Just a little girl in a complete different world..
New beginnings can be really challenging in some circumstances especially for a 5-year-old. Arriving into a whole new world can be really exciting then facing reality was one of the hardest things I had to do at a very young age.
It was waking up to an alarm clock and mum not being next to me as she had already left for work. Going into school, looking around and not being able to make friends, the language barrier was something hard to face as it made me feel like I was a strange creature to them. I would go home every afternoon to lie in bed, cry and just beg mum to go back to Spain. It was just her and me so I guess it made this big step so much harder as I missed my dad and other family members that had stayed in Spain.
After some time, a girl approached me, I remember sitting down at a bench and the girl just said in Spanish ‘Are you alright?’ That day I felt so happy because I used to be very talkative but I was only able to communicate in Spanish so it was hard until the girl came up to me and she really did cause some sort of relieve in me as I knew I wasn’t the only one who spoke Spanish. From that day she helped me so much and taught me how to speak English. Sadly, just as I was getting comfortable at this school, we had to move out of the place we were staying at and this meant changing school.
At that time I thought changing schools would be nice and nothing new but I struggled as I began my new primary school. I knew a bit of English so it was a bit easier but I still struggled to make friends and feel comfortable in this new environment.
A few months went past and I had made friends, I had finally settled in quite well and was able to be very comfortable with the language. I had made friends that spoke Spanish but after a while without noticing I had friends that spoke English and I was able to communicate very good with them. I was also helping kids that were new to the school and they only spoke Spanish to settle in, it was something I loved doing as I had gone through that horrible time where I felt so different to others and I didn’t want anyone to feel like that.
I wasn’t only helping kids but family members and close friends translating paper work, following them places to help them out and even teaching them some English so that it would be a bit easier for them to communicate.
Going into secondary was much easier as I was so much more confident, I had no problem with starting at a new place apart from making friends, which I made very quick. I was also told that there was a teacher who supported EAL students and when I met her, I knew she was someone very special. She’s so dedicated to helping kids that don’t know English learn the language, support them throughout their secondary school journey and even after when they aren’t there anymore, as she has done for me.
Lately I have been receiving a lot of recognition for what I used to do and till this day I still to do even if it’s something very small I’ll try help anyone.
This experience has made me realise that if you keep pushing, you will reach all your goals. I will always fight for my Latin American community and I would like my story to be a message to foreign people struggling with settling in a society by letting them know they are not alone, that they are capable to learn English and even if it takes months or even years it doesn’t matter, cause at the end of the day we will all able to say “WE’VE DONE IT”.