‘If you are persistent enough with what you are doing, you can make it here. There’s so much opportunity.’
“When I came to the U.S. from India in 2011, I had my own image of what it would be like. I had no idea! I was 21 and I came with my entire family. I learned quickly there are three things you need here: the English language; to understand the internet; and to figure out driving. Without all of that you are handicapped. I used a computer in India, but it wasn’t mandatory and driving was completely different. We came to the U.S. because we have a lot of family here and we wanted a better education and life. This was always a dream. The immigration process took a very long time, much longer than anyone would think. In India, I was a pharmacy major and I had completed two years of college.
“When I came to the U.S. the same degree was very challenging and expensive. I wanted to switch majors because I didn’t enjoy it. My professor recommended that I work in a summer camp as a counselor. It was the best thing to happen to me. I was supposed to take care of the kids, but they were taking care of me. They were a great population to learn English from and they helped me learn about the culture. I started taking classes at Nassau Community College for physical therapy and doing volunteer hours in a physical therapy office with a great mentor. I was like a kid in a candy store as I learned about all of the equipment. I earned my license and now I am officially a physical therapy assistant.
I always need to look at the whole picture. If patients come for their back or their knee, there is usually a lot more going on. I’m not going to fix every problem, but I can be a good listener.
“When the pandemic hit, we were furloughed and repurposed for a few months. I was working the COVID Call Center. In the beginning I had no idea what I was doing but I learned how to help. I also made a list of people we were treating in the office and would call them to make sure they were okay. I always need to look at the whole picture. If patients come for their back or their knee, there is usually a lot more going on. I’m not going to fix every problem, but I can be a good listener. I’m still looking into other careers. I like what I do but I don’t want to limit myself. I can always grow. Since coming to the U.S., I have learned that I can do so much and that I shouldn’t give up. If you are persistent enough with what you are doing, you can make it here. There’s so much opportunity.”