I Learn Library

A human library inspired by the stories in the film

keep trying until you have accomplished what you have in mind

By Ronal  |   From : The Bronx  |   School : MACS H.S.


The Dominican Republic is one of the most beautiful countries in Latin America. I was born on June 22, 1998 in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. One thing I miss about my country is the people. They were always dancing and listening to bachata, dembow, and merengue. The other thing that I miss about my country is the food. I miss the rice with chicken and beans. I miss the smell of the chicken roasting in the pot. These memories take me back to when I was a child. Lastly, I miss when it rained and people would take a bath in the rain. This is one of my favorite memories because it takes me back to when I used to do that with my friends. The national language of the Dominican Republic is Spanish. The city is beautiful and the beaches are cute. The blue water, the warm sand, and the bright sun made it look like a paradise. The houses there were colorful. You would see animals on the streets like dogs and cats. I used to live with my family including my mom, dad, sister, brother, and grandparents. I was happy hen I was young because I didn’t have to worry about been different nd have my family and my friends always were there.


When my mom told me the news that we were coming to United States, I was playing baseball with my friends in the street. My emotions felt crazy like the joker from Batman. Part of me was joyful because I was coming to New York, the most famous city in world. The other part of me felt despair because I was leaving my country and part of my family and friends behind. My family and I prepared to come to United States by packing our bags. I still remember when we said goodbye to our friends and family. We hugged and kissed and they told me to behave myself and to not forget about them. Something sad happened before I immigrated to the United States: my great-grandmother died at the age of 85 just a few months before I immigrated to the United States.

The Crossing

I left the Dominican Republic to go to the United States on December 25, 2010 with part of my family. I remember waking up early in the morning, taking a shower, and putting my clothes on to go to the airport. Another thing I remember is that I was curious to see the United States. I wondered if the city was going to be like in the movies with no garbage on the streets. I still remember this because it was a new start for my family. I wondered what I was going to do in New York when people asked me questions because I did not know the language. I have lived in the Bronx for almost five years now. I’m happy that I immigrated to the United States because it gave me the opportunity to learn a new language. What would you do, take the opportunity or just say no? My crossing was like a surprise because I had no idea what the people, the culture, and the city would be like. I had the opportunity to learn a new language as well as to get to know part of my mom’s family, whom I didn’t know before I came to the United States.

Into Another Land

When I first came to the United States, I arrived at John F. Kennedy airport. When I first saw the airport, my first thought was if the airport is this big the city must be big. I started thinking about what I would do if people asked me any questions because I didn’t speak any English. I heard people speaking other languages and saw murals on the walls of the airport. I noticed that nothing was the same; there were so many different cultures and languages. I remember something funny happened at the airport: one of the workers told to make a line. I looked at him like what the hell are you telling me to do. He looked at me and asked me if I spoke English. I moved my head from one side to another to say no.

A New Life

When I immigrated to the United States, I first went to the Bronx, around 3rd Avenue, where my grandma’s apartment was on the 18th floor. I would say my new home looked different from my old house. The new house looked like a box. It was different in many ways. The new house was an apartment. The temperature was colder. I felt welcome in the house and happy. I did like the new house because it was better than what I expected. On the first day of school, I was lonely ecause it was a new beginning for me. The school was big. I didn’t know anybody and had no friends. I didn’t know where my classes were. The teachers also didn’t know me and started asking questions. I respond, “No English, sorry.” I found the school schedule to be too long, so I decided to say I was sick and go home early. They called my mom and she picked me up from school. When I got home, my aunt asked what was wrong with me. I said, “Nothing, I was faking it,” and we started laughing.

Shade and Light

I have noticed a lot of changes since I moved to the United States. I became more responsible and changed my point of view. I learned that if you want something, you have to work hard for it. One thing positive about moving to the United States was that I was going to get a better education and learn another language. The negative thing was that I left my father and grandma in the Dominican Republic. I am happy that I moved to the United States because I will have a better future and be a bilingual person. One thing that I think people can learn from my story is that it does not matter if you don’t succeed at first, keep trying until you have accomplished what you have in mind.

The students at MACS High School in the Bronx have been exchanging their stories with students at Lycee Jacques Brel in Courneuve, France.

Ronal and his classmate: Khaled, made a video to present their school to the students in France.  (See Ronal and Khaled )

The students in France, then replied with comments and introductions of their own (see comments below)

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