As a little girl, I had always dreamed of coming to the United States of America, a dream which was shared by many others from my home country of Honduras. One of biggest dreams was learning English, I was always interested of what foreigners say to each other and then imagining myself speaking it. As I was growing up, my uncle use to have some cassettes that would teach him English. Since he was learning to speak the English language I was very curious to learn too. Most of the afternoons we would sit down with a notebook and pencil to write down basic words. I only learned how to say “how are you doing?” or “my name is Cindy.” but throughout elementary school I was placed in an English class that teaches low level conversations and the specific names of nouns. I’m from Honduras, it’s located in Central America between south america and north america.
At the age of 12, I left the country with my grandmother and one cousin. I’ll say it was tough for us to leave family behind but it was for the best to seek for a better future. I crossed two countries, Guatemala and Mexico; but during that time I’ve only dreamed of being in the United States of America. Trying new things and of course speaking another language was a main goal . The moment I stepped into the United States of America things were already different such as; new people, new places, and new language. People would talk to me and I just stand there thinking I don’t know what are they saying and don’t know how to even respond . My sisters were the first ones to teach to me how to speak English. We would point out at things and they’ll tell me what it was, also we would read low level books, like kindergarten books, let’s not forget about television shows or music.
.When I started going to school, kids would start speaking to me and my only answer was “no English” for them it was interesting to have someone in their class who didn’t speak English, it was also interesting for the teachers. I was placed in low intermediate English classes where most of my learning was spent in reading, writing, and using apps. I also had assigned an English translator, she would translate everything and I do the work. She was by my side in most of my classes and sometimes when she missed a day I would get scared because she was my only helper at that time and by myself i’ll think i couldn’t do it alone. Throughout time, I made a couple of friends who were a big help too. They will only speak English to each other and leave me with no choice but other than start speaking. They spoke English because they wanted me to to learn and leave my Spanish behind for a minute. At first I was afraid to speak, the only thought that came to my mind was “ what if they laugh at me” having an accent wasn’t much of a big deal , mispronouncing was my fear. Each day i would write or keep repeating a new word, my friends start speaking to me and i had to answer to what they were saying, after all I felt a little confidence and knew it was time for me to speak the English language.
After weeks I’ll go home and start speaking to my sisters they were impressed of what little I knew, when we’ll go to the supermarket and my mom needed help at translating I would go and help her, with my accent the employers understood what i was trying to say. My sister would get happy that she knew I was starting to leave fear behind for me to start communicating with people. Once a week my English teacher she assigned a book for me to read and I start writing summaries, she’ll tell me I was improving and was proud of me for not giving up. Even though it was a dream of mine I also knew I could start helping those who don’t speak the language. Months passed by, it was the start for me to not need the help of a translator.
I was also starting to do good in school, but what was really improving was communication. Teachers, staff, and even students understood a little of what I was saying; I didn’t need help of my friends to ask or answer for me. When my first year of high school, I knew it was going to be different, even though some kids from middle school were in the same school or classmates. I was still in low-level intermediate English due to the state exams which determined if my English level was good or not. It didn’t mean I knew nothing, it was just the way the exams are made, tough, for a beginner. In high school there was more kids, big kids, and because high standards. I still tried to improve my English. At home I would speak English and Spanish, it was kind of a twist but at the same time good because whatever I was trying in one i’ll just practiced the other, kind of translating to myself. There was family friends who sometimes helped me like, they talk to me in English and I had to respond to them the same way , until I felt confident enough to respond to them, but either way I liked talking to them because I felt that positive and “you can do it” in me. When I mispronounce or didn’t make sense they would help me.
Going to an English church was a little frustrating because I didn’t understand what was the sermon about or people talking to me not knowing what to respond, it was nice to see Americans try to speak Spanish even if they didn’t really know any; but because I didn’t speak the language very well either I thought it was helpful and nice either way. I did make friends with some of them, for which now are like family, they’ll tell me how proud they are and impress of how I’ve come long way even in my speaking. Throughout high school my English was improving. It improved and so did my state English exam. That at some point when all the English Learners had to take the test, I said “I’m ready for this I will get out of this class and not be in English learning classes any more”. In the beginning of senior year all the english learners had to take the test, which is a test we all hope to pass so won’t have to be in intermediate classes. Few months passed by and we were eager and desperate to know who were the ones who won’t be in that class. At the end, I knew I did because a letter came to my house saying I was no longer an “English Learner” after all I was so happy and felt ready to move on do more and better. It just takes practice and a lot of confidence to achieve that goal. Until this day I feel like I need more practice, mostly in my writing, but I try not to give up and let others correct me and ask for help when it’s needed. I try and learn from mistakes, so this I know I’ll improve and get better at it.