Hla Hla Swe travels thousands of miles to earn a pair of Tri-C degrees
December 12, 2017
Hla Hla Swe traveled nearly 8,000 miles to reach Cleveland from her homeland of Myanmar in Southeast Asia. In a way, that was the easiest part of a long journey that led to Cuyahoga Community College.
Swe said she spent five years learning English before making the trip to pursue a career in health care.
“Really,” Swe said, “it’s a miracle for me to be here.”
Swe will graduate from Tri-C with honors this month. She earned two degrees — an Associate of Science and an Associate of Arts. She now plans to transfer to Cleveland State University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
She said her parents invested heavily in her dream to come to this country for an education. “They had to work very hard to help pay to get me here,” Swe said.
Initially, Swe planned to enroll at a four-year school. She chose Tri-C after a visit to Metropolitan Campus, where she discovered how the College’s nursing program met her academic needs while the low tuition fit her budget.
She dedicated herself to her studies and achieved a near-perfect GPA. She also immersed herself in the campus community through Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, the Black American Council and the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Scholars Academy.
Swe said she took advantage of the peer-mentoring program at Metro Campus. She called the program her greatest experience at the College, given how it allowed her to gain different perspectives and help others.
Helping is the key to her future, too, as Swe eventually wants to take what she learns in the United States and return home. Her lessons from Tri-C may soon heal people on the other side of the world.
“Many people in Myanmar get sick or die due to simple things,” Swe said. “I want to use my knowledge to help doctors and professionals save lives.”