Ana Cruz’s parents moved to the United States from Mexico before she was born so that her father could finish medical school. Initially her father planned to return to Mexico, but he was offered a job in the states and decided to stay and build a new life for his family.
Now an economics/accounting sophomore at UT Austin, Cruz draws inspiration from her parents’ impeccable work ethic and aims to make them proud by forging her own path to success.
Culture change… “The first and biggest challenge was the language barrier. Coming to the United States with very little English knowledge, my parents had to learn quickly in order to communicate at work, school and within the community. Another challenge was learning and understanding American holidays. My parents did not realize at first that certain days such as Easter and Thanksgiving were holidays until they went out to find everything closed!”
The payoffs of hard work… “My dad, as our single source of income, worked every day all day and never, ever missed a single day. As a doctor, this included many sleepless nights as well. When my dad was a first-year resident, $100 was given to doctors who, before the end of the month, completed discharge summaries for all of the patients they had seen. This required one to talk into a recording and state all of the patients’ information. For my dad, this was particularly difficult to do in English at the time. However, my family desperately needed the extra money. My dad would spend many nights writing out by hand and translating everything exactly as he was going to say it into the recording. Not a single month went by that he did not make sure to get our family that $100. My mom also worked to arrange our living arrangements, feed and raise her kids and newborn, keep track of money, and everything in between which was anything but easy in a foreign country. Buying a car and renting an apartment was particularly challenging.”
Commonalities of the immigrant story… “Typical, everyday tasks like buying a car, going to the DMV or renting an apartment can be difficult for anyone, but for immigrants they can be especially challenging due to language barriers and the fact that absolutely everything is new and foreign. They face them with little money and mouths to feed, but a determination to keep working to get to a better place in life. Overall, my parents, like many, left Mexico with nothing but ten suitcases filled with clothes to start a life completely from scratch but they worked hard and have now achieved all of their goals. That in and of itself is completely unimaginable and inspiring to me. It takes an incredible amount of work to build a new life but even more to build one that is successful.”
Cruz’s campus activities: Intellectual Entrepreneurship Pre-Grad Intern; Officer, Minority Women Pursuing Law; 2017-18 Vice President, Texas Economics Association