high school, has more than half her life
ahead of her.
While the adjustment is demanding
for the entire family, the Sirotas say their
daughter has the most to gain, and Svet-
lana herself knows opportunities await
her. "All I have to do is try," she said.
When the Sirotas left their hometown
of Odessa, they packed six large cases
with their clothes, dishes, towels and
books. Everything else was sold.
"I don't know why we brought books,"
"I'll never be clearly
— Svetlana Sirota
Mr. Sirota said. "We don't even read
Now they live in a modestly furnished
Svetlana attended the Sally Allen
Alexander Bais Yaacov School for Girls,
but, she said, a Jewish day school was
not for her. After six months, she
Svetlana Sirota prepares to take college entrance
exams. Ultimately, she wants to go to law school.
Mr. Sirota leaves for work at the crack of dawn. He
and his wife share a car, but she has the day off.
transferred to Southfield Lathrup.
The teen, who maintains an A aver-
age, wants to go to Wayne State Uni-
versity and ultimately pursue a career
in immigration law or international law.
Svetlana has a summer job, and dur-
ing the school year she works two days
a week. She even saved enough money
to buy herself a used car, while putting
away funds for college.
Since coming to America, Svetlana has
made several close friends, mostly teens
from the former Soviet Union.
"Something unites us," said Svetlana,
who often introduces herself as "Lana"
so people can easily pronounce her name.
"We need each other to talk to, to go out
with and have fun.
"Some Americans are willing to get to
know Russians, but it depends on our in-
terests," she said.
Although her parents know few peo-
ple here, Svetlana's grandparents and
her uncle and his family live nearby.
Svetlana, who quickly admits the tran-
sition to the United States has been eas-
ier on her than her parents, said she is
a very different person than she was be-
fore she came here.
"Really, my whole personality has
changed," she said. "Pm a much stronger