“This is My First Step”

April 18, 2018 at 9:11 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

All immigrants to the United States find their own ways to acclimate to a new culture. For LCNV learner Shaheen, learning to speak English was his way to become a part of his adopted country. Like some of LCNV’s other learners, Shaheen studied English prior to coming to the U.S., but he could not speak it fluently. Through LCNV’s programs, Shaheen is able to increase his independence and begin to feel like a member of his new community.

You can support learners like Shaheen. Please consider making a donation today.

“My name is Shaheen. I am from India. I studied English in my country but I can’t speak fluently. I’ve been living in the USA for ten years. I didn’t face any difficulties with language because I work in an Indian store. At the workplace they speak in Urdu language. The rest of the [things] like shopping, doctor’s appointments, and paying bills my family members managed for me.

So I lived in the USA but I felt like I was still in India. I wanted to mentally come out of India. That is why I took the first step and I joined the English class. I want to do everything myself. I don’t want to depend on anyone. This is my first step in an English community.”

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“My Family Could Not Understand Me”

April 11, 2018 at 9:10 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Learning English is often seen as a critical step for individuals to communicate with the outside world, but what if your need for language kept you from communicating with your own family? LCNV learner Linh experienced this situation, which spurred her desire to learn English. When Linh emigrated from Vietnam, she found that her family in America used English in their daily communication. Luckily, Linh discovered LCNV’s classes, where she is able to practice her English in order to better communicate with her family. You can support the education of learners like Linh here.

“By learning English now I can speak my opinions and speak with family. Before, my family could not understand me. It makes me happy to [share with] my family my experiences living in Vietnam. Learning English helps me go shopping and order food and take the metro.”

“I Owe It All To My Teacher”

April 4, 2018 at 8:53 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

LCNV’s instructors give beginning-level English language learners the support they need to advance in their academic pursuits, ultimately enabling them to thrive in their communities. LCNV learner Fatima writes about how important her instructor is in her essay, “The USA.” Fatima is an immigrant who never attended school in her home country, and is finally receiving the education she desires with LCNV. Education has opened up a world of possibilities to Fatima. She is becoming literate, learning about US civics, and working to attain her citizenship. All the while, her class instructor serves as the backbone for her growth. “I owe it all to my teacher,” states Fatima.

You can help learners like Fatima seize new opportunities by volunteering with LCNV. Consider attending an upcoming volunteer orientation to learn more about how you can help.

“What I want Americans to know about my life in America is that for me, America is the land of opportunity. America is the land of freedom and a better life. I came to America in 2010. I never went to school in my country. America gave me the opportunity to go to school. Now I am studying English.

I am learning to speak, read, and write. Now I am working to earn my US citizenship. I am learning about the history and government of the United States. I think it is great to learn about the US. It is all new for me. I like to learn about the different states. I owe it all to my teacher.”

Yumi’s Story

March 28, 2018 at 2:37 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Yumi’s Story

Throughout March, LCNV has been celebrating Women’s History Month by sharing the stories of some of the talented women learning English in LCNV’s programs. LCNV learner Yumi’s story also falls under this theme, but her focus on her daughter highlights another important role of adult literacy. Learning English will help Yumi support and advise her daughter, and in turn ensure that the next generation of women will continue making history. You can support LCNV learners like Yumi here.

“Learning English will make me feel more confident and successful because I can help my family. I want to be able to do shopping for my family by myself. Also, I can search and register programs for my daughter. Knowing English will help me to get a lot of information to choose good programs for my daughter. Since I started this English class, I made new friends who are also good teachers in my class. When I started this class, I could only understand a little English. However, I can understand English a lot more than before. When I speak English better, I will be able to give advice.”

“Successes of a Young Woman”

March 21, 2018 at 9:15 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on “Successes of a Young Woman”
LCNV learner Widad became an architect as a young woman while living in Algeria. While there, she advanced rapidly in her career while working for an architecture firm. However, Widad’s life changed when she moved to the United States. Without an understanding of English, Widad was overwhelmed by her new country. She needed to relearn the basics of everyday life and get used to the new environment of the United States. LCNV’s classes, combined with Widad’s hard work, gave her the ability to reclaim her independence and continue her studies. If you would like to support the futures of women like Widad, click here.
 
“Ambition is spiritual energy in human life, is the force that drives us towards a bright future. The ambition for me is the title of a circle around three things: dream, hope, and challenge, [which is] either a failure or a success. This circle is repeated with every dream.
 
My name is the title of my story, which started from North Africa. I am thirty three years old. One year ago, I lived in my country of Algeria where I achieved the most important successes of a young woman. First, I was superior in my studies and became an Architect. I worked for a government architectural company for seven years. I was very successful in my work and very happy in my life. After that, I married, but my husband lives in the U.S.A., which means I’ll go live there. At that time I did not realize the difficulty of it. I was giving up all I had achieved in my country. I was leaving my family and my friends. After arriving in the U.S.A. I felt a great difference between the two environments. I did not have enough information about my new environment. I was frustrated because I was betting my future on the unknown, and I was saying it was too late to start again.
 
I could not do the simplest things. For example: driving, going out alone, and communicating with people. This made me feel distrust in myself and instability.
 
Later, I met people who lived the same experience, and I noticed their success in the U.S.A. I thought that if they could succeed, I could too. I began to ask myself, how to find my way to happiness. I decided to enter the circle of life again, to continue what I was doing in my country. I began to read and develop my knowledge about this country, and its culture and traditions. I met some friends from my new country. I found them very nice people, which reduced my sense of tension and anxiety.
 
Then I set myself a few simple goals to help me adapt to them. For example, learning the language, [get the] equivalent to my university degree, to continue my education, [get my] drivers’ license, and to work to practice and improve language.
 
