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How To Be Successful in America: The American Dream For Professional Immigrants

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TIM, Making Money, Orestes J Vega

Orestes_Vegas_picThe American dream is not new to the world, millions of people from all over the world, have this dream. But how is this dream for professional immigrants, who dare to leave their country in search of a better life. Their dreams, though similar to other immigrants who come to USA for a better economical and political life, differs in other ways. These professionals are working in their countries for 10 to 20 dollars a month. Among them, one can find Cuban Doctors, University Professors, Engineers, Dentists, Nurses and the list is a non ending one. These peoples have dedicated many years of their life to study a career. A clear example, are Cuban Doctors, whom most of the time, spend 6 years studying general medicine and four in their specialty, a total of 10 years. Then, one can ask if it is worth the reward. Of courses not, for these professionals, who have spent 10 years of their life studying, and later get a wage of 10 to 20 dollars a month, it is not worth the sacrifice of spending 10 years in a university. This miserable wages and living conditions, lead them to a frustration and a statement of desperation that make them take the decision of leaving their country.

The fact is that many of these professionals are able to arrive in USA. In the case of Cubans, they run a better chance than other immigrants. First, the USA government gives them 20000 visas every year, while many others are able to abandon the Island by boat or home made rafts. When they arrive in USA, the Law of “Cuban Adjustment Act” protects them. As a result, they can get their work permit and the right to apply for the residency after a year in USA soil. But Cubans, are not the only professionals who choose USA in search of a better life, there are immigrants from all over the world who dream and choose this nation as the land of opportunity.

The sad reality is that hundreds of thousands of these professional immigrants, more than a dream, face a nightmare. Most of them, have to end up doing labor jobs they never had to do in their countries, such as: washing dishes in restaurants, cleaning offices at night and working in factories just to mention a few of these jobs they have to do in order to survive. For these immigrants who never had to do these types of jobs in their countries, life seems to be more degrading. One can usually hear the phrase, “there, you were a captain, but here you are just a soldier. Others say, “In your country, you were a lion, but here, you are just a mouse”. The meaning that these phrases convey is that in their country, these professionals where admired, respected and valued for their professions, but in USA, they are no different from a regular factory or warehouse worker. The question is, do immigrants have a solution or a way out to this problem? Of course they do. But, how many want to go over the hard task or sacrifice that it takes? There are several factors to consider when dealing with this subject, the first one is the linguistic factor. Most of these immigrants, don’t know English and when they do, their proficiency in the language is not enough to function in an academic level. In addition, most of the time, the level of English they bring from their country is rather poor. Evidently, this is a problem, having into account that many of these immigrants come to USA with families they have to support. Therefore, the fact that they have to provide a shelter, food and clothing for their families, does not leave them time to attend a language course where they can attain a proper academic proficiency in English.

When many of these professional immigrants face the tough reality, of having to do any job to survive, they get frustrated and depressed. After spending a few years in USA, many of them realized that they can do their profession here, if they make an extra effort. In the cases of nurses, there are vocational schools where they can attend to learn English and study nursing. The fact that they have a B.A in Nursing from their countries, does not mean they can practice in USA; they have to take English and nursing exams to obtain their practicing licenses. Many of these nurses, choose to make the extra effort required to obtain their license, while others, just choose to work as nursing assistants. The fact is that those who wish to go further in their career, are those who obtain a better reward at the end. Some professionals might think that for them is more difficult than for any others. Some examples are the cases of Dental doctors who have to attend a college for two years no matter how many years of experience they bring from their native country. In the state of Florida, there are only two colleges offering dentistry, one is University of Florida, and the other is Nova Southeastern University, which is a very lucrative institution when it comes to its fees.

Is it worth it for foreign immigrants to go through all the hassles and hurdles that the USA govermenment and institutions put on their way? The answer is yes, when one compares the wages of nurses, teachers, doctors, university professors, and dentists in Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean then, one can definitely be sure that the effort they have to do to practice in USA is worth. However, the US government has to be sure that those who are going to give a health service are very competent professionals and can provide the same service as a professional who has received his education from an American University. Even when one attends an American university, he/she has to do the certification examinations required in the state where the license is issued. It is a fact, that it is easier for some professions than others, example for teachers, it is easier to obtain certifications than nurses, doctors and dentists. But it is no impossible to obtain certification for any of these professionals. The reality is that once they do it, they will upgrade their knowledge, be more prepared in their field and the reward will pay the effort they have to make to achieve their American dream.

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