Yatziry Galvan, 22, from California, born in Mexico
Immigrants’ stories are not always easy stories. I remember it being very difficult to adjust to a new life here in the United States after I arrived at age six. I didn’t speak the language and didn’t have any friends. I didn’t feel like I belonged and it took me a long time to convince myself that this is where I needed to be. I still miss my hometown, but I have come to realize that I am a mixture of two cultures and therefore will embrace both. I consider the United States a home because I have been here most of my life. I don’t consider it my only home. I am a mixture of two cultures and I am thankful for both for having shaped me. My family had to sacrifice a lot to be here. My parents had to miss several years of my life because they wanted to provide a better future for me. They missed a lot of happy memories that they will never get back. We all had to leave everything and everyone we knew back home. It was extremely difficult trying to maneuver our way around a new culture, with the idea that we didn’t belong and knowing that we could be deported at any moment. My parents have always encouraged me to continue my education. They have always supported me in any way they could. My brothers have always been there to motivate me when I was feeling hopeless. I have always wanted to be the best possible role model for them. My experience here in the United States has been a difficult one. Although it has been filled with happy memories, it has also been filled with terrible ones. I was bullied for not fitting in and not speaking fluent English. I missed out on a lot of great opportunities and experiences that my peers got to enjoy, but because I am undocumented I was not able to. I have always worked hard, but not always reaped the rewards. I continue to work hard every day and my scholarship is proof that hard work eventually pays off. Through DACA, I have been able to get a steady job, get a drivers license and continue my education. After I graduate, I hope to join a non-profit organization and help my community in any way I can and by keeping people informed about resources and opportunities. I believe undocumented immigrants are the most tenacious and hard-working people you will meet, because of the obstacles we’ve had to overcome. We will work twice as hard as everyone else because we know not to waste opportunities.