When her mother asked if she wanted to go to the U.S., Kseniya Tuchinskaya said she wouldn’t mind visiting. The country looked nice in the photographs her uncle sent home. But her mother explained they wouldn’t be visiting, they would be staying.
Born in 1986, Ms. Tuchinskaya grew up in Kishinev, Moldova. As a child, she used to play at a nearby park and sample fruit and cheese in the city market. But when the Soviet Union collapsed and Moldova became an independent state, the country became increasingly unstable. Her family—a part of the Russian-speaking population—feared the growing backlash towards Russian culture. Her family packed their bags and moved to the U.S.
In Moldova, Ms. Tuchinskaya had never been to school. She was eager to begin her education in her new home, but it was much harder than she expected. Kseniya didn’t speak English or even know the alphabet; she carried her name around on a Post-it note during her first year of classes. She was a very quick learner and won the school spelling bee the following year.
Since then, Kseniya has finished her graduate studies and has worked in several positions that cater to her community. She has been employed as a special education teacher and worked with a nonprofit social work organization. Currently, Ms. Tuchinskaya is a job coach for Upwardly Global and lives in San Francisco.