Volume 47, Number 12 - February 16, 2010

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Laurie Charles
Laurie Charles
Staff Writer

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Picture of citizens
AWAY FROM HOME: Marcela Capdevila, 40, is one of the students in the citizenship class offered at North Campus. It is taught on Saturdays and lasts six weeks.

Citizenship class offers opportunity

By Laurie Charles

Marcela Capdevila was a laparoscopic surgery instructor in Argentina.

But when she came to the United States six years ago, she was forced to seek work as a nanny.

Hoping to improve her situation, she enrolled in a citizenship class at Miami Dade College’s North Campus.

This is the first semester the six week long class is being offered at the campus. The course is free and takes place on Saturdays. A new session starts in March.

“Its main focus is on the oral aspect,” said Sheryl Garayta, an adult education program manager. “So many people are terrified to speak in English but with practice, they build confidence with the language,”  

The class covers all aspects of the United States immigration and naturalization service citizenship exam.

Capdevila has only been to one class, but she is confident, she will learn a lot.

“It’s very dynamic,” Capdevila said. “The professor— Kyrstal Kessee— is great.”

Kessee, who also teaches in the school of education, decided to teach the class because she wanted to assist students who are struggling with the naturalization process.

“They have a hard time navigating through it,” Kessee said.

Life in the United States has not been easy for Capdevila. She has had to work jobs that pay her “under-the-table.”

“I was practically a doctor in my country but in the United States, I was cleaning houses and taking care of kids who weren’t even mine. It was really depressing.”

She dreams of becoming a surgical assistant and find employment where she can grow.

“Marcela is a great student and has a better understanding on how the government works,” Kessee said.

Despite the hardships, Capdevila is glad she made the choice to come to the U.S.

“I am divorced, have a 4-year-old daughter, and am currently unemployed,” Capdevila said. “I want to become a citizen so that I can have a better life for my daughter and for myself.”

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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Miami Dade College.
Miami Dade College is an equal access/equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, marital status, age, religion, national origin,
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Contact the Office of Director, Equal Opportunity Programs, ADA and Title IX Coordinator, at 305.237.2577 for assistance.