Professor Amy Belk
March 14, 2014
Language Barriers through Exposure and Education
Being an immigrant, resident, or citizen in the United States calls for the need to speak English fluently. Several people think that speaking English fluently isn't essential in the United States; they're wrong! How can someone aspire to grow and obtain knowledge in this country without having the necessary traits? One must know or learn how to speak, read, and write in English upon entering this country. Doing so will open the doors to numerous opportunities; the possibilities than become endless. After all, the U.S is "The land of opportunity" so what better way to embrace that title than making an effort to grasp onto new challenges. Lan Cao, a Vietnamese native, the author of "The Gift of Language" like many came into this country being an immigrant. Cao was flown out of Vietnam in 1975 when Communist forces defeated South Vietnam. Like many, she had a dream of becoming somebody and doing something with her life. She aspired to become someone and obtain an education although she wasn't American born and raised. She was aware of the challenges that lied ahead but was willing and ambitious enough to dream and make someone of herself. In her story she explained, "The more educated I became the more separate I was from my parents," which happens in most cases when children become distant from their native land and relatives and are exposed to new ways of life. Cao came to the states and after while learned to speak, read, and write fluently in English therefore being that overtime English became her so called "native language." The constant usage of this new language began to rule her life; it became a part of her identity because of the constant everyday exposure. This being, that when she contacted her parents she would either forget how to communicate properly or at times forget how to speak Vietnamese entirely. Cao was now considered an "American."
In the article "College Brings Alienation From Family, Friends" Gonzales explains the struggle he faced when he made the life changing decision to return to school and better himself and improve his family’s way of life. He felt as though he was forced to be two people, he was one person around his school friends and another around his family. Gonzales explains in great detail how his family didn't understand what successes his career path will bring when he finished school. He chose to be a journalist and many Latino parents wouldn't consider that something "hard to do." Let alone something that would require lots of schooling. Gonzales father had a sixth grade education and his mother obtained a GED 15 years after she left high school. In the Latino community that seems to be the norm in today’s society. Why you might ask? Because when our parents were being brought up things were different, children were forced to begin working at a young age, money was tight, and the opportunities were very limited. For many, the story is the same and disappointingly enough some parents are not advocates for change. This article is very relatable, being a student in the Latino community exposes you to the generation gaps between people whom receive and education in the U.S and those less fortunate who don't have that privilege. If they were to truly understand the heart, sweat, and tears that went into learning maybe than they would be a bit more appreciative and understanding of the sacrifices and struggles we students face on a daily basis. Cao and Gonzales faced similar situations in their families. The constant struggle of juggling school and juggling a relationship with those they love and those whom matter most. These two must remember where they come from but should always embrace their hard work and the dedication they put into their studies especially when...
Cited: "College brings Alienation From Family, Friends". Gonzales, John. Editorial. Community Essay.
Cao, Lan. Everything 's an Argument. "The Gift Of Language". Boston, Ma. 2013. Print.
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