Freddy Lucena came to the U.S. from Caracas, Venezuela in 2016. While he was here on vacation, the political and economic situation in his country was getting worse, so he made the most difficult decision of his life – to make a new life in Chicago.

He started taking ESL classes through Truman College in 2017, and got married shortly thereafter. He worked in restaurants, but that only made him realize how much he missed working in hospitals, as he had studying medicine in Venezuela.

As his English improved, he decided to continue his studies here and enroll in college credit classes. His husband, who is a doctor, helped him ask around to see which college might be best to start at – and they found Malcolm X College. He had already studied medicine for three years in Caracas, so while he was nervous to take all his classes in English, he knew the science would be familiar.

In 2018, he enrolled full-time in classes at Malcolm X College, deciding that his love of working with patients would make him a perfect fit for a career in nursing. He took full advantage of office hours with professors, the Tutoring Center, the Writing Center and the Transfer Center. He was also part of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society.

Now, as he graduates this May with his Associate in General Studies, he has been accepted to UIC’s College of Nursing where he will pursue a bachelor’s degree and eventually a master’s degree.

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