For Venezuelan Immigrants, College is Family Experience

Lone Star College North Harris News

Imagine, if you dare, the journey from the familiar to the unfamiliar. Think about leaving behind most of everything youve every known and worked for. Think of saying goodbye to long-time friends and elder family members and then immigrating to a new country, thousands of miles away, with its own language, culture, social customs and educational system.
What follows is the story of the Hernandez family, who emigrated from Venezuela to the United States and to Houston three years ago. Included in their story is a theme of determination, hard work and a supportive family network in which education plays a key role and is prime motivation for the hopes and dreams of two generations.
In the fall of 2005, Larissa Hernandez was a teenager, going to school in Anaco, a city of slightly more than 100,000 population in the state of Anzoateguilocated in the northern region of Venezuela. Her father, who had earned a scholarship to the University of Michigan, had returned to his native country after earning his degree, to work in the energy industry, and to marry Lourdes, his wife.  Lourdes, who was trained as a school teacher, owned her own business after rearing her two sons and Larissa.
However, as the countrys president continued making policies that financially impacted many people, the Hernandez family made a decision that would be life-changingfor everyone.  My mother had to give up her business and my dad was working for a Canadian company that closed because of the political situation, so he decided to start looking for a job out of the country.
Fortunately, my father was able to find a job in the United States, so my family immigrated on Oct. 6, 2005, said Larissa, now 19. I remember because the day after we moved was my 16th birthday.
At first I was really sad because I had lived near my grandparents …

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