“It is my dream to one day improve my English and to start writing blogs and short stories.”

September 25, 2019 at 9:30 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on “It is my dream to one day improve my English and to start writing blogs and short stories.”

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Happy first week of class! At the beginning of the new semester, we would like to share Smita’s writing about English and her academic experiences with you. In this story, she writes about how learning English reminds her of the old days when she conducted researches without internet, and tells us how important English is to open doors for communicating with other scientists academically.

“English is a known language for me. I was introduced to English from my childhood. I was studying in a private school. I was learning English as a second language. Later I moved to government school. I was surprised they were introducing English from the very beginning in 6th grade. As a child, I was happy because I was thinking that I would get the best marks In English. But that was my downfall because later I realized that whatever I knew, I started to forget. I was learning English but my family atmosphere was very different. We used our mother language at home and nobody spoke English – not my friends or relatives. For learning any language the best thing you can do is create an environment for learning. For me, this was missing. At the time, I was not aware of the importance of language. I completed my Bachelor of Science degree. Everything was running smoothly. When I started the master’s program, it was very challenging for me. There was no internet or Google to search for things. It was not popular at that time. I needed more study materials to study and to make notes. In the field of science research, researchers perform and add information to books every year. This research is done by different scientists from different countries. Lots of books are written in English so I needed to be able to take good notes. I needed to read more books that were written in English. This time was very challenging for me. I tried my best but after getting married I didn’t get time to work on the English language so it was almost forgotten when I moved to the USA. I now realize it is time to learn and work on the language for the future. I joined an English speaking course [with LCNV] at James Lee Community Center in September and I realized it was very helpful for me to understand the small mistakes I always made. Now I am doing writing classes. This is also helpful for focusing on the writing skills and grammar mistakes. It is very important to understand grammar completely if you are writing something. Before joining the class, whenever I wrote a paragraph or Article in English, I was first thinking in Hindi (my mother tongue) and then converting into English. Now I am starting to think in English before I write. This is my biggest achievement. My teacher, Mrs. Annette, is very nice and cooperative. My assistant teacher, Mrs. Pat, is also very helpful. I love to learn the way they are teaching. Mrs. Annette always encourages us to write something. It doesn’t matter what you are writing. You should write every day to improve your writing skills. I want to give thanks to my teachers for supporting me and encouraging me. It is my dream to one day improve my English and to start writing blogs and short stories. Thanks for reading my essay.”

“When I was back home I heard so many things about the United States.”

September 18, 2019 at 9:30 AM | Posted in Student Stories | Comments Off on “When I was back home I heard so many things about the United States.”

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This week, we would like to share Dagnachew’s words on what America means to him and his experiences living here in this community. From his interactions with classmates, we can truly see how learning English is helping people with different backgrounds and languages to connect with each other, and how our students are benefiting from this diversified community.

“When I was back home I heard so many things about the United States. Like America is for everyone and is the land of opportunity and I confirmed that I saw it in practice.

Since taking English class, I have improved my skill of communication with other people. As we know, that when we learn English in the classroom, we are talking to each other with our classmates. We come from every corner of the world. So we have different languages and accents. Due to this, there was a minor problem to understand each other. This class is very helpful for our daily life in the United States. Finally I would like to express my appreciation for our teachers: Margaret, Laura, Krista, and Wendy.”

If you like Dagnachew’s story and would like to support LCNV’s mission, start volunteering with us or make a donation today!

“We know it’s something we need to do to make them love reading,” says Agus, a Literacy Activist in Indonesia

September 11, 2019 at 9:30 AM | Posted in Featured Interview | 2 Comments

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Last week, LCNV had a special guest in our office, Agus. Selected by American Indonesian Exchange Foundation (AMINEF) / Fulbright Indonesia, Agus is a  Media and Public Relations student at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), but more notably, he is an activist in Indonesia promoting the literacy level of the general public. Agus was introduced to LCNV by our librarian, Bruce. Bruce met Agus from one of his volunteer positions, and once Bruce learned about Agus’ effort in improving the literacy level in Indonesia, he excitedly brought him into the office of LCNV.

