Você está na página 1de 11

A Collection of Success Stories

Humans of ESOL
Inspired by the Number One New York Times Bestseller,
Humans of New York

Megumi Fukuzawa
About the Author: Megumi Fukuzawa, 18
Megumi Fukuzawa is a senior at Centennial High School and is enrolled in the G/T Intern/Mentor
program ​which allows students to explore their desired career fields through internships and
research. She interns under the direction of Kristin Lilly at Foreign-Born Information and Referral
Network (FIRN), a non-profit organization that helps immigrants by providing them community
resources and opportunities. At her internship, she has been able to several organize events and
fundraisers that benefit FIRN and the international community. In addition, she has been able to
assist others within the office with various tasks. Her experience at FIRN has further inspired her to
pursue her goal of becoming an immigration lawyer. Aside from her internship, she has been
researching the English as a Second Language (ESOL) program and the integration experience of
immigrants and children of immigrants.

Megumi is a child of two Japanese immigrants and was born in Boca Raton, Florida. Growing up, she
often saw the struggles her parents faced in America. Every Saturday for nine years, she attended
Japanese School which helped her achieve high levels of proficiency in both languages and serve as a
translator for her parents. She hopes to assist people like her parents by becoming a multilingual
immigration lawyer. This fall, she will be attending the University of Maryland, Baltimore County
(UMBC) as a student in the Honors College majoring in Modern Languages, Linguistics &
Intercultural Communication with a double major in either Political Science or Philosophy. She
hopes to continue onto law school upon graduating from college.
Danni Liu, 17
“My parents are both immigrants from China. Neither of them really got good at English until after
graduating university in the U.S., so naturally, after having me, they taught me Chinese first. My
English was terrible in elementary school- I was terrible at grammar, reading, etc., and the reason I
was placed in ESOL from 1st to 3rd grade was due to the fact that I could not understand passages…
My ESOL program helped me prepare me for speaking in front of the class. For example, if we were
asked to answer a question about a book, I could speak without being shy.”

“I’m a person who is super active in the community. I’m in the school orchestra, marching band, two
choirs, color guard, National Honor Society, Key Club, Film Club, Chinese Club, and so much more
outside of school. As someone raised in a family of traditional Chinese values, I feel the pressure to
do well in school. Mental health has been an issue of mine for a long time. Now that I feel happier
and healthier, I am passionate about helping others their true selves. A goal of mine is to simply find
success in spreading happiness.”
Ximena Díaz Juárez, 18
“I was born and raised in Mexico and so were my parents, and my mom and I moved here in July of
2014. I was lucky enough to go to a private bilingual school, so I started to learn English when I was
in kindergarten. I didn’t speak English at home but I would always listen to music in English and
watch TV in English… I think a really fond memory was the times I shared with my ESOL teacher. I
would have lunch with her and talk about our lives, she even became really good friends with my
mom. I’ll always be thankful for having the opportunity of having her as my teacher and for helping
me become more confident about myself.”

“Right now I’m about to graduate in a month, I will be attending college pursuing a Psychology
degree and I plan on becoming a Criminal Psychologist. In my free time, I enjoy writing, playing
guitar, listening to music, hanging out with my friends and taking long walks with my dog. I also like
drawing and reading and I’m a movie fanatic.”
Seohyun Park, 17
“​I moved to America when I was six years old and I was in ESOL from first to second grade. We
mostly came to America because of my education and my parents wanted to provide me a less
stressful environment since Korea is so tough on education. They believe that it’s for the better for us
and that if we lived in Korea we would be more stressed; it is very different from where we live…
Through the ESOL program, I made more friends. The ESOL teacher reached out to non-ESOL kids
who seemed to be more friendly and had them show us around. She focused on integration with
other students so that they have a better understanding of their ESOL peers.”

