Magi Tareke Discusses the Challenges She Faced Coming to a New Country and the Importance of Hard Work
Magi Tareke stopped by “Bachelor Happy Hour” to discuss the journey she took 10 years ago, leaving her native Ethiopia for a new life in the United States.
During her interview with co-hosts Rachel Lindsay and Becca Kufrin, the “Bachelor” Season 25 standout recounted the moment she found out she won the green card lottery, better known as the U.S. Department of State Diversity Program.
“When I was [in Ethiopia], as soon as I got the lottery, I was mixed with emotions,” said Magi, who grew up in the remote village of Adwa. “First of all, I am the first person [in my family] making it out of Ethiopia. And second, I was excited to be able to help my mom because she had so many children and I know what struggle she had.”
Despite her optimism, Magi’s expectations of America were not met upon her arrival to Baltimore, Maryland, in 2011.
“When I came here, things weren’t as I expected them to be. As a foreigner, especially from Africa, you think when you come to America, ‘I will be rich the first year, I will have a car, I will have a house, I will buy my mom a car, a house’ — all that,” said the stunning pharmacist. “But when I came here, I struggled. I couldn’t find a job because being a pharmacist back home wasn’t equal to being a pharmacist here. So, I had to take the exam and I had to work as a technician.”
Strapped for cash, Magi recalled walking to work so she could save the $1.25 it would have cost to take the bus. “I was struggling with paying my house rent because I didn’t have anybody to help me. And I was buying food,” she continued. “The first year, it was so hard. And I had all these emotions missing home and not being able to send [my family] money. It was hard the first year.”
However, things started looking up during Magi’s second and third years in the States. “I started going to school at night while I was working the whole day. And that helped me to be able to work and to be able to get financial aid for school and it let me know that there was hope for me,” she explained. “The second year was OK. The third year, I stopped pharmacy school and then life started to make sense.”
Magi — who now lives in Washington, D.C., and has since launched a second career as a model — said that she is grateful for the challenges she faced, as they only helped her grow professionally and personally.
“America is not that easy. There is a lot of expectation. But if you work hard, you can make it,” she said. “That’s what I kept saying. And I kept praying to God, ‘Please, you brought me all the way here. What am I doing?’ It was too hard. But after the third year of being here, it was OK. I got to learn a little bit of the American life. Work hard, that’s OK. Work hard, you’ll make in one day. And that helped me to push myself and be able to finish school.”
Added Magi, “The first year, I couldn’t breathe even thinking about the struggles that I had. I would always cry, and I would just bend on my knees, saying, ‘God, thank you for making me survive those years.’ Because it was something hard in every way, having nobody, no money. I didn’t have anybody to ask [for help]. It was just so hard all over. But I’m here and I owe it all to God. I am grateful.”
Hear more of Magi’s story by listening to the latest edition of “Bachelor Happy Hour” below.
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