Abner Vallecillo’s Story

Facing College: Immigrant & International Students’ Stories from Mott Community College (Flint, MI)


Abner Vallecillo’s Story

As retold by Raquel Osborn

Many people think that there are cities in the United States that are
dangerous. Flint is one of those. However, even though Flint might be
dangerous, living in Honduras felt even more dangerous.

Growing up in Honduras wasn’t really that bad until the year of
2012. That’s when my country was ranked number 1 for the most
dangerous country in the world. I’ve always tried to avoid the violence.

One of my hobbies was soccer; it helped me keep my focus. Playing
soccer has always helped me when I was mad or down or when I just
didn’t have anything to do. Sometimes you just can’t get away from
violence and danger though. There isn’t always a getaway.

One day, some of my friends were going to ride to school with
their dad, but their uncle ended taking them. When they got to school,
someone killed their uncle, thinking it was their dad. The saddest part
about it is that their dad ended up getting killed a few weeks later.
People were dying daily. It was so bad, I could not live there anymore.

We decided to make a decision that could potentially change our lives
forever, for the good or the bad. My family and I came to America.
Coming here to America was nothing like I’ve ever experienced
before. The people here are way friendlier than back at my hometown.
They actually seem to care about the people around them and their
families for the most part. Mostly everyone I have encountered has
been friendly and polite to me. I wasn’t used to that so it took some
time to get used to even though it is a good thing.

I believe Flint has had a positive effect on me. I feel so much safer
wherever I go. I don’t have to worry about being in danger when I leave the house. Everything has gotten somewhat better ever since I’ve came
here, especially my school life.

The school systems here in Flint are completely different. Here,
they actually care about your learning. They make sure you’re learning
things you’re actually going to need in life. They also push you to your
full potential and make sure you’re actually learning and not just
remembering something for a test. I am glad I came because my
education has improved. I’m learning new things everyday here. I am
now in my second year at Mott Community College. I plan to pursue a
career in physical therapy. It’s going quite well. I am a Spanish tutor and
I have been for two semesters now. I am proud of myself for how I’m
doing in school despite everything that I’ve witnessed happen around

Overall, coming to America has changed my life for the better. I
never would’ve dreamed of or even imagined coming to America when
I was younger, but you never know what will happen to you until it
actually happens to you.

Sometimes in life, you have to make decisions that you thought
you’d never be faced with. They could turn out to be good, but if they
aren’t, you still took a risk and tried something new. Think about this
next time you’re faced with a new decision: This could possibly be
something good, why not try it?

-Raquel Osborn


This story originally appeared in Facing College: Immigrant & International Students’ Stories, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by Mott Community College in Flint, Michigan.

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