Natalia Victor moved to the United States from Angola by herself, on a scholarship, without having any friends here or knowing the language. She says her faith in God helped get her through the many challenges she faced. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — Natalia Victor was two weeks away from heading to college in her home country of Angola when funding abruptly fell through. A year later, she landed an oil company scholarship, this time she would be off to study in the United Kingdom.

At the last minute, she discovered, she and other scholarship recipients would be headed to Texas instead. She did not have any friends there, and it was even farther away from her homeland. But most importantly, she did not speak English.

In that jumble of a journey, Victor said she left a lot up to God.

“For me, I always say that God has the last word,” she said. “Before I started working on my faith, I used to panic a lot inside. I was going crazy and getting upset and pretty much torturing myself. These days I simply know it’s going to happen on God’s time, not on my time. I give it to him. And since I’ve been doing that, my stress levels really went down.”

Victor, 30, said she is a Christian with no religious labels beyond that. She had not been planning a move to the U.S. as a teen. Her godmother had offered to pay for college in Angola before suddenly backing out, to Victor’s surprise.

Her grandmother’s sister worked for an oil company. That great aunt offered to look into its scholarships for her.


At 19, Victor was off to Texas A&M University.

“It was just this dark place, that I had no hope at all, no one to pay for school,” she said. “It got to the point that I wasn’t sure I was going to get an education. Everything really shifted when I got opportunity.”

The transition to life in the U.S. was difficult. She arrived speaking Portuguese.

“English can be a hard language to learn and in order to learn, many times you need friends to practice, and it was me thinking maybe there was something wrong with me because I couldn’t make friends,” she said. “I was also so nervous to speak and afraid to make mistakes when I spoke English. I used to cry all the time and tell my mom I didn’t want to be here anymore.”

By junior year, she felt more settled and found great friends. In 2018, after graduation, she moved to Lewiston to be near her sister and baby niece.

Victor now works in a Yarmouth medical company’s quality and regulatory department. Every chance she gets, she visits a new U.S. state, soaking in the different cultures of her new home. Hawaii is next.

“It’s been hard to live here because it’s far from the family, but so far I don’t regret anything,” Victor said. “I don’t regret all of the struggle, all of the experience. People need to believe in God — God can move things in your favor. God can work to make things better.”

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.