Three months ago, I started studying ESOL [at LCNV] and to continue my education I enrolled in NoVa college. Now I feel better in my language. Finally, I hope to make a respectable place in this community. I realize that if the plan doesn’t work, change the plan, but never the goal. There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.”

Literacy and Women’s History Month

March 14, 2018 at 9:12 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Literacy and Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month, a time to reflect on the contributions and progress women have made throughout history and around the world. This month is also a time to celebrate the different ways women are continuing to change their communities and individual lives. LCNV learner Farhat’s essay discusses her desire to be a “completely free woman” after moving to the United States. Though English is a struggle for Farhat, she knows that mastering the language is key to reaching her goal. You can support the many women like Farhat learning English in LCNV’s programs. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution here.

“Hello, my name is Farhat. I am 44 years old. I have 4 children. I am from Pakistan. I made the decision [to come here] for freedom. It was hard getting all the requirements to come to the U.S. but I did it. I have tried English before but given up. Now I want to learn so that I can be a completely free woman. Most of my family is in Pakistan. I do miss my family a lot.

My goal is to learn English completely. English is hard but easy once you learn. I study a lot. It makes it easier to talk to people and that’s why I love it.”

“I’m Learning English to Go to College”

March 7, 2018 at 2:44 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on “I’m Learning English to Go to College”

LCNV is the on-ramp for adult education in Northern Virginia. Many learners enroll in LCNV classes with the goal of moving to higher levels of education, or discovering new educational and career opportunities with the support of LCNV’s advising program. For LCNV learner Shaza, education begins with LCNV, but will continue at a college level. Shaza is in LCNV’s Family Learning Program now, and she plans to use the knowledge she gains at LCNV to pursue her college degree. Shaza’s story is a reminder of the importance of accessible education for adults at all levels of learning. If you would like to support accessible adult education in Northern Virginia, click here.

“I’m learning English to go to college. Learning English makes me feel happy. My goal in learning English is to learn more.

I am learning English in order to join the University, study in the college of fine arts and interior design, and to help my children study. Learning English makes me feel happy and relaxed. My goal in learning English is to become a decorative engineer or a plastic artist [and to be] a successful mother. I am proud of my children and my parents and my husband.”

“I am Very Happy to Live Here”

February 28, 2018 at 8:45 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on “I am Very Happy to Live Here”

What does it mean to LCNV learners to be an American? For LCNV learner Sharmin, independence, freedom, and equal rights define the American experience. Sharmin emigrated to the United States from Bangladesh, and found all of these values and more in her new home. The many things Sharmin has learned to love in America all play an important role in LCNV’s curriculum, which incorporates American culture and civics with English language instruction for the very beginning-level adult learners.

“My name is Sharmin. I am from Bangladesh. I came to United States 2 years ago. I think America is a very beautiful country. When I came here, I did not know many of the things about the USA. But now I know many things about USA. The traffic of the country is very good. I like it.

The country has many historical places. I like the beaches. I like the countries with all the mules. I think America is a very developed country because of these disciplines. The people of this country maintain their disciplines very strictly.

I think America has taught the people how to become independent. In this country, people have their own freedom. I like the symbol of independence, “Statue of Liberty”. In America, all of the people have equal rights, and I like it very much.

In conclusion, I love my country. But I like America too. I am very happy to live here. One of the main reason I like this country very much because I found my life partner after coming here. We live together happily at last. America is the land of the freedom and love the justice system.”

“I Wanted to Get a Job”

February 21, 2018 at 8:42 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on “I Wanted to Get a Job”

The hours learners spend studying within LCNV’s walls are often motivated by desires beyond simply attaining English skills. In her 2016 essay, LCNV learner Phuong discusses learning English as a way to advance her career. She explains that when she first came to Northern Virginia, she wanted to study hair styling, but didn’t yet have the language to do so. For Phuong, learning English is a means to reaching her goal. If you would like to ensure that beginning-level English classes remain accessible to students throughout Northern Virginia, please donate here.

“When I first came here, I didn’t talk in sentences. I wanted to listen and talk with people. I wanted to get a job. I wanted to study hair styling.

When I learn English, I improve my listening and speaking because before, I could not understand English to communicate with people. I like to speak and understand English. I am taking a class. I am studying to cut hair for a job.”

“I Can Read Presidential History Books”

February 14, 2018 at 9:22 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on “I Can Read Presidential History Books”

In anticipation of President’s Day, this week we revisit Alejandrina’s essay from 2014. Alejandrina takes us along her English language learning journey to her newfound connection to history and civic engagement. LCNV’s curriculum contains elements of American customs, holidays, and cultures, all of which can pique the interest of learners and inspire them to explore further. Alejandrina is a perfect example of a learner who has been empowered with English literacy to engage with American history and current affairs!

“My best experiences in America are developing my English skills for a better job and progressing.

English is most important to me as a second language for a successful life now and the future. English is not easy to learn fast, because the pronunciation, reading and writing are difficult.

The first time I took an English class in Northern Virginia community college, the teacher gave us a grammar book, and then she started reading the book. I didn’t understand anything at all. At that moment, I think I was in the moon. I felt so bad. I was in the wrong room. That class was higher level.

I took a basic English class in Thomas Jefferson school in Arlington, where I studied very hard and I learned a lot. I couldn’t continue because I moved to Falls Church.

I found the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia, where I took English class many times and I have improved tremendously. Before, I couldn’t read. Now I can read books like presidential history books: Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, newspapers, and children’s books. Before, I couldn’t write, but now I can write complaint letters. I love to write letters to the President, Senators, Congress.

Before, I couldn’t speak. Now I can communicate with people.”

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