“Sometimes you need help and you have to open up to people and realize that you’re not alone. Everything you have done in life has value; it doesn’t matter if it was done in another country. You cannot forget who you are no matter where you are coming from.”
I am a Colombian attorney. I came to the U.S. with my husband and my three-year-old daughter in 2001. We had to look for protection in the U.S. due to the violence in my country. The main barrier I had to overcome was that I didn’t know the language and I had to start learning my ABCs when I was already 30 years old.
Initially, I was working odd jobs, mostly babysitting 14 to 16 hours a day, seven days a week. I didn’t have time to access the formal education system to learn the language, but I knew that I had to learn English to be able to rebuild my career, so I kept my earphones on day and night.
People around me were telling me to forget about my professional career. But I had worked so hard to achieve my professional goals. I knew that it wouldn’t be easy, but I had to close the gap between what I was doing and who I am.
I believe that Upwardly Global came to New York as an answer to my prayers. I had been in the U.S. for about four years, pushing hard but not knowing how to find a job in my field. Through Upwardly Global I met an immigration lawyer who passed my resume along to the firm where I was eventually hired. I have been with Akst & Akst for ten years, now focusing on corporate immigration law.
My husband, my daughter and I have dual citizenship in the U.S. and Colombia. This happened because of the generosity of this country. Sometimes you need help and you have to open up to people and realize that you’re not alone. Everything you have done in life has value; it doesn’t matter if it was done in another country. You cannot forget who you are no matter where you are coming from.”