Immigrant Experience and Hispanic Resilience

September 22, 2021

headshot of Nicole Bowen headshot of Nicole Bowen

By Nicole Bowen, Graduate Intern

My name is Nicole Bowen and though my name may not sound like it – I am a proud Hispanic immigrant. When I was eight years old, my family left all we knew in Ecuador to pursue a better future in the US.

At eight years old, I didn’t know what it meant to be an immigrant, nor the pride behind that word – but I soon learned.

I grew accustomed to my dad working weekends at the local car dealership and my mom working mornings at the mall. I became responsible for making my little brother’s lunches and helping him with his homework. To feel like I was still at home, I turned on Telemundo and watched novellas. I didn’t feel eight years old anymore.

I became determined to make someone out of myself and make my parents’ many sacrifices worth it. Whenever I doubted my ability to do so, I remembered my dad’s favorite saying, “para atrás ni para tomar impulso,” which roughly translates to “no going backwards, not even to gain speed.” My immigrant parents never let me forget my potential, my rich culture and most importantly, my drive to succeed no matter what I had to overcome. I believe this drive lives inside all Hispanic cultures and is the root of so much of our cultural pride.

Fast forward almost 15 years since my family moved to the U.S. and my sister and I are the first members to graduate from college – I even got a master’s degree! My siblings and I are well on our ways to building the lives our parents envisioned for us all those years ago when they decided to leave behind all they knew for the promise of better.

Don’t ever forget: Si se puede “Yes, you can.”