Learning English

By Sherlin Gisselle Zuniga Martinez  |   From : Maryland, USA  |   School : International High School at Largo

Learning English was one of the hardest experiences I went through when I first came to America, but I’m glad I’ve made it out of that phase. Hold on! I’m gonna take you to where it all started. I still remember that July night of 2017, when my mom told me the news about me having to come live with her in the U.S.  “Giselle, I’m finally able to bring you here safely! I’ll tell you the details later, sweetheart.” I was so happy the moment I heard those words falling out of my mother’s mouth; it brings me so much nostalgia every time I think of it. 

The moment I got to the airport, I was really excited to see my mom. “Giselle! Hija, over here!” Those words made me cry, I was finally hearing my mom in person for the first time in years. Back to my first day of school, my mom dropped me off that day, I got inside making my way to the cafeteria where I got my schedule. I was walking down the hallways, I honestly had no idea of where I was going so I thought to myself, “What if I ask someone for help?” Even if  I tried to explain myself or ask for help, it would have been impossible for me to even try. I have felt frustrated ever since that day. I met a girl who speaks spanish and english, she helped me get to class where I met new people who speak spanish. I made new friends but also met people who discriminated against other people for not knowing english. 

One day two girls came up to me and they said something to me, I just stared at them, they laughed in my face. I was holding my tears back, I felt angry and frustrated. It got to the point where I started blaming myself for not understanding. I had friends who always helped but I felt like it wasn’t enough. It took me time to actually learn it. I kinda say it was a new chapter of my life book. Getting attached to a society who uses language to discriminate against immigrants is hard. I missed my home country (Guatemala), Over there I didn’t have to worry about all of this. Everything is so different here, So completely different how every immigrant thinks it really is. The classic “American Dream” people say, The American dream is a hard thing to achieve. 

I remember when starting to put sentences together was difficult for me. English words can be misunderstood if not pronounced correctly. It was difficult but through hard work and resilience I was able to improve. It took simple efforts such as watching TV in English instead of Spanish, talking English more often with friends, and putting more effort into my homework. 

My story ends here. I’m now in 10th grade, I know English pretty well even though I’m still learning :).

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