“After I graduate, I was thinking I wanted to be either be a business major or education major
because I really love kids… I think it’s because I want to pursue my passions rather than anything else.
In my free time, I tutor kids and volunteer at Korean school where I teach kids Korean on every
Friday. I really enjoy it; I think it’s the best part of the week.”
Sarah Han, 16
“I moved here a year and a half ago, and I learned English in Korea but I could not speak like this. I
was good at English in Korea, but here, people didn’t understand me when I tried to talk... I love
Chipotle, and whenever I ordered something, they didn’t get my pronunciation, so I practiced ‘Can I
get a bowl with a tortilla on the side?’ for a month and I finally got it. My friend who rides the bus
with me helped me with phrases like that… I lost a lot of my confidence because nobody understood
what I was saying... I studied a lot of grammar in Korea, so my grammar is maybe even stronger than
the grammar of native-speaking people. In ESOL, we did grammar practices a lot and it was really
easy for me, so I was actually the one teaching other people, and it brought my confidence back.”

“I don’t know what I wanna do in the future exactly now, but I really like to work at the hospital. I’m
volunteering at HCGH, and joined Pre-med club to experience more things! Since there is no dance
party like homecoming and prom (in Korea), I couldn’t even understand what those were at first. I
learned in English class in Korea, but I thought they were exaggerating. I’m really excited about prom
next year- I’m already looking for prom dresses!”
Mariah Qureshi, 17
“​I'm a child of immigrants--both of my parents are from Pakistan. At home, we spoke in four
languages, none of which were English, for the most part. Cultural differences included the standard
stereotypical differences in regards to the tradition that came with religion, "stricter" expectations as a
South Asian daughter, among other aspects… I personally didn't think my level of English proficiency
was too lacking to begin with, but I was enrolled in ESOL anyway when I started elementary school”

“I’ve never been keen on staying away from all things cautionary. When my father strictly told me to
never put my hand on a burning stove, I, out of mere curiosity, put my hand directly on that stove.
My blistered hand took weeks to heal; the whole ordeal didn’t stop my curiosity in the slightest.
However, though I’d certainly learned my lesson, I was never in any way compelled to do exactly as I
was told if it challenged my overwhelmingly persistent nature. And so, when my father strictly told
me to never roll down my car window and speak to one particular street beggar on a typical Monday
afternoon in Pakistan, I rolled down the window anyway. On the other side, I met the eyes of a girl
that appeared to be no older than six- my age, at the time. She begged me to buy her decorative
basket, to which I didn’t say anything in return, forcing my exasperated father to hand her some
coins in exchange for the basket. I promptly went home and my six-year-old self soon forgot all about
the incident. Years later, I stumbled upon a non-fiction book about a boy just like the girl I’d
encountered. His name was Iqbal Masih, and I learned of his lifestyle as a labor trafficking victim.
From then on, my curiosity only continued to grow the more and more I researched about human
trafficking. My curiosity never died down, though my research covered everything I could think of.
There was still a question of, how do we work towards effectively eradicating it? A number of
‘solutions’ come to mind, but I wanted to receive a concrete answer; one that could be put into effect
immediately. I’m 17 years old, and still in search of an ‘effective’ solution I could implement. I’m not
sure where my journey will take me, but I hope it’ll help all the Iqbal Masih’s in this world.”
Javiera Diaz-Ortiz, 18
“I was born in Chile, where I lived for the first five years of my life. In 2006, my parents and I
immigrated to the United States when my father took a new job at the National Institutes of Health
in Bethesda, Maryland. On my first day of Kindergarten in an American school, I knew how to say
only a few words in English. I had only lived in the United States for a few months, and Spanish was
the only language I spoke at home… Each year, my school organized an event called ‘International
Night’, during which all students and our families would gather to eat foods from all around the
world and watch cultural performances. For this event, My ESOL teacher would have all ESOL
students walk on stage, one by one, with flags in hand, and say their names and home countries into
the microphone. I thought this was really special and a memorable part of my ESOL experience.”

