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Juan: 30 Neighbors. 30 Days. Spotlighting diverse Pittsburghers in social media and here on PUM

February 11, Day 23:

“I played soccer through a big part of my life and one of the coaches at Waynesburg University found me online and helped me with financial aid so I could make it to college. From there, I went to school for two years. It was very difficult and chaotic with the situation right now in Venezuela, both politically and economically. So, at one point I had to stop going to college and, by that time, I had met my girlfriend -- who is now my wife. We met playing soccer. So, I moved to Pittsburgh without a diploma and I worked to pay for the rest of the credits I needed. That’s what I did: I took classes online, graduated, and then found a job.


I think there are different cases for immigrants. I have a college degree and I have a good job right now, but I always wonder about other immigrants -- who come to Pittsburgh and maybe they don’t speak English. I feel like, yes, I am an immigrant, but I have it easier than most because I can speak the language, I have a job, I have a U.S. college degree.” -- Juan  #IamPGH



“I always want to make people aware of the situation that is happening in Venezuela. They’re going through a rough time and maybe sometimes what people see in the news is not what’s really going on. I know some people have told me that they have an anti-American spirit there because of the past political history, and that’s some of the people, but that’s not everyone. They are human beings, just like in Pittsburgh --  there are all kinds of people… I’ve also been surprised… I lived there and I [would] talk to some people who say: ‘oh no, I’ve heard it’s great there.’ I guess they read some article online and they think it’s great, but it is really not. It almost offends me because I came from there and it’s not easy. It’s really difficult.

I was a victim of crime, many times, everybody is. You always wonder that maybe, I don’t know, one day you can be just another victim, but instead of taking your wallet, they take that and they shoot you too. That always worried me. The crime… that actually shapes your culture too. My wife thinks I’m paranoid, but it’s because I grew up like that. Watching my back, always.” -- Juan  #IamPGH



Welcoming Pittsburgh is launching 30 Neighbors. 30 Days., in collaboration with PittsburghUrbanMedia.com and other partners, to spotlight stories from diverse Pittsburghers, including those hailing from countries around the globe, transplants from other American cities, and Pittsburgh natives. 

  Follow the campaign:  www.PittsburghUubanMedia.com, WelcomingPGH on Facebook and Twitter, hashtag #IamPGH. 30 Neighbors. 30 Days. runs January 20 – February 18, 2016.

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