Where are you from?

Buenos Aires, Argentina

What was it like growing up?

Family reunions, awesome time with my siblings, disagreement with my mom, several friends, going to college, working but never seen progress or the ability to save money for a near future.

What brought you to Cleveland?

I was dating my husband who born in Cleveland but grew up in Argentina and we decided to move to the USA looking for better employment opportunities and to build our future, progressing and improving (it was hard to achieve those goals living in Argentina at that time, from our own experiences)

What were your first thoughts about coming to the United States of America? Did those change?

Opportunities for growth, better employment, extensive training and classes, open doors.

We were able to achieve all those expectations and even more.

What challenges did you face as an immigrant transitioning here?

The need to change careers based on the language limitations.

What is your occupation?

I am current a Bilingual Retention Specialist and also an Interpreter and Translator. But I studied Journalism in Argentina.

How have other Clevelanders made you feel welcomed?

Opening several doors, providing resources, employment, training and most important friendship.

What traditions or customs do you continue to practice?

Keep getting together with Argentinos en Cleveland to share our own experiences, and to keep our traditions and Spanish language alive. Example of cool traditions: drink mate, kissing each other, speak loud.

What do you love about Cleveland?

It’s a quiet city that at the same time is growing but we love the peace, security and beauty of Cleveland.

Why is it so important to welcome immigrants and refugees?

Because all of us bring something unique that makes this country beautiful and diverse.

Why is it important to travel abroad?

To live new experiences, open your mind, share your own culture and learn from others and most important, to see my loved ones!

Maria Paula Bozoklian was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and moved to Cleveland in December 2000. She has been named Ambassador for Argentines in Cleveland by Cleveland People. She is the co founder of the Yahoo group called Argentinos en Cleveland. She also created the Facebook group with the same name that has more than 135 members. Maria has organized events to reunite people from Argentina since moving to the USA.

She was a journalist in Argentina and worked in different newspapers and local radios for six years. Since coming to the US she changed careers and for the last 15 years she has assisted people in obtaining employment, providing training and coaching.

She is currently a Bilingual Retention Specialist at El Barrio/ The Centers for Families and Children. She is working there since 2010. Before that opportunity, Maria was an Employment and Training Coordinator at Catholic Charities Services for almost six years. She is fluent in Spanish and English and two years ago, she graduated from the Hispanic Alliance Leadership Development Initiative program (HALDI). She is also a former Secretary Board Member of Young Latino Network, an organization that empowers the Latino community through leadership development and civic engagement.

She received the Workforce and Economic Development Award at the Hispanic Convention 2013 and she is also a Heart, Hands and Hope Award recipient from Catholic Charities. Working as Bilingual Poll Worker, she also received an Excellence in Service Award from Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.

Maria is married to a Cleveland born but raised in Argentina gentleman named John Richard Bozoklian. She moved to the US looking for better opportunities and to explore a new life with her husband. They are blessed with their first baby after being married for 15 years: Landon John Bozoklian born last April 2016.

When she decided to move to Cleveland, it was not easy to leave her family and friends but she is grateful to this country which welcomed them with new opportunities of growth.