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Dennis J. Rivas
Professor Kimberly Lewis
English 113A
20, September, 2015
New environment
I was born in El Salvador, I was sixteen years old when I moved to
United States due to the increase of gangs in El Salvador. I used to live with
my beautiful mother and my sister Lily. Back on 2010, I took the decision to
move to the United States looking forward for a better future and more
prosper life. Language was my biggest struggles that to the present day
continues to be a difficult issue for me and for this reason I would love to
share my story that will help others that were or are going through the same
circumstances and show how to effectively overcome them.
My decision was based upon the hard situation in El Salvador regarding
gang war and violence that was sky rocking back on 2010. Young teenagers
were being recruited by gangs leaders to become part of their illicit
activities. Bloody scenes were the outcome of the collapse of the truce
between the government and gangs. News report were all about the
increased of number of people dying affiliated to gangs and that forced me
to immigrate to the United States of America.

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All this began on August 30th, when arrive to this country was a, it was
an unforgettable moment because was my first time on an airplane thereby
I was very scare for the reason I am scare of heights. When I arrived at the
LAX airport, my dad was waiting for me sincerely I did not recognize him at
all. Because I had not seen him, since I was five years old. It was such a good
moment to see my dad again. Following days, I got enrolled into High School
and it was unfavorable to me because due to the language. My expectations
for school were distinct because I thought everything was going to be easier,
my first days at school were honestly a chaos in some part was because I
only knew how to pronounce some couple of words. Within the first weeks, I
used my spare time at school at the library, studying and getting tutoring for
English. I used to practice with simple first grader exercises to become more
affluent in English so I could have a better communication with my
classmates and professors.
The most difficult challenge I faced was learning a new language
surrounded by teenagers that used to make fun of my English pronunciation
or well known by bully. I felt kind of lost with the school environment
although I always practiced at home and sometimes in front of the television
repeating every word they said so I could have a finer pronunciation. I was
constantly being laughed at by my classmates and threatened because I
spoke with an accent. I remember I was dampened by the students of my
high school, they were racist and dislike to those students who were taking
developmental English classes like me. It was depressing for me because I

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always tried to make some new friends but most of the times I got rejected
by them just for the fact that I had a different enunciation. They used give
me nicknames like wetback or paisano (alien). Even though we had
counselors and mentors at school, it did not help me because it became a
psychological problem.
Then after some days, I tried to focus more at school and doing other
stuff. One of the things I used to do to feel better was to attend to church, it
became my relief and I knew that on my weaknesses the Lord was going to
do His will. Besides that to enhance my comprehension of the language , I
used to write down new words, meanings, terms , so I could look them up
later on a dictionary, to enrich my speaking of the vocabulary. To be honest
my first days were not that great and very hard to forget, but then after
some time and hard effort everything came into place.
The same fear that was stopping me from speaking English and having
a social life, became my challenge and inspiration. So I decided to flip it into
a significant opportunity to reach my whole potential and to get the best out
of that experience. Like so, I could gain more knowledge and understanding
of the matter and so forth from that day and on. I started seeing everything
from a different perspective to acquire more proficiency on the field. At the
beginning it all seeing to be very difficult. It was not easy to balance school,
work and personal life.

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An unforgettable day was, when I went up to stage back on my


graduation day, that day I received my high school diploma. I was full of joy,
my dad was very excited and delighted of my accomplishment. I felt that all
those moments and moments did not get to sleep were paying off.
Momentarily I have improve my English skills, in addition to that I am doing
decently on my English courses. At this moment, I am an undergraduate
student and I feel proud and very grateful because without those barriers
and challenges, like the understanding a new language. I would not never
have given that extra effort to overcome those adversities, not only
academically but personally as well.