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I Learn America

A human library inspired by the stories in the film

Before arriving in the USA, my life was totally different.

By Andrea Builes  |   From : Boston, MA  |   School : East Boston High School

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My name is Andrea Builes. I am 16 years old and I am from Medellin, Colombia. I arrived in the United States when I was only 12 years old.

Before arriving in the United States, my life was totally different. I spoke only one language, Spanish, and I studied in a high school. I studied in the morning and in the afternoon.
I decided to come to this country to have a good future, to learn other languages, to come back and see my sister, who is like my mother. One of the big reasons I came to the United States was to meet my father whom I had not seen for 12 years. When I arrived in the United States on January 17, 2014 in the evening hours, I was very nervous because I did not know what reaction my father would have after 12 years. He left when I was a year old. When I saw my sister I was full of so much happiness, I did not know whether to cry or shout.

I spent two years learning a new language, English. The months passed and I arrived at my worst moment in my life. At the beginning, I thought it was the best but it was the opposite. They took the visa from my mother. At that moment I realized that they ripped my life apart. I did not know how to react and my days were lonely and full of sorrows. I have the strength to get ahead to see my mother soon. I do not show my sadness because I do not want to show it. I always keep myself happy. At the time of those sad moments, I found a happiness in my life. It was when my nephew was born.

I arrived at the worst moment of my life because this country has given me a hard time without my mother, learning a new language, meeting people from other countries and new friends. But as time goes by, one gets accustomed to the changes that this country has and the opportunities it can give us. I have always liked to help young people who are addicted to drugs and want to leave. I like to support those people very much because in my own experience, I know it is hard. That will be my first goal when I finish high school.