Venezuelan student happy to be in Oklahoma


Vanessa Essis small world
Vanessa Essis Melissa Sue Lopez/Pioneer


Sometimes, it’s not a bad idea to start over. Just ask Vanessa Essis, 35, who is completely

reinventing herself after coming to the U.S. from Venezuela.

Essis said she worked as a pharmaceutical representative in Venezuela, but is now focusing only on her studies as a full-time student in the U.S.

She said she is still adjusting to Oklahoma weather.

When she first came to Oklahoma, her arrival was right on time with the Moore tornado of 2013, which, she said, was terrifying.

“I don’t like the spring here because there are tornados.

“In my country, it is very tropical because we’re on the coast, but there is nothing there like a tornado.”

Aside from that, Essis said, she has been enjoying her time in Oklahoma.

One of the things she enjoys most is the affordability of most things, such as cars.

“In Venezuela, you only owned a car if you were very rich,” she said.

She said the traffic here is much less congested as well.

When she lived in Caracas, Essis said, the traffic ran her about two hours late every day.

Essis said she is impressed by the friendliness of Oklahomans and the number of Latin friends she had made while here.

“I love Oklahoma, really,” she said. “Oklahomans are very friendly.”

She said her only troubles have arisen from Craigslist, which puts her in the same boat as a lot of other Americans.

Essis said while she was able to find all the furniture she needed at the site, she wasn’t as lucky when it came to selling something on Craigslist.

She said she realized she might be caught up in a scam when she listed a washing machine for sale on Craigslist.

Essis said she received a call from a person in Michigan interested in buying it.

This was great, but there was a catch — the person wanted her to ship the washer.

Essis then received a check in the mail for almost $500 more than she had agreed to sell the item for.

“I called them but they did not answer me,” she said.

Essis went to the police with the check, only to learn that it was a false check.

Aside from that one incident, she said, life in Oklahoma and at OCCC is great.

Essis said she loves Language Professor Abra Figueroa’s classes, and has been making progress with her goal of learning fluent English.

She said she already has a degree in marketing, but plans to also major in nursing at OCCC.

Essis said she is mainly happy to be in the U.S. because Venezuela is currently in turmoil.

“My country right now is a disaster,” she said.

Essis said Venezuela has been collapsing under the heavy weight of scandal recently — primarily within the government sector.

“There are many problems with the political model —communism at it’s worst.”

Essis said, although things have been going downhill for about 15 years, it’s recently gotten worse.

“ … Only in the past year has it gotten very bad,” she said.

She said she enjoys her ability to move around freely here.

“In my country, there are lots of restrictions,” she said.

“In Venezuela, it’s hard to find jobs and to travel,” she said. “Traveling is harder than it was 10 or 15 years ago.”.


Venezuela Gabon

Capital: Caracas
Population: 30.41 million (2013)
GDP: 438.3 billion USD (2013)
Size: 353,841 sq. miles (912,050 million km²)
Official Language: Spanish
Currency: Bolívar
Government: Federal Presidential Republic
Religion: Roman Catholic
Details: Venezuela is a country on the northern coast of South America. Along its Caribbean coast are tropical resort islands including Isla de Margarita and the Los Roques archipelago. To the northwest are the Andes Mountains and the colonial town of Mérida, a base for hiking Sierra Nevada National Park. Caracas, the capital, is to the north.

World Bank

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