konnichiwa ~ al salaam a’alaykum ~ mydokumbay ~ tibuy ~ preevyit ~ jambo ~ni hao ~ hola ~ dananish ~ salamnish ~ bonjeur ~ chào bạn ~ mbote ~ yambu ~ habari ~ is ka warren ~ sampurasun ~ min-ga-la-ba ~ sannu
Every day I hear “Hello” in a dozen or more different languages because I have the privilege and honor to work with many students from many different countries. One of the questions I get asked the most is, “Where do your students come from?” This is a very difficult question to answer because my students don’t just come from a “place,” but they come from a story, they come from a dream, and they are still working towards that dream.
To help answer this question, some of my lit 3 students wrote about their “stories.”
I’m from Bhutan. My job in my country was a farmer. I feel my country is small but beautiful. The government is not good, but the country is a beautiful place! My country has fighting.
I came to America for safety and freedom. I came to America by plane. I left the refugee camp three years [ago]. I went to first Idaho. I bought a ticket and went to Sioux Falls.
I will go to learn English before I get a job. My dream is to get citizenship. I felt nervous [when I first came to America]. I feel good now. I like best [that] my life is safe.
I’m from Ethiopia. I like Ethiopia, but there are problems. I lived in my country for 19 years. I had family in America. I came to America on Oct. 2, 2013. I came on a plane. I came with one family member.
I left my country two years ago. I came first to Washington, D.C. and I flew to Sioux Falls. I came to Sioux Falls by plane.
In America I will get a job. My dream is I will be happy. At first I felt not good in America. Now I feel good. I like people because they are nice. I like my job.
I am from Guatemala. A friend drove me to America. I don’t like to live in Guatemala because too much fighting.
[Now in America] I want to help my family. I want to build my house. I was so sad [when I first came to America]. I am happy [now] because I live with my brothers. I like work. I like Inglish class. Inglish is important in America.
As we prepare for this holiday season, let us remember our own roots. We are the great-grandsons and grand-daughters of hopes and dreams. We are the products of determination and hard work. Today’s refugees and immigrants are full of the same hopes and dreams, the same determination to live a better, safer life.
Written by Heather Glidewell, ESL Instructor