“Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee. Even the name ‘coffee’ comes from the place called Caffa,” explains Yoseph about his home country over lunch in New Haven. Four years ago, Yoseph left Ethiopia. Up until that point he had been running his own tourism agency. His business was, and still is, a success, offering tourists easy access to car rentals and guided tours. “You may not realize, but Ethiopia was the first country to accept Christianity—95% of our tourist attractions are historic, Christian architecture,” reveals Yoseph. His brother still lives in Ethiopia and runs the agency.
Today, Yoseph lives in New Haven, Connecticut with his fiancé. He is studying math and economics at Southern Connecticut State University, and she is doing her residency in anesthesiology at Yale-New Haven Hospital. They met years back on a flight from Dubai to Ethiopia (she is Ethiopian, but grew up in Chicago). They were sitting across the aisle from each other. Once they landed in Ethiopia, Yoseph offered to set her and her friends up with a ride from the airport (since he had the hookup from owning a tourism agency). Needless to say, they hit it off and he ended up moving back to the US with her. That was four years ago—his first time going back will be this summer.
Yoseph is currently taking 5 classes during the week. After his class on Friday morning, he then hops in his car and starts driving on the Uber platform. Yoseph has a system that works great for him—focus on school during the week, and then work on the weekends. Sometimes, though, on weeknights, he’ll drive for a few hours—especially if his fiancé is working late (which happens often). He’ll try to reach roughly 40 hours a week on the Uber platform, setting a different schedule for himself each week.
“Flexibility is important when you’re in school.”
What Yoseph loves most about driving in New Haven is meeting riders. “Yale attracts all kinds of interesting people.” Friday and Saturday nights are very busy for him as college kids head out with friends. They use Uber to get to and from the local bars and college parties. “It has definitely gotten busier for us [Uber partners] since the price cut. I used to wait 15-20 minutes between trips, but now I get requests much more frequently.” His fiancé uses it daily to get to the hospital. “It works well for her since it’s cheaper now than having a car. The only problem is that she uses my Uber account,” he laughs.
The two are now busy planning their wedding for next summer, once both of them are done with school. Post-graduation, Yoseph isn’t 100% sure what he’ll do next. What he does know is that they will move somewhere warmer. “We’ll maybe move to DC or San Francisco after school.” Yoseph is also playing with the idea of taking the CPA exam and going into accounting. Another possibility would be to open an Ethiopian restaurant. Who knows where life will take him next—the world is his oyster.