Born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, Rebecca Trachtenberg and her family moved to Colombia when Rebecca was just a teenager because of the unrest in her home country. This is where she attended high school and where she began to consider life outside of South America. Eventually though, she’d find herself immersed in a different culture in nyc.

Photo by @collado.17

This was not Rebecca’s first experience of living abroad. Her parents encouraged her to watch a lot of American TV shows and listen to American music during her childhood. This exposure helped her learn conversational English and adopt a more neutral accent than that of her peers. She also knew that learning English would open doors in the future.

Driven by the prospect of opportunity abroad, Rebecca knew she was in a good position when it came time to take the TOEFL® test. It was intensive; she remembers classes running at least three or four times per week. Though she could understand the language based on the television programs she’d seen, she did not understand the grammar very well.

After completing the preparation activities and taking the TOEFL test, she felt much more confident that the English preparation resources had helped fill in the gaps in her knowledge.

She applied, was accepted, and enrolled at Florida State University, where she has since graduated with degrees in both Psychology and Art History. She now works as the editor of a lifestyle magazine and lives in New York City.

Photo by @craigsbeds

When she reflects on the past few years, she remembers deciding to take the TOEFL test because she knew it would provide opportunities she did not have access to in either Venezuela or Colombia — namely, the opportunity to go to college.

She credits the TOEFL test for where she is now — a college graduate, and a New York resident. The language skills imparted by the test preparation process have allowed her to adjust to life in the States, and supported her in a writing-based profession where she must regularly exercise her command of the English language.

Rebecca’s goal is to break into software development and eventually start her own tech company. She advises anyone who is in a similar position as she was to take the TOEFL test to set yourself up for career success.

Want to hear more about how the TOEFL test changes lives? Click here! Learn more about the diversity of culture in nyc be sure to check out Around the World in New York: A Neighborhood Guide.