When Jessyca Londono finished high school in Colombia, she decided that the only way she would be able to go to college would be to come to America. So she went to the U.S. embassy and applied for a visa, joined her aunt in Greenville, and with no English skills, started work in a restaurant bussing tables.
Living in Berea, Jessyca enrolled in ESL classes at Greenville Technical College's Northwest Campus, beginning her language studies with numbers, colors and very basic grammar. As her English improved, she moved on to developmental classes in English and math while working two jobs to make ends meet.
Now she's taking Massage Therapy classes as she waits for a chance to become a Physical Therapist Assistant student. Her long-term goals are to pursue a career in physical therapy and to help children in Colombia who don't have opportunities for education.
A year ago, Londono became a U.S. citizen and changed her name to London. Taking this step after 11 years in America allowed her to finally feel that she belongs. "I'm a real American," she says. "I can vote, and I'm proud of that. When I see the flag, I think, I'm one of them, too."