When 20-year-old Oscar Rodriguez left Colombia for New York in 2000 – by himself – he didn’t speak a word of English.
But for Rodriguez and many other immigrants, the promise of the American dream was enough. “I was motivated by the notion that the U.S. offers opportunities if you are willing to work hard,” he says.
However his peers thought his dream of going to college and working at a top U.S. company was unrealistic. “They’d tell me, ‘there’s no way you’re going to get into a top business school; you’re crazy!’”
Rodriguez noticed an epidemic of low expectation: “It’s hard coming into this country, adapting, and learning a new language. For many of the Latinos around me, the American Dream meant getting a decent job, making $400 a week at a restaurant or construction site, and then sending the money home.”