New Lives, New Languages

Isaac Israel Huaypuna, Staff Writer

Every year, CHS gets a huge amount of new students, with a small number of them being new to the United States. Most of those new students don’t know English as well as most students in CHS, which is where ESL comes in. ESL teaches their students the same thing English-speaking students learn in class, except the teachers who teach ESL students are prepared to work with students who know little to nothing about English. They teach the students math, reading and writing, but at the same time, teach them English, which can be a hassle for the teachers. Another problem for those students is that they don’t know the CHS layout, so they most likely don’t know where they’re going. However,  CHS has a program that is made to solve such a problem. Culture to Culture Club is a club that’s made to help these students who are not from the U.S.


The students who are part of the club are multilingual and understand other languages, such as Spanish, Arabic, Pashto, and some African dialects, and more. They help students who don’t understand English very well with school work and understanding the school layout, and sometimes, they also help them with their new lives here in America. KTR interviewed a couple of ESL students about their experiences living in a foreign country, and how their current lives here in the United States are going. 


One of the students interviewed is the only Nicaraguan here in CHS. He lived in Nueva Segovia, Nicaragua. He had a decent livinghood and lived with his two brothers, sister, mother, and ten cousins. Eventually, his family decided to move to the U.S in hopes of a better life. He has now been here for seventeen months, living with one of his brothers and mother, making better money than they did back in Nicaragua, and are doing very well for themselves. Here at CHS, he has ESL and has learned a decent amount of English from it. After school, he hopes to be a chef. 


Another student who moved here for a better life came from Honduras. His family had a middle class livelihood. He lived in Santa Barbara with his mother, father, and two brothers. Eventually, he moved to the U.S for a better life and has been living here with father and one of his brothers for about three and a half years. Here at CHS, he has been learning a lot more English and making new friends who he can relate to. He plans on going back to his home country one day and possibly going to college.


However not all students come here for just a better life. Recently the U.S has been getting many immigrants from Afghanistan due to the Taliban taking over and Charlottesville is no exception. CHS has been getting new students from the Middle East and one such student from Afghanistan allowed us to interview her. She lived in Afghanistan with her mother, father, uncle, three sisters, and five brothers. She was living a decent livelihood until the Taliban took over Afghanistan and she had to move out of Afghanistan. Now she has been living here in the U.S for a year and currently lives with her siblings and parents. She goes to CHS to attend ESL classes and plans on becoming a nurse after high school.


The stories and lives that have been told in this article are but a few of the ESL students that attend at CHS everyday. It is important to know and understand where many of us come from. Even if we don’t speak the same language. We can help and make their new lives easier for them. If you are interested in helping, especially if you fluently speak another language, then you can contact Ms.Menfi or Ms.Vasquez for more information on joining Culture to Culture Club.