“We [immigrants] come to the United States and we think everything will be similar to our country…and that is not correct,” Freynaldo said.
Freynaldo was quickly hit with this harsh realization as political issues ushered him out of his home country of Venezuela in 2016.
Although he was a licensed attorney back home, not having the ability to communicate in English, coupled with having to learn how the legal system works in the U.S., made his path to continuing law a long and difficult journey.
Freynaldo graduated law school in 2001 and went on to work as a legal consultant in the executive, judicial and legislative powers of the federal government in Venezuela, attributing a great amount of his knowledge to this opportunity. Although he had years of experience and schooling in Venezuelan law, he was forced to start over from zero when he arrived in the U.S. Despite the challenges, Frey kept a positive mindset throughout his journey.
“You bring your experience and knowledge and adapt,” he said.
Freynaldo’s first stop in the U.S. was Miami, Florida where he lived for about two years as he learned English and the law of his new home. After struggling to achieve the necessary score on the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) that must be passed to study at English-speaking universities, he was even more determined to make his American dream come true.
His next stop was Orlando. After talking to a friend about the obstacles he was facing to become an attorney due to the difficulty of learning English, he was referred to the Adult Literacy League. He hit the ground running and started attending five to six classes a week, on top of attending his one-to-one tutoring sessions with his tutors Larry and Barbara.
“I came to the Adult Literacy League looking for help from one person and received it from many,” Frey said.
And Frey’s hard work paid off. With the mentorship and guidance from his teachers, he PASSED the TOEFL exam and was admitted into FSU’s Masters in Law for Foreign Lawyers program. Frey was now well on his way to becoming an attorney in the U.S.
But Frey’s success did not stop there. As of February 2023, Freynaldo has passed the Bar Exam!
Practicing immigration law is Frey’s most immediate goal, but he said that he would also like to teach law someday and become a mentor to someone just like him: another immigrant starting over with the same goal of practicing law in the United States.
“But for right now, I need to keep learning,” Frey said with a laugh.
“The Adult Literacy League helped me a lot, in every single part of my life. Every single person has helped me and pushed me and changed my life.”