Blanca is a student in the Free English Program and is originally from Guatemala. She admits that the beginning of her journey was not easy. She did not know any English except for “thank you,” and jokes about the kind of conversation you could have with only those words! On Blanca’s first day at ILI, a Spanish-speaking teacher accompanied her to class, and once she started to learn the English alphabet she was excited to realize its similarities to the Spanish alphabet! With seven years at ILI in her back pocket, Blanca is much more comfortable with the language and pronunciation. Everyone at ILI is very proud of how far she has come from starting as a student in a level one classroom, though Blanca claims it was more like level zero! In December 2019, Blanca participated in her first ever “Living History Museum” at ILI, choosing Harriet Tubman as her historic character. Blanca shared that her favorite part about the classes at ILI is practicing English—whether it be a warm up, a game, or a reading—she simply enjoys learning!
Blanca’s story is about much more than her admirable dedication to perfecting her English. She took the time to tell us a little bit about her family and her life since moving to the United States. She met her husband while he was in Guatemala visiting his home country—talk about fate! Blanca moved to the US in 2011, and now their son attends the same school that her husband did. ILI is proud to know that her son is growing up in a bilingual household!
When Blanca first moved to Northampton she got a job at a local restaurant as a dishwasher because she did not know any English. Eventually, she took a leap of faith in herself and now works as a prep cook. After all, practice makes perfect! She is much more comfortable now that her English has improved so much.
In 2018, Blanca got her citizenship, which she says changed her life. Her family traveled back to Guatemala in August 2019 to visit the rest of her loved ones. Her favorite parts about Northampton are that it is beautiful, safe, and clean, making it an ideal place to spend free time with her now seven–year old son!
Thanks for sharing your story with us Blanca—you are admirable in so many ways!