Everything is different from what you know. A new house, a new language, new clothes, new traditions and on top of it all, a new school. School is already stressful enough, but then add in the idea of going to a school in a brand new country. You don’t know anyone and making friends is much harder because of the language barrier, not to mention understanding lectures and lessons in class. Fitting in is difficult for immigrants especially in schools, which jeopardizes their success in achieving the American Dream.
In the poem Elena by Pat Mora, the main character moved to America with her family. She talked about the hardships of her transition into a new country. Since she and her family moved to America, her children now both attend American high schools. They are now completely bilingual, which leaves their mother feeling left out. She is the only one left in her family who has yet to learn English. She once bought a book to learn english, but never followed through because her husband was apprehensive because he didn’t want his wife to be smarter than he was.
She remembers when her children were young and they would all joke together in Spanish but now they are always talking in English without her. Once her children found their place in school they used it as a tool to quickly pick up the language. Now that they are bilingual they have a much easier time making friends and relating to their classmates. Being bilingual will boost their confidence in school and motivate them to go on to pursue a higher education and then a career. Without this success achieving the American dream becomes a much more difficult tasks.
The poem In Response to Executive Order 9066: All Americans of Japanese Descent Must Report To Relocation Centers by Dwight Okita, the speaker begins by saying that she is just a normal 14 year-old girl. She then goes on to say that she feels uncomfortable using chopsticks and her favorite food is pizza. In her mind she is an average 14 year-old girl but that isn’t always how her new classmates viewed her. The transition into her new life wasn’t easy. When you’re young and different from the other kids, finding acceptance can be a challenge. Adjusting to a new culture and a new language isn’t easy for anyone, let alone a young child.
The speaker didn’t see herself to be any different from the other kids at her new American school. She talks about her best friend who helped her settle into her new life. Having even one person there can make all the difference in an immigrant’s confidence and self esteem. It’s already a shaky time of anyone’s life; things are changing and you’re kind of unsure of yourself, especially an immigrant. The speaker shares that she and her best friend were inseparable throughout elementary and middle school. When child immigrants are introduced to a new school, it is a very nerve racking process.
They are unsure of everything they do and say because they don’t want to seem different from everyone else. It is important for child immigrants to adapt to their new surroundings so they will be successful in school. There is a high percentage of immigrants that don’t graduate high school. Most of the kids that make up that percentage never fully accommodate to their new school and dropout. The reason these people come to America in the first place is to live the American dream, and without success in school, the chances of achieving the American dream become slimmer and slimmer.