By Paul June 16, 2019
Country of Origin: Honduras
Age of Arrival: 10 years old
Hometown: Alexandria, VA
Degree: Integrative Studies Major with a Concentration in Liberal Arts for the Teaching Professions
I think that a lot of DREAMers have a passion within them to want to help people and to help better the life of others. Maybe it’s because we have so much personal experience with the difficult parts of life that we want to help others during their tough times.
After graduating from college, I plan to work as an elementary teacher. My goal is to build relationships with the students and help them not only in class, but outside the classroom as well. I also want to receive my English as a Second Language certification so I can help recently arrived students adapt to the U.S.
I remember my own difficulty in adapting to America when I arrived. When I first got to the United States, at the age of 9, everything was so different. I had been raised in the southern area of Honduras, which is very rural, before we fled because of fear of violence. I wasn’t accustomed to living in a city, and I wasn’t used to living with my parents, since I had been living with my grandparents for most of my childhood. I also found it really hard to adjust because of the language barrier. It was a struggle to learn English as a 5th grader, but I worked hard to learn English and to adjust quickly.
I started to think of America as home about two years after arriving in the U.S. I had adjusted to the American environment, learned the language, and was able to build friendships and participate in my school community.
I’ve always been aware of my immigration status, and the struggles that come with it. But, ever since I received DACA in 2012, I have been able to continue my education at the college level, have been able to work and even have the opportunity to travel back to Honduras. DACA has allowed me to live in the U.S. without fear of deportation.
I heard about TheDream.US from my high school counselor my senior year of high school, and I am so grateful for the support. I was determined to go to college, even without the scholarship. My plan was to pay for college and take a few credits each semester, while working to support myself and my parents. Going to college is something that I’ve always wanted, so I would’ve made the efforts necessary in order to continue.
I first attended Northern Virginia Community College. At NOVA, I received the Honors Scholarship, so I took Honors classes and completed the Honors Program. I then chose George Mason University as my transfer school because it’s close to home and I wanted to help my parents. It is also better because I am able to live at home, rather than paying for a room. After graduating from college, I hope to volunteer and lead English classes for the immigrant community.
I would like to remind my fellow DREAMers to work hard and help make the sacrifices our parents made worth it. We need to demonstrate all the ways that we will contribute to American society.