PITTSBURG — An international student at Pittsburg State University needs help to complete his degree before using what he learned to change inequalities in his country.

Joel Britez, 21, is an international student from Paraguay, double majoring in political science and international studies. He “miraculously” made it from an impoverished family in his homeland’s capital to PSU and hopes for another miracle to keep studying in the U.S.

“I do believe doors will open every time,” he said.

As of Saturday, Britez had $1,720 of his $2,132 goal on a gofundme page to continue his education. Britez is asking for donations to his page, gofundme.com/help-joel-pay-for-school, or support letters to his email, jbritez@gus.pittstate.edu.

Britez’s long-term goal is to return to Paraguay and create policies to change the inequalities he has seen.

“I hope my education here can help give me the skills I need to go and make a change,” he said. “So I can make policies that will help all Paraguayans.”

To minimize costs, Britez was invited by former PSU Prof. Paul Zagorski and his wife to stay with them his first year. The Paraguayan now has additional expenses with an apartment midway through his second year.

Britez was the valedictorian at his high school in Asuncion, Paraguay. His story made headlines after he spoke in front of the Paraguayan government to receive support to study abroad and had a Facebook post go viral. Britez said he received enough donations through the publicity to supplement his scholarship from the U.S. government.

The international student gets different scholarships, including $1,000 each semester from PSU to help acclimate new international students, but it’s not enough.

His mother and grandmother also raised money with a lunch and raffle in Paraguay last summer. Britez hopes to get a paid political internship this summer to assist his schooling.

He expects to graduate in spring 2019 and knows it will be a struggle to meet his goal each semester, but has faith it will all work out. Britez said his deadline to pay tuition is Jan. 24.

— Michael Stavola is a reporter at The Morning Sun. He can be emailed at mstavola@morningsun.net or follow him on Twitter @MichaelStavola1.