It was Phillip who sparked the idea. ?Wouldn?t it be interesting to know what our parents think of this journey he said. After all, they?re a huge part of our journey, watching us and hopefully supporting us from afar. Do they spend that time worrying about us? Fretting over how we?ve changed? Telling their friends about all our accomplishments? Phillip?s right; wouldn?t it be interesting to know?

Paolo graduated North Hennepin Community College this past spring with an Associate?s degree and is about to begin the next stage of his education at Mississippi State University (MSU), where he will complete his Bachelor?s. While at NHCC, among other achievements, he earned a 4.0 GPA and served as president of his Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) chapter. He is (deservedly) proud of how much he has achieved towards what he describes as his ?lifelong educational dream.? Not surprisingly, so are his parents. But what else do they feel about his three years in the States?

Paolo agreed to help us get the parents? perspective. We told him, ?Ask your parents anything you want to know about how they view your time in the U.S.? Here?s what they had to say:

Paolo: Whose idea was it that I attended college in the U.S.? How did you feel when I decided to go?

Well, I think it was more than an idea. It had been your dream since you were a little child. But, your dad and I were convinced that your future was studying in the U.S. We felt excited but nervous at the same time. We realized that your dream would be possible; it would just be a matter of effort and patience.

Paolo: Did you think it was a good move back then?

Well, it was a hard pill to swallow. The idea of your moving away from us scared us a bit; however, it was inevitable. You had your mind already set on pursuing your dream and we had already made the decision to help you pack and start this journey. I think it was the right time; you had shown a bit more responsibility and found a good option at NHCC. This college was to offer you what you needed.

Paolo: What were your main concerns about the move?

Mainly we were concerned about you, I mean, if you were ready to live alone. Because, besides having to study and work, it would include cooking, doing the laundry, taking care of yourself, etc. If you got sick, where could you go, or who could you call? Maybe you could get depressed and leave everything.

Paolo: Do you think I've changed a lot since I've been away?

It has been almost three years since you left for the U.S. During this time, we have seen you become more dedicated, responsible and willing to go much further than you ever imagined. We see that you have managed to live on your own and take responsibility for your actions. In fact, we know that you will adapt to the new environment at MSU in no time. Not only have you achieved this much, but you have also learned how to motivate people, organize meetings and lead PTK for some time.

Paolo: How did you feel when I graduated?

Besides seeing you graduate and feeling as proud as we could, we realized that you had reached a new milestone, and not only that, but you graduated with the highest distinction. We have to admit that we would have loved to be there with you to hug you, but fortunately Grace and her family were there as your family to make you feel loved.

Paolo: What do you hope I get out of my experience in the U.S.?

Having the chance to travel to the U.S. to study is something your mom and I had always thought for you, even when you were a young kid. We always dreamed of your becoming a professional and getting the best out of every opportunity. Now that you are on your way, we keep dreaming; however, this dream feels more real than before.

You have met the right people and each one of them has always been willing to help you out in one way or another; they deserve some credit for every step further you have taken. One day when you graduate from the university, your list of people to thank will be as long as that of Oscar recipients.