By: Daniel Maldonado
Juventud Ecuatoriana is an organization that promotes education and community life for Ecuadorians in the United States. Having one of its biggest projects the Ecuadorian Scholars Fund (ESF), Juventud Ecuatoriana (JUVE) has supported Ecuadorian students since 2006. Based on studies, JUVE learned that Ecuadorian students also formed one of the highest dropout percentages of young people on their higher education. As you readers will realize Juventud Ecuatoriana is helping to change this reality and assisting young people like me to achieve an educational dream, “An American Dream.”
Every day I feel prouder of being Ecuadorian and a Spanish speaker, but at the same time I keep in mind that if perfect my skills in a new language, such as English, the doors of opportunities in my life will expand. Changes were essential and drastic since I left my home country. With zero in English skills, I migrated to New York in search of the American dream. At the beginning it was hard to adapt to this new culture, but being a lucky Ecuadorian I was able to go to school. In my opinion, I feel that most Latin Americans who want to study abroad, in addition to the language and the unfamiliar culture, persuaded studies in their home country are devalued as the price of a technological artifact. In other words, education achieved in home countries are not paid attention when coming to the United States. The only difference is that the knowledge gained in our native countries remains active in our minds, but they are not expressed because of language barriers. For example, I left Ecuador when I finished 11th grade and I traveled to the United States to achieve a better education. But instead, I had to repeat high school again since 9th grade. The educational system here in New York did not assess my previous studies fairly. When I came to this country, I had to take core classes in math and science, when in Ecuador I had already studied advanced classes in physics, chemistry, accounting, biology and others. This process led that in three years, instead of acquiring new knowledge I stayed stuck in the ones that I had previously studied. Fortunately, I managed to assimilate these small obstacles by motivating myself to keep going further. Life does not stop, but rather it continues. Now I am in college, but three years behind to my ex-classmates from Ecuador. I keep dreaming that in two years I will get a bachelors degree as an economist.
By sharing a piece of my life in this blog, I hope that I can influence other students with similar stories. We must seize the opportunities that this country offers to us, and not stop fighting for our dreams, even when small obstacles come our way.
Juventud Ecuatoriana has been here to support me with an internship and improve my professional skills. Other than that, the people that I am surrounded within the organization are very nice, and best of all is that I do not have to travel to Ecuador to feel at home. Now that I have already shared my story, what are you doing to pursue your dreams regardless of your everyday obstacles?