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Sandra L Santos Rodriguez

Hello everyone. My name is Sandra and I’m from El Salvador. Thank you all for attending this very special event. Welcome everyone. I want to tell about my life back home in Santa Ana, El Salvador, my life after I came to the United States in 2001, and what my future plans are. As Geoffrey Williams said, “you can never understand one language until you understand at least two.” As a result, this motivated me to learn English as my second language.

My life back home was a happy one. First of all, every day when we came back home from working in the fields, my mom had prepared food for everybody, and we had a family dinner together everyday. Although we were poor, thank God we always had something to eat and we had each other.

When I first came to this country, my experiences speaking English were very bad because I had never spoken English in my country. I decided to come to the United States to have a better life for my kids. Even though it was difficult for me I knew I had to make some sacrifices; for instance, I had to leave my son with my family when he was only two years old.

When I first came to the United States, it was a time of filled with sadness and difficulties. However, I knew in my heart that it was still my dream to leave my country to start a new life. I came here because I believe that there are more opportunities for people here than where I come from. As time is going on I find that all the many dreams I had back them, are becoming true day by day. In that order of ideas, one of my first dreams was to learn English, due to the fact that in my country I didn’t speak English at all and everyday life in the United States demands for us to be fluent.

My Life when I came to the USA was challenging, but nice at the same time. It was nice to experience a new country; on the other hand, it was rough because of the difficulties I experienced during the journey to get here. During the trip I went through some rough experiences; for instance, when I was in Arizona and I spent three days without food and water. Another bad experience during this time, was when one of my friends couldn’t walk anymore. Although we tried to help him, we couldn’t; nonetheless, we had to leave him behind.

Shortly after settling here, I realized how difficult it was to communicate with others by calling on the phone or texting. Even though I tried using an electronic translator, people still didn’t understand me because the meanings were not the same. That is the main reason why I decided to take English classes. My wish was to speak English properly and communicate all my needs and wants.

Now I am feeling happy because my wish came true. As a result, now I speak two languages which are both English and Spanish. Since learning English, I have gained confidence in all aspects of my life. First, this newly found confidence helped me perform at a much higher level at my job. For example, I write more work ticket requests which are required to be written in English. Furthermore, I used the bulletin board more often, providing information in both English and Spanish to all team members of my department. Secondly, it helps me communicate with my children’s teachers, friends and their families who only speak English. In fact, now that I have learned English, I am now serving as an interpreter in our department staff meetings at work. Subsequently, my best experience with learning English was the first time I had to attend an operation meeting at work in the absence of my boss. I am proud to say that I was able to understand all that was said, so that I could explain to my boss the very next day.

In my transition from my country to the United States I had some very rough patches. But as my mother used to say “God will not give you a load heavier than you can carry.” So, as a result of these experiences, they have only made me stronger. On the other hand, there have been some shining stars in my life since coming to this country and learning English has been among the brightest of these stars. Consequently, I want to continue improving my English skills so that I can get my GED. In addition, I will take a certification course in housekeeping management. Finally, my ultimate goal is to get some form of college education. This is a long term goal that I hope will serve as a building block not only for myself but especially for my children who are the light of my life.