Growing up in poverty and exposed to a variety of hardships, Agus likes to be involved in the community, and assist people in bringing positive changes to their lives. Once he realized that the low literacy level is a concern in certain areas of his country and people lack the passion for reading, Agus was determined to change that with his friends and started bringing books to the communities – village by village, town by town. “I am trying to build up small communities and teach people how to read,” Agus states. He is a permanent volunteer for Backpack Library, a project funded by his friend Ziadah. For rural areas where the road condition is bad and people have very limited access to the outside world, Agus and his friends ride motorcycles to the communities and bring books to them in backpacks. Agus also has a small library in his home, where he teaches 5-12 year old children English, and encourages them to form the habit of reading. Apart from his own projects, Agus is teaching at Peduli Anank Foundation, a shelter in Indonesia for underprivileged children. At the foundation, he teaches a 3rd Grade Class and traditional dance to children who cannot afford to go to school.

 

Left: Agus gving a lecture to build awareness of protecting the environmet PC: Edi Wiranata
Right: Agus reading with a child at Backpacking Library Project PC: Ziadah

“It is something that we have to do for our community. We care about our people, and we know it’s something we need to do for making them love reading,” says Agus, “I was born in low economic level and have been aided with a scholarship from elementary school to where I am now – so I understand the difficulties they face and can feel what they are going through in the process of learning.”

While conducting these projects, Agus and his friends face many difficulties, such as seeking donations, going through the long, enduring process of regulations, and explaining to people about what they do. “Sometimes people don’t understand what we are doing – they come to us and ask, ‘why are you here? Do you have money to give us?’  they think for doing  this work we come with a lot of money,” says Agus, “but there’s only one in a hundred of people who would say that. There are so many more moments I enjoyed throughout that process. I enjoy talking with them about their problems and solve them together with the community.” Once after Agus assisted a community, the community kept doing the activities and internalized it as a part of their habits.  “That made me feel very, very proud and fulfilled,” says Agus.

Agus’ story is an inspiration to many of us and echoes with the core of LCNV. By sharing his story, we hope to motivate more people who have a similar goal to improve their communities. As Agus says, “I want to emphasize that we live in a community. We have many problems, and only we can solve them.”

Kyoko’s Dedication

September 4, 2019 at 9:30 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Kyoko’s Dedication

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Happy September! Hope that everyone had a great long-weekend. Registration for LCNV’s fall semester continues this week – we look forward to seeing you at one of our sign-up events! This week, we would like to share Kyoko’s story with you. Kyoko is a student with strong dedication and clear goals, and her diligence is rewarded with fruitful results. At LCNV, we are proud to see her growth from a beginning-level learner to an English speaker with greater confidence and more opportunities. She wrote about her learning experience in the essay below:

Learning English is the one and only tool for connecting with people in the whole world. And it enriches my life too. When I came to America, I was shocked at everything. I didn’t have any idea how I should live in America. I didn’t understand English, I had no friends, and I didn’t want to go anywhere. I can’t tell you how nervous I was.

First of all, my husband asked me to go to the English classes. Fortunately, I found out about LCNV easily on the Internet. I’ve been learning English here for two years. I’ve met a lot of classmates since starting class. I really enjoy the classes. Course content is about basic American life. From the textbooks we learn how to open a bank account, rent a home, get a new job, about health, and many useful topics for living in America. Now, after two years of taking classes, I can take care of myself. I don’t feel fear when going shopping. I have to learn more and more English and want to continue without end. I still have many weak points in listening, pronunciation, vocabulary and small conversation.

Finally, by learning English, I can communicate with people, make friends, and I will get a new job. Those are my objectives. I’m happy learning English with my classmates, and I’m grateful for the teacher’s kindness.

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