Immigrant Stories: Zaily Mesa

Published by Program Manager on

Immigrant Stories: Zaily Mesa

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Zaily likes to spend time with her two children

Meet Zaily Meza, known as “Zaelita” by friends and loved ones. Zaily and her family are from Honduras, and she looks back at her time growing up with nostalgic joy. Her childhood and adolescence spent in Honduras were filled with great memories and opportunities, such as going to college. She later moved to the United States with her family in October 2006, at age 17. After 16 years in the United States continuing to establish opportunities for herself and her family, Zaily continues to have big dreams, one of which is to become a United States citizen! She has been attending BIIN’s Citizenship classes in order to prepare for her naturalization interview.

One of Zaily’s first memories in the United States was driving through Galveston shortly after she arrived in the United States. Driving by the beach, she was excited to see more about Galveston and about being in a new country. She later moved to Bryan in 2009 to remain close to her parents, who moved to the area for work. Though Bryan brings a new, flourishing environment for Zaily, her favorite thing about Bryan is that all of her family is nearby. When she’s not working or at BIIN’s classes, Zaily likes to hike, learn about new cultures, and spend time with her family, including her 2 children. 

Just like the dreams she has for herself, Zaily has big dreams for her children. No matter what career path they pursue, she one day hopes to see them graduate from college in the future. She wants to emphasize the importance of education, in all of its forms, to them. As her own education has continued to play such an important role in helping her pursue her goals, such as owning a business, continuing to learn English, and becoming a United States citizen, she finds it crucial to make education a vital part of her children’s lives as well. As she learns something new every Saturday, Zaily is grateful for how BIIN’s citizenship classes have provided a chance for her to learn more about the naturalization process and prepare for her interview. 

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Zaily proudly displays her end of course certificate along with Jeremy Brett, longtime lead volunteer instructor for BIIN’s English citizenship classes.

A simple Google Search for “citizenship classes” led Zaily to find BIIN during the Summer of 2022. After registering with BIIN’s office, Zaily joined the English Citizenship Classes in September 2022. One of Zaily’s first memories from starting BIIN’s citizenship classes was the kindness of BIIN’s teachers, volunteers, and her fellow classmates. She likes that the students all learn together and feels that the classes have been very effective for her. Another great aid in the class has been the assistance of BIIN’s volunteers, who Zaily says are very helpful and knowledgeable. She would like to thank them for their contribution towards her learning and to the class. About her experience with the citizenship classes, Zaily said that “Every Saturday [she has felt] like [she leaves class] with something positive in [her] life.” She is excited to return to BIIN’s English Citizenship classes in Spring 2023, where she hopes to learn more about preparing for her naturalization interview, as well as review the 100 questions that she may be asked during her civics test.

Once she receives her citizenship, Zaily hopes to return to BIIN as a citizenship class volunteer. Though she has always had a focus on helping others throughout her life, Zaily finds her current position makes her effort to help even more crucial. She believes that her experience going through not only the naturalization process, but in BIIN’s citizenship classes as well, gives her a unique position to better serve others that will later pursue the same goal she is currently working towards. She hopes that BIIN can serve more people in the Brazos Valley by continuing to provide their Conversational English and Citizenship Classes. She would like to thank the teachers, interns, and volunteers at BIIN for their hard work and dedication towards helping others. 

Thanks to fall 2022 intern Alyssa Mercado for interviewing Zaily and writing this profile of her.