I never dreamed of coming to the United States.: Becoming Minnesotan

Belen Andrada receiving an award from the FMA seniors.
  • Name - Belen Andrada
  • Age at interview - 84
  • Gender - Female
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 12.01.2010
  • Belen and Ben Andrada at home in Minneapolis, 1950. Minnesota Historical Society

    Education, Filipino

    Essential Question

    Coming to America: What did coming to America symbolize for this person?

    Push & Pull Factors: Why did this person come to the U.S.?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    The Philippines were colonized by Spain in the 1500s and taken over by the U.S. after the Spanish-American War in 1898. The Americans started free, public American-style education in the Philippines, which became one of the most educated nations in Asia. The United States also began a program to send Filipino students to the U.S. to continue their educations, and bring their new skills and knowledge back with them to the Philippines. Many Filipino students have come to the U.S. for education over the past century.

    To learn more about Filipino history and culture, visit our Filipino Community page.

    • Chapter 1

    Download Belen Andrada 5
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    Narrator: Belen Andrada (BA)

    Interviewer: Lita Malicsi (LM)

    LM: Now when did you come to the United States and why?

    BA: Came in August of 1955. Yes. That was something that I never really dreamed of. I never really aspired to it. I was already teaching in the high school. At the time when I was a student there, it was only up to seven. This time, there is already a high school. There is already a college. And my rector called me into his office and asked me to fill out a form. This was for a fellowship at that University of Chicago and I said, “I never dreamed of coming to the United States.” But he said, “Go ahead. I’ll write you a recommendation. I’ll ask one of your math teachers before to write you a recommendation. And let’s see what’s going to happen.”

    LM: What was your dad’s reaction to this?

    BA: Oh, he was so pleased. Yes, my father is really a man who believes in education. As a matter of fact, when it was time for us to go to college, he’d always say, “This is your chance to really make the most of what I can leave you. That is one thing I can leave you that nobody can take away from you: education.” And I guess we never really failed him in that aspect. We all kind of came up to his expectations.

    Related Glossary Terms


    Verb: To hope or dream; especially to hope or work towards a profession or occupation. (aspires, aspiring, aspired)


    Noun:  The act or state of expecting or looking forward to an event as about to happen; that which is expected or looked for; the prospect of the future.


    Noun: An academic position or merit based scholarship.


    Noun: A priest in charge of a church, school, or other institution.


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access]. http://www.mnhs.org/immigration
    nid: 2130