From an early age, Victoria Shchepakina had a passion for the English language. She always knew that she would visit an English-speaking country.
Born in 1989, Ms. Shchepakina grew up in Saratov, Russia within a close-knit family. After completing a BA in English language and literature, Victoria began searching for abroad opportunities in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. She discovered a program called Work and Travel USA—a cultural exchange program for international students to spend a summer in the U.S.
Ms. Shchepakina first enrolled in the program in 2008. She spent the summer in upstate New York and worked a variety of different jobs. Victoria had such a great experience that she applied to the program the following two summers. She visited San Francisco in 2009 and 2010; she immediately fell in love with the city. In 2011, Ms. Shchepakina immigrated under a student visa and enrolled at City College of San Francisco. She worked a part-time job in a coffee shop while she studied to earn her degree.
With help from Upwardly Global—a nonprofit organization that provides career services for recent immigrants—Victoria found a position as an ESL teacher at the Kaplan International Center. She is hoping to pursue a career as a marketing professional.