Many students in New York City start school without speaking any English. But knowing and remembering a first language helps students to learn English and do better in school. If your first language is something other than English, practice it and don’t forget it. You’ll be glad you did! Students at I.S. 347 in Bushwick, Brooklyn wrote this essay together about learning English.

En Español

Yo vine a los Estados Unidos para tener una mejor vida y para realizar mis sueños. Mi sueño es ir a la universidad para ser una abogada. También vine para tener libertad que no pudimos tener en mi país y conectarme con el resto de mi familia aquí. Pero me siento triste por que extraño a mi familia y amigas de alla.

También yo estaba sorprendida quando vi que grande y fría era la ciudad. Me sentia rara porque yo no estaba acostumbrada al clima y yo no tenia un abrigo. Me sentia como un nadie por que yo no hablaba ingles.

Me tomo mas de uno en la escuela primaria para aprender ingles. Me sentía rara cuando yo hablaba en ingles. Las palabras no me salían. Pero ahora yo soy la traductora de la familia. Yo entiendo al doctor y a otras personas que me hablan en ingles. Ahora se mis derechos y me puedo defender. Me siento como alguien. Yo se que puedo alcanzar mis sueños.

In English

I came to the United States to have a better life and to make my dreams come true. My dream is to go to the university to become a lawyer. I also came to have freedoms that we couldn’t have in my country and to meet the rest of my family here. But I feel sad because I miss my family and friends back home. Also I was surprised when I saw how big and cold New York City was. I wasn’t used to the weather and didn’t have a coat. I felt like a nobody because I couldn’t speak English.

It took me over a year to learn English in grade school. I felt strange speaking English. The words would not come out. But now I am the translator of my family. I can understand doctors and others who speak to me in English. Now I know my rights and can defend myself. I feel like somebody. I know now I can fulfill my
dreams.

Collectively written by Evelyn Acosta, 7th Grade; Jessica Guzman, 6th Grade; Richele Hernandez, 6th Grade; Escaly Pena, 8th Grade; Paola Quezada, 8th Grade; and Shirley Vera, 8th Grade