Amelia and her tutor, Dan

Amelia’s story: My journey into English

Amelia (pictured above with her tutor, Dan) is a student in our Essential Literacy Tutoring Program. Here, she shares her experience learning English in her own words:

My Journey Into English

My name is Amelia. I have been married to my husband, Juan Carlos, for ten years. We have been together for twenty years and we have four kids.

I am from Mexico. I was born in a town called San Antonio. It is about four hours from Mexico City. My native language is Spanish. It is the only language that I spoke until I arrived here in the U.S.A.

I did not have the opportunity to study beyond the sixth grade because I have 13 siblings and it was difficult for all of us to continue to study. Instead of studying, I decided to work. I was fourteen when I started to work to help my parents financially. I worked until I was twenty years old.

I met my husband two years later. He decided to come to the United States. I stayed in Mexico because our plan was that he was going to return in a year to get married. It didn’t happen as planned. Two years passed. I decided to come to be with him.

When I arrived in this country, the first obstacle I faced was the language. I did not understand anything when people spoke. It was a very difficult time because I arrived in North Dakota where hardly anyone spoke Spanish. I did not know how to communicate with people. Although times were hard, we stayed there for six months. Then we decided to move to Minneapolis. Minneapolis was a little better because there were more people who spoke the same language. However, we didn’t like it there because it was too big.

In 2004, we decided to come to Madison even though we did not know anyone there. When we got here, we felt more comfortable and we began to interact with more people. We needed to look for a clinic because at that time I was pregnant with my first child. We found a clinic and I had my first appointment there.

When we were there, we saw a bulletin board on the wall with information about some English programs. One of them was ‘Literacy Community’. I started the classes after my first son was born. I remember the classes were amazing, the teachers always supporting me and having a lot of patience with me to achieve my goals. Something that was important to me was that they provided childcare because at that time I already had two kids. I don’t remember how long I was studying but that’s when my Journey in English began.

I stopped attending Literacy class because I began to work. I felt confident with my English. About five years passed and I came back again to take more classes and then they gave me a tutor. That was wonderful because I practiced speaking more. I had a personal tutor for about a year. Since then, I have not been in any class because I was working and I also had two more children. It was a little difficult for me, but here I am again on my journey with English. Now, with more confidence. Thanks for all the support from literacy tutors and my family who are always supporting me.

I always say whoever wants, can, because in this country there are many opportunities to learn the language and more!!

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