Since Gabriela Avitia was a young child, her dream was to learn numerous languages. “I want to be able to communicate with as many people as possible,” said Avitia, whose native language is Spanish. She also speaks English fluently and is studying French and Arabic. Once she graduates from Moraine Valley, she plans to transfer to a local university to earn a bachelor’s degree in Arabic Studies.

The Alsip resident plans to use that degree to help her attain her dream job: working for the U.S. Embassy in the Middle East. “Knowing this critical language can open doors for me. I’ve chosen to work in the Middle East because there is so much focus on this region right now and many job opportunities,” she said.

It is with bittersweet emotions that Avitia will transfer to another school. “I am so happy to be at Moraine Valley. I decided to attend because it has a good reputation and it’s affordable. But I actually will be sad when I graduate. I really don’t want to leave,” she said. Avitia said the Education Center at Blue Island scholarship was a tremendous help for her. “I was so proud of myself to get that scholarship. It was like somebody believed in me when I didn’t even believe in myself,” she said. “It was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.”

When she’s not in classes or working, Avitia loves to travel. “I want to go back to Mexico to see my family, and then I’d like to travel to see the whole country.”