The students stream into the Miami classroom after a long day at work as spa assistants, cable installers, and home health aides. They whip out their notebooks for a crash refresher course in biochemistry, anatomy and microbiology. Many of them, already sporting graying hair, are long past the years when they expected to be scribbling furiously into a students' notebook.
They are Cuban doctors, trying to make their way in a new country.
''I was a professor, teaching medical school in Cuba, so it feels strange to be on the other side of that now,'' said Daya, 35, who asked that her full name not be used for fear of reprisals against the family she left behind in Cuba. "We feel lucky, but it's difficult to have to work so hard just to get back to what you were.''
Daya is among the dozens of Cuban medical professionals who have come to Miami after defecting from Cuban medical missions in Venezuela.
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