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I Learn Library

A human library inspired by the stories in the film

Sowing victories

By Ashly   |   From : Guatemala  |   School : International High School at Langley Park

 My life changed at the moment I came to the United States of America on February 12, 2017. In the four years I have lived in the U.S. I have accomplished many things I never thought I would. Learning a new language is one of the most difficult things for people who come to this country. Many people migrate even though they do not know how to speak English, they still want to succeed. In my situation, the major challenge was thinking that I wouldn’t learn English as fast as I did since being able to speak, read, and write in English would be everything to succeed. 

I was born in a family where my parents didn’t have the opportunity to have an education, how to write, read or even know how things worked. The people from the past suffered a lot in different ways. They had to take care of their children. They had to find out a way on how to keep going and I love the fact that my parents were always looking for a way to succeed even though opportunities were something they couldn’t afford or find. My two brothers came to the United States in hopes of  finding a better life and a better job in order to send money to my parents so the rest of us would have something to eat on our plate. My older siblings didn’t go to school because they had to work and help my parents. Guatemala’s conditions sometimes are not the best. Guatemala is not a rich country, but most of the time, people live humbly from the land. Due to my parents and siblings’ sacrifice, I now have the opportunity to study. I had, I have, and I will have to continue taking advantage of the opportunity to study. That opportunity that my siblings could have had one day, but due to the conditions at that time, they had to “JUST KEEP GOING”. 

I was doing pretty good in school before arriving in the United States but moving meant I had to learn a new language. We left the rest of our family behind with shattered hope while the rest of us went to a new country that none of us knew. We had the hope that someday we would see our family again. Arriving here was not easy, specifically because we didn’t know how things worked. We knew how living in Guatemala was because we were living in that beautiful country for almost our whole life. Now, how would living in the United States of America be? 

After living in this country for a few weeks we started to get used to it. The school year was about to be over when I arrived. The process of enrolling me was delayed. This means that I was going to be in school for about one month. My sister started the process of enrollment. I attended my first middle school in September, 2017, at Nicholas Orem Middle School. I didn’t have an idea of how grading and school schedules worked. Some of my teachers knew Spanish which made my first experience in America more comfortable because they explained the assignments in my native language. I understood conversations and the meaning of words because I was a newcomer who had an ESOL class. Practicing and learning different words were grains of sand I was adding to my English learning improvement. The fact that some of my siblings didn’t study inspires me to always be responsible and to be on the edge of always getting straight A’s. I don’t want to disappoint them because I want them to be proud of me. Something they always tell me is “Keep going until you meet your goals”. Being in middle school brought me so many memories that I can never forget. I earned many certificates and medals and I consider these accomplishments as my family’s accomplishments. 

The time has come to start a new stage and enroll in a new school. My Reading Language Arts teacher told me about an International High School that was located near my home. Every day I realized how the former students visited the teachers and told them about the wonderful experiences of their daily life in that school. I was enthusiastic to start looking for more information about the famous International High School. Well I always think that when something is destined for you it will always come one way or another. In the month of February 2020, the people who provided more information came to talk about the school. “It was that moment or never.” I applied and after a few days and weeks I finally was told  that I had been accepted. I had all the required documents and I was more than ready to go meet the International school. Now it was the time for me to show that I had to face a new challenge and had to be too brave to overcome it. I asked Ms. Obando questions like when the school year will start and how to get a computer because she is the school register at International High School at Langley Park.  Due to her knowledge, I had answers to my doubts. 

The year started and it has been a great few months so far. The first days were a bit confusing because Distance Learning was completely new for me. Of course I had many doubts about it. I was prehensive for the first days but I had to get used to it and meet my teachers. A few years ago, I was living in Guatemala pursuing my education, not sure if I would succeed in all my goals. Today in America, even during a pandemic, I have good grades, I coach students, I tutor students in math with assignments I have already done, I translate to those students who recently arrived to this country. Meanwhile, I am attending a program called “I Learn America” in which we learn from others, we are able to interact and relate with people from different states. I have had the opportunity to earn community service hours even in times of COVID. I am just a freshman and I have gathered more than 24 hours of community service. To demonstrate my encouragement I know that I am able to accomplish much more. 

From the beginning, I chose the International High School at Langley Park because I knew they would help me to learn more English and be successful. My next big goal is to test out of ESOL. After that, I want to earn a scholarship. Everytime I accomplish something I say to myself  “NO FUE FÁCIL PERO LO LOGRE”. “IT WAS NOT EASY BUT I ACCOMPLISH IT”. I definitely want to encourage those students who are doubting themselves and let them know that everyone has that ability to accomplish what they set out to do because the only limits in this life are the ones you make. Life is about making mistakes and learning from them. Although, you might be going through hard times you always need to think positively as a result of knowing that nobody else can achieve what you achieve. Thank you! 

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