Sheena G. Sullivan
UCLA School of Public Health
Life as an international student is like the Watt’s Towers in south central LA.
You travel to another country because you want to improve yourself and are forever striving upwards, like the spires of the Towers. But the spires are convoluted, twisted and many-layered, like life. You meet a myriad of colorful and unique characters. Like the tiles plastered into the tower, some of them are smooth, some a little rough around the edges, and some stand out more than others.
The Watt’s Tower was a labor of love by an eccentric man, Sabato (Simon) Rodia, himself and immigrant to the United States. You have to be at least a little eccentric to succeed abroad, and you need to be passionate to maintain your drive. Sabato was both. He worked on his creation for 33 years, cultivating its personality and charm, and defying demolition, but suffering suspicion and abuse along the way. As an international student, life is a little harder than if you’d stayed at home. But like the Towers, you can defy the challenges, learn something about yourself, and become a better, stronger person.