Mechi Cuellar
The secret of happiness is freedom; the secret of freedom is courage



One late evening coming back from teaching English full time observing the people on the bus and on the streets, Mechi's heart and mind experienced a "powerful click". "Time to make dramatic changes in your life, otherwise it will be too late", a decisive voice within her soul announced. Next morning, she became the "original but renewed Mechi" she always wished to be. Nine months later, proud of herself, smiling at the world, dreaming of big things for her future, working hard, Mechi arrived at the USA with a strong drive to enjoy the culture, and discover her passions. A year and a half in The USA have already passed by and Mechi feels an empowered young woman blessed with rewarding experiences, new friends and caring host families that open many doors to her personal and professional growth.




Raised by catholic parents in a small conservative village, inside the Salta Province, Argentina, Mechi was an energetic, kind, easygoing, and obedient child who loved playing soccer and field hockey, singing at the choir at church every Sunday, and going to her grandparents' farm. As the mid of five children, she seemed to be shy, but she always took part in different kinds of social events, and shine as a star. One thing she always tried to fight against was the strict and traditional mindset of her parents, especially her mother's dominating character, who overshadowed Mechi's wishes to be different. Because Mechi was the only of her brothers to speak up for what she believed even when she was against her mum's opinion or actions, she was always fought down. At school, she worked hard to get high grades. When she was only sixteen years old, she decided to become a religion teacher at her town being in charge of two groups of kids. Moreover, she accepted being her mum's assistant in teaching English. She felt pleased to be working even though she didn't get paid a dime. Mechi was extremely dedicated to her compromises and she successfully accomplished to be a responsible teenager. At her last year of high school, she had her first boyfriend who was from the same town but was studying at university far away. When it was her dreaming time to go to university, Mechi could not persuade her parents to send her to study in the same city where her beloved was and she ended up studying in Salta city to become an English teacher. Even though Mechi had shown she was mature for her age, her weaknesses were that she always chose to please others leaving behind her own aspirations, and that she was easily influenced by what people thought or expected from her. She committed to her first relationship as it was going to be her only one in her whole life. Five years of dating through distance, Mechi felt trapped in a bubble completely changed not longer that joyful, sporty, fashionable, and family- friendly girl she used to be. Her life got restricted to her boyfriend and her goal of finishing university as soon as she could for getting her independence. Four years of full time dedication to her studies, she was the first in her class to get her university degree. Meanwhile, her relationship through distance with her boyfriend turned to be suffocating and unbearable for her as he acted in an extremely possessive and controlling way. She tried to break up with him many times before but he put so much pressure on her that she could not be brave enough to turn her back to him. However, in 2008 she finally was strong to put a complete end to her long term relationship.


Professional challenge

Since her childhood, Mechi's dilemma represented her mum's expectations about her life against her own desires. Therefore, when she had to choose what to study at university, she did not know what to decide. As she was an excellent student at her English institute and had already had some early teaching experience, she chose to become an English teacher. She loves education and learning about the English grammar, culture, literature and history. As soon as she got her degree, she started working full time in three schools with eight different group classes. As she got overwhelmed by too much work, she felt like having a break the coming year. One day talking with her principal from her bilingual school she found out about a work and study cultural exchange program called AU PAIR IN AMERICA and she decided to go for this exciting adventure. Mechi made a lot of effort to save the money for paying for this Au pair program and did a lot of papers to apply for it and finally she got accepted. Nobody neither her could believe she was actually travelling to The USA to live for one full year. In February 2009 she took an airplane for the first time in her life to land in the capital city of Washington DC. She spent her first year as an au pair with a single parent host family with one seven year-old kid in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Though her original goal was to have a rest from studying, and have an active social life, she got bored at the middle of the first year, and not only she took her credit classes (Advanced English and beginner French classes)required from the program but also she started an 18 month- online degree to be a travel agent. Tourism was something she wanted to explore and have some studies because if she has to come back to Argentina she can have more job options apart from teaching. At the same time, she was allowed to do some volunteering job in a travel agency so she did it for a couple of months. She extended her program for one year more but with a host family from DC with two kids 3 year-old girl and 6 year-old boy. This time she found the perfect match for what she was looking professionally and personally for her second year in the US. From now on, she has the chance to get encouraged by her host parents to think bigger and believe in her potential. The fact they value her hard work with their kids makes her increase her self esteem a lot every day. Then, she had the great opportunity to take a course about Women in Business and leadership where she was offered to volunteer as the teacher assistant. Blessed by this, she loves the class even though she has never had a Business mindset or experience. Today, her challenges are to get a study and work visa in an American university and develop her professional career.


Personal challenge


Mechi grew up in a strictly catholic environment where she was involved in church activities like spiritual retreats, choir practice, Sunday mass, catechisms and charity events. This early deep religious influence would make her an extremely obedient girl. However, during her university years, she estranged from her religion as her first boyfriend was against the church and because she herself found out some things she did not accept any longer. Two important figures in her personal challenges were her mum and first boyfriend who wanted to manipulate her to do what they want for her instead of what she really desires for her own future. Mechi could not stand that but her love towards these people made her weak and she listened to what they said to her. Her hope and patience to make them change their ruling behavior towards her kept herself attached to these people for a long time though she suffered so much about the waste of her time. She feared them, she loved them but she also wanted her freedom. She felt empowered when she got her university degree, so that was the time she needed to speak for herself and there were no more bosses in her life. Mechi's next step was to rebuild her personality, explore the things she likes, and open herself to the wonders of the world so she embarked on her own American dream. USA was the destination where she felt completely free, happy, and blessed. After one and a half year in The USA, Mechi's heart tells her every day this is the place where all her big dreams will come true only if she works hard, is patient and smart with her decisions. She will give it a try even though her whole family is waiting desperately for her return in Argentina. She misses them, yes of course, however, she thinks this is her time for the twist of her future. Courage, perseverance and commitment against the obstacles are the only thoughts in Mechi's mind and she won't give up easily.