“I plan to attend a university for the next four years, and then see where life takes me. Specifically, I
plan on committing to the University of Maryland (UMD), where I will be enrolled in the College
Park Scholars: Environment, Technology, and Economy program. Even though I am currently
undecided in terms of a major, I hope being in the program at UMD will help guide me in the right
direction. I hope that after my four years at UMD, I can go to graduate school and invest my time in a
career that will in some way allow me to interact with immigrants in need of guidance.”
Jeewoo Choi, 19
“​Entering the United States from South Korea, it was just me, my mother, my sister, a few bags, and a
pickle jar filled with Korean paper currency. We had just come from Jeollanam Do, a region that is
like the Alabama of South Korea. In other words, prospects of education and advancement for
children of that region were little to none. My mother brought me and my sister to the United States
in recognition of this fact. Before arriving in the United States, my sister and I were completely
devoid of any formal education, so any Korean we learned was colloquial and of the informal
southern dialect, a type of Korean that is hard to understand for those living in cities such as Seoul… I
remember the ESOL teacher trying her best to understand my native tongue, the dialect of the
southern part of South Korea. It gave me so much joy whenever she deciphered and understand my
broken Korean. With my mother and sister being the only individuals who understood me for the
first years upon arriving in the US, the ESOL teacher’s relentless efforts in trying to understand me
made her the third individual in the US who I had a conversation with. As I felt my circle of people
with whom I was able to communicate with increase in radius, I felt less lonely in this foreign land.”

[Question: ​What are you doing now in life? (interests/career goals, goals in life, hobbies, etc.)]
“If you were to speak to me in English about ten years ago, I would probably either ignore you or
stare at you for a few seconds before moving along. Today, if you were to talk to me, I would be
capable of elaborating the intricacies, themes, and hidden motifs of ​2001: A Space Odyssey​ or how
big oil companies disrupted NASA’s research of a groundbreaking discovery regarding fuel efficiency
in stirling engines during the 1980’s. To say that I’ve come a long way would be the understatement
of the century. For college, I will be attending Stanford University in the fall. My long term goal in
life is to become the CEO of my own car company after graduating college.”
Pravas Dhakal, 16
“I am originally from Nepal and I moved to the U.S. in 2009. Nepal is a Hindu country where Nepali
is the prominent language, very different from the U.S. I attended a school in Nepal where we were
taught English, making the transition to the U.S. slightly easier. That being said, Nepali is the primary
language used at home… My memories of ESOL were always of good times shared with the people
who were on the same boat as me language-wise. I made friends and had a good teacher. I remember
once he talked about how his basement flooded, and it was an interesting concept as basements were
not really a thing in Nepal.”

“Right now, I’m in my junior year of high school. I’m working on attending a four-year college to get
a degree in Computer Science. I am also actively pursuing my goal of becoming a rapper and more.”
Jisoo Choi, 18
“​My parents and I moved from South Korea to upstate New York just before my sixth birthday. My
mother knew no English, and my father was barely proficient. I had learned the English alphabet and
very few English words in my Korean kindergarten class (things like lamp, chair, book, etc.; the words
you'd learn at the beginning of a language course). I don't think I could speak in full English
sentences at that point. Even after we moved and had to focus on language learning and getting used
to the culture, my parents never made an effort to speak English at home, rather making an
all-Korean rule at home so I wouldn't forget Korean as I picked up English… My ESOL teacher was a
really nice older woman, and the class was quite small. I remember she put an emphasis on visual
learning, which worked for the kids in my class. I was pulled out of class for ESOL, but my classroom
teacher tried to do her best to catch me up--possible because my first grade class was quite small,
about 15 students.”

“Jisoo Choi is a first-year student at Yale University studying Humanities (with a possible double
major in Music, but that's a bridge she'll cross when she gets there.) She plays the viola in ensembles
ranging from symphony orchestras to opera theatre pit ensembles, enjoys reading modernist
literature, and watches BBC's University Challenge religiously. After college, she plans to pursue a
career in the arts and humanities, particularly focusing on arts education and accessibility.”