficult for young Didier Murillo. His father had immigrated to the United States in search of work when he was still a child, leaving his mother to look after him by herself. While she worked hard, many simple things, such as furniture, were a luxury. Yet his mother constantly preached the value of education, stressing the importance of maintaining good grades so he could attend college one day. Didier dreamed of becoming a doctor, but didn’t believe he could be, due to the overwhelming cost of education in Colombia and the lack of financial assistance. However, thanks to his father’s help, Didier was able to move to the U.S., where he was able to attend college thanks to financial aid programs and student loans.

This brought Didier to Rutgers-Newark, to study pre-med and work toward a bachelor’s in chemistry and Spanish. Life in the U.S. was not without challenges, such as mastering the language and learning the customs. But those hardships were offset by what he found here, especially at R-N: A world of new experiences and new opportunities.

He had been attracted by R-N’s location and ease of commute via train and bus, but discovered the unexpected bonus of a multicultural campus.  “I’ve met people from all over the world, and all different backgrounds. I would never have had that chance back home,” he declares.  “I’ve really gotten to understand these other cultures.  It’s a great part of my education and it really opened my eyes.” The easy access to New York City’s culture and involvement in on-campus student organizations were eye-opening.  “Here, you learn the things you need for life, not just for the classroom,” he notes.

Now the boy who feared that he could advance no farther than a free two-year college in Colombia is planning to go to medical school and ultimately become a surgeon.