By Eddy Valda
Financial Analyst, Development Business, DynCorp International

I am from Bolivia. My entire life I have worked on different projects funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). While engaged in such work in Bolivia, one of the most challenging projects that I worked on involved anticorruption. It was incredibly difficult, but a calling that I found important to pursue.

From this experience, I began applying for related jobs and received a call from Casals & Associates, a DynCorp International company. During my first interview I met with an American woman to discuss potential opportunities. As I left the interview, I was concerned that my English was not strong enough to secure a position.

Surprisingly, I received a call for a second interview. This time, I felt more confident. Instead of talking about technical work, the conversation turned into a very informal one, talking about the weather, traffic, and other topics. It was then that I realized that this was a test of my English. After the third interview, I was offered a position on an anti-corruption project. I was thrilled to be able to use the expertise from my previous position to assist on a program where everyone was exhibiting honesty and hard work.

After two years with Casals & Associates, I received a call from the home office in the U.S. when I was on a bus. I took the call and when I started speaking in English the driver stopped the bus, turned around to look at me and the bus became silent. I had to ask headquarters to call me back and got off the bus right away. I was being discriminated against in my own country because of my link with the U.S.

The purpose of the call was to offer me a position in the U.S. I immediately said yes and shared the good news with my family, knowing this was our path to take. My family and I now live in the U.S. and, with the company’s help I am in the process of getting a permanent residency card and, once we get it, our plans are to continue to pursue citizenship here in the U.S.

I have to confess that living in the U.S. was always a secret dream of mine and I feel so fortunate to now be living and working in this great country—it is my American Dream.