A Dominican Son Strives to Live the “American Dream” for His Family & Himself

Fi2W is featuring stories by students in the Feet in 2 Worlds journalism course at The New School.

Watch the video by María Alzuru.

The ever-elusive American Dream. It means different things to different people but in the case of Roqui and Elis Andujar, it meant searching for economic opportunities outside of their native Dominican Republic. Their eldest son Nelson is the first to live out “the dream.” Born in the Dominican Republic, but having grown up in the U.S., and always excelling in school, Nelson has the tools to realize his parents’  aspirations by building a better life for himself.

But it has been hard for Nelson to separate his own dreams from those of his parents. He graduated from Columbia University hoping to take over the world and instead found that the economic recession pushed him toward a career outside of the area he studied in college. While his peers were able to find jobs more easily in other parts of the country, it was important to Nelson to remain close to home.

Instead of moving into his own apartment or living with friends, Nelson, 24, chooses to live at his parents’ house in the Bronx, save money, and continue to help out his parents financially. He has grown up keenly aware that he has very little family in this country to fall back on, and feels the need to take care of himself and even prepare himself to take care of his parents. Moving away from New York would mean he would be alone and could not continue to contribute to his family’s finances.

This video documents how Nelson has attempted to navigate both his parents’ dreams and his own.

You may also enjoy another video produced by María Alzuru: For Immigrant Woman, Change in Gender Roles.

Fi2W is supported by the David and Katherine Moore Family Foundation and the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation.

AboutMaría Alzuru
María Teresa Alzuru was born in Caracas, Venezuela and grew up in the southern United States. She received her B.A. in Political Science from Columbia University and is currently pursuing an M.A. in International Affairs with a concentration in Media and Culture from The New School in New York.