Editor's Note: This story is part of a continuing series on the international student life in colleges and universities in the United States. Join us in the coming weeks as we bring you stories about international students and the American higher education system in general.
Leaving a childhood home and moving to a new, unfamiliar place can be hard for people to do.
No matter where I go, there are challenges that come with being a new place, like finding your way and making friends.
José Miguel Ayala Salas faced these challenges and more when he left his country of origin, Ecuador, for the United States.
The 20-year-old was born in Quito, the capital of the country. When he was in high school, his father decided to look for a doctorate at the University of New Mexico. That was in 2015.