I get to choose what I want to do.: Becoming Minnesotan

Dr. Maryam Beltran Shapland, Emergency Physician at Woodwinds Hospital, Woodbury
  • Name - Maryam Beltran Shapland
  • Age at interview - 34
  • Gender - Female
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 01.25.2011
  • Maryam Beltran with her friends from the Fil-Minnesotan Youth Organization.

    Essential Question

    Becoming Americans: What does it mean to be an American?

    Opportunities in America: What kind of opportunities does this person see in America that he/she did not have in the homeland?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    Many of the Filipino immigrants who have arrived in the United States since 1965 have been professionals seeking job opportunities. While they and their children had good economic and career opportunities in the Philippines, they often view the U.S. as a place where there are more choices and more freedoms for them to enjoy.

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

    • Chapter 1

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    Narrator: Maryam Shapland (MS)

    Interviewer: Lita Malicsi (LM)

    LM: Did you have to make big adjustments here, and if so, in what areas?

    MS: One of them, I think, is the mindset of doing your own thing, being independent. When we started high school here, they pretty much said, “Okay, here’s the classes you’re supposed to take. You pick whatever else you want to take on top of this.” That, to me, was a revelation. I mean, there was no picking your own classes in the Philippines. You were given a curriculum, and that’s what you did, and that’s what you followed. You had no choice. To get to choose what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it was a huge thing. I thought it was the best thing in the world. I took jewelry classes. I took pottery… [Laughter] Things that I should never even have taken!

    Also, I was advanced…they advanced me in terms of science and math, so all my science and math classes were one class ahead…I’m sorry, one grade ahead. So, by the end of high school I had all these credits. So I got to take the post secondary option where you go to the University of Minnesota and take classes there for college credit. Again, that was a huge thing for me. Wow, I get to choose what I want to do from these millions of classes the University of Minnesota offered. That was great. I really loved it. It was fun and challenging and a good thing for me, at the time.

    LM: You were in high school and yet you were allowed to go to college!

    MS: Yes! For free. [Laughter]

    LM: For free, in America.

    MS: In America!

    Related Glossary Terms


    Noun:  Change, correction, modification.


    Noun:  Established educational materials and exercises that follow a set pattern over a period of time.


    Adjective:  Free; not reliant on anyone or anything else.


    Noun:  The general thinking patterns and ideas of a person.


    Noun: A surprising and previously unknown fact, especially one made in a dramatic way.


    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: 2141