When Different Languages Collide

Students from across the world reveal their struggles and experiences learning English  

Cheshta Arora

Staff Writer

    English is a language that is used worldwide. However, because different regions have varying dialects, learning to communicate with others can be difficult.

    Whether they are from Central Asia or the coasts of Central America, students from all over the world to find a good future. It is often difficult for them to adapt to a new way of English so instantly.

     “I believe [that] life [in America] is very fast as compared to the country where I came from. Everything is different including the people, the culture, the diversity. But yes, the people here are very nice and cooperative too, ” an immigrant student from India, Karanpreet Singh (11) said.

    ELD has helped many students develop English language skills which meet American standards. The students from other countries can get self-conscious about how they will communicate with other people and sometimes fear saying something wrong as it might lead them to being teased.   

    “ I came here [America] like 7 months ago and got enrolled in middle school. I was not able to understand anything because, in my country, we used to study math, science, and everything in our own native language, Farsi. Also, the way we spoke English was totally different. I was afraid to ask questions,” said Miriam (9)

    Moving from one country to another and leaving behind family and friends for a better future can lead to loneliness. There are two major factors. Firstly the people are totally new to you and secondly, the form of communication is also different.

    “I came here in 2015, alone [without family]. I was really scared to talk to people around me. For the first few months, I felt some regret of coming to United States,” Garry Singh , a past  ELD student.

    Ms. Conlon is one of American’s ELD teachers. She has been teaching at American High School for the past four years. She taught ELD for 3 years. In her first year at American High she used to teach English 11CP and English 12. She feels that the main differences she sees with ELD students are their accent and vocabulary.

    “For improving the listening and speaking skills, I give my students many podcasts to practice listening [to] and assignments to do presentations, ” Ms. Conlon (ELD teacher) said.

    Sukhjeet is a past ELD student who is now in regular CP English. Through ELD, she was able to improve her vocabulary and accent a lot. When she came here, she struggled a lot with her English. But as the time passed, she worked hard. Now she has English 12 and she feels like she has been speaking English from the start. English no longer feels like a second language to her.

    “I worked a lot with [my] English. It was very difficult for me to work on it. But yes, my ELD teachers helped me a lot to come this point where I can confidently speak English with everyone without any problems and hesitation.” Sukhjeet khaira (12) said.

    Simran is another past ELD student who has graduated and now , attends Ohlone College. Her experience with ELD was very helpful. She graduated last year, and had ELD 2. She is from a family where her parents speak their own native language, Hindi. She diligently practiced her English and, luckily, has come far enough to be able to speak confidently.

    “My parents are really happy with my improvement, and even I [am] much more confident about speaking in English to different people.” Simran said.  

 

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