Imagine you are asked to give a speech …
For most of us, this idea provokes at least a little anxiety. Now, imagine that what your audience wants to hear about is your life, your experiences, and your immigration story. What’s more, they want you to speak in their language—which is not your native language.
But that is exactly the challenge three brave Literacy DuPage learners accepted this August, as part of the Common Ground: Immigrant Stories series at the Indian Prairie Public Library. These courageous learners stepped up to talk about their immigrant experiences, then stayed for an open discussion with community members, answering questions and engaging in conversation.
We are thankful Literacy DuPage could take part in such a beautiful and eyeopening series. And we are so proud of our learners for sharing their stories! Read on for highlights from two of those stories.
Two Immigrant Stories
Learner Aline came to the US from Brazil in 2015 with her husband and children—a move prompted by her husband’s employer. Here’s how Aline described her introduction to America:
“It was not so easy at first, because it was different from Brazil. We didn’t have family or friends here. We did not know how to manage a house in the winter, going to an appointment and not understanding what the doctor said about my health, how to do a phone call to children’s school.”
Aline took several English classes, eventually finding a wonderful classroom-based experience at the College of DuPage. After that course, which focused on listening and speaking, Aline took her learning even further by working one-on-one with a Literacy DuPage tutor. She became so in love with the organization that she began volunteering with us, and ultimately accepted a role on our staff. Today, she is our Volunteer and New Tutor Coordinator!
Learner Natasja was a Medical Laboratory Scientist at a prestigious oncological hospital in Colombia, and her husband was a Doctor in Internal Medicine. The couple moved here in 2010, along with their two children, to pursue her husband’s dream of being a medical doctor in the United States. About her early days here, Natasja said:
“Since the moment I stepped in the United States I was worried due to the obstacles I might face in this country due to me being an immigrant, because in general immigrants will always be seen as strangers even if they obtain their citizenship.”
At last, Natasja has begun settling into a routine in the US. She is practicing her English with a Literacy DuPage tutor. She says she is “studying hard to improve my English in this wonderful country.”