This is who I am

By Mariana Florez  |   From : Colombia  |   School : West Broward High School

The United States is said to be the land of opportunities. A place where anything is possible and as long as you set your mind to it, it can be achieved. The United States is where the “american dream” is in your hands. My american dream is to make the world a better place, one child at a time. The question is: How do I get there?

In 2009, I began my journey to the american dream. I was born in Colombia and lived there for seven years before going to the U.S. I remember being unsure of what life would be like in my new home. At such a young age, I could not comprehend the idea of having to learn a new language, make new friends, and leave family behind. Having no other option, I simply went with the flow, not knowing what life had in store for me.

My first couple months were very different to what I was used to. I suddenly had nobody to talk to and a whole new lifestyle to adjust to. Little by little I learned more and more english and felt a little more comfortable speaking it.The biggest struggle I faced was social anxiety. Not being able to communicate comfortably with others has undeniably been a factor in anxiety in which I still face today. Dealing with the death of my grandfather also had some impacts in my life as he was someone who I adored and trusted.Along with struggles came joyful changes. On July 20,2011, my little brother was born. My brother has played a huge role in my life and in who I am today. He was diagnosed with autism at a very young age, which developed into my interesting in working with young children. Because of him, I see the world in a whole new different way.

With joyful moments in life, there are always going to be hard times. These past couple months have been challenging  in both negative and positive ways. My family and I have gone through changes that of course make an impact on my daily life. As I grow older and continue to get more mature, I realize that life has many ups and downs and it’s just up to me to make the best of it. I found that my passion is early childhood education. This is what brings me joy. Through the early childhood program, I plan on earning my CDA this year and becoming a certified preschool teacher. With my CDA, I hope to eventually open up my own business for children with special needs.

I believe that by simply interacting with young children and spreading positivity, I can make a difference in the world. That is essentially my american dream. This dream came about from the opportunities that I know have living in the U.S. As an immigrant, you learn the values of your culture, your family, and what it means to make sacrifices. My mother made many sacrifices for me to come here in order to get better opportunities. I value that so much and will make the best of the opportunities I have. It is not easy for any of us to come into a new country and leaving our culture behind, whatever the reason may be.

Everyone has their own story, all unique. Although coming to this country has given me opportunities that I would not otherwise have, my culture will always be a part of me and in my heart. I am proud to say that I am both Colombian and American. This is who I am.


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