The student news site of Plainfield High School Central Campus

The Fielder

The student news site of Plainfield High School Central Campus

The Fielder

The student news site of Plainfield High School Central Campus

The Fielder


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EL students overcome challenges adjusting to American high school

Imagine coming to a new country where you don’t know the language at all, have no friends or relationships, and are told to operate regularly in daily life like you’ve already been here your whole life. You couldn’t imagine it because you never have or ever will experience that; however, roughly 120 English language development students experience this every day.
“I am fluent in Mongolian, Russian, Japanese and English. And I am currently learning Spanish as well,” Naran Erichembileg, freshman, said. Erichembileg is from Mongolia, and she came to the United States at the age of 12. She had to say goodbye to her dear friends and family in Mongolia but knew coming to the United States would give her a better life. She loves every single thing the USA has to offer, from the foods to all the unique people. Erichembileg also has many dreams and goals that she hopes to achieve.
“My dream is to be a fashion designer when I get older,” Erichembileg said. She loves to play volleyball on her own time and said all the students and teachers are very friendly.
Christian Ndgeoe Tientcheu, sophomore, came from Cameroon at the age of 10. Ndgeoe is fluent in English and French, and his native language is Patios.
“Coming to a new country was the most difficult and scariest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life,” Ndgeoe said. His mother chose to bring his family to the U.S for better opportunities.
“I miss all the food from Cameroon the most,” Ndgeoe said. He moved around quite frequently while in the U.S going from Texas to Joliet to Plainfield.
“The most challenging experience I faced coming to America was trying to make new friends and leaving all my loved ones behind,” Tientcheu said. “All of the teachers and students here are extremely welcoming. My favorite part about school is all the teachers and students themselves,” Ndgeoe said. He has dreams of performing in the Olympics.
“I love going to the gym and working out as much as I can,” Ndgeoe said. He plans to join the track team.
Nancy Salas, senior, came from Mexico in May and has very high expectations of herself that she hopes to achieve.
“I really miss all my friends and family,” Salas said. Her native language is Spanish and she is currently working on becoming fully fluent in English. She came to the USA for better schooling.
“I am enrolled into Loyola University and will be studying to become a plastic surgeon,” Salas said, which perfectly explains why her favorite class is biology. “I love how all the teachers and students here are so welcoming.”
Nathaniel Ikharehon, sophomore, is from Nigeria and came to the United States at 10 years old. He speaks English and his native language is Esan. His mother brought his family to America for a better education.
“My favorite part about the USA is the food,” Ikharehon said, “And my least favorite part is all the school shootings and threats.” But that being said, he still prefers the United States over Nigeria and said he doesn’t miss anything about it.
“The advice that I would give to new immigrants and people who are planning to move to a different country is to stay out of trouble, have fun, and to be safe,” Ikharehon said. He loves school and enjoys coming every single day.
Casey Babcock, English language development learning teacher, loves teaching these students.
“English language development learning students are some of the most amazing people you will ever meet. They are very underappreciated and they deserve way more credit than they get,” Babcock said.
While these students may have trouble with certain aspects that English-speaking students don’t, the school has the resources to support them.
“The hard part that new immigrants face is learning our language, especially our slang, idioms and sarcasm,” Babcock said. “The best advice I can give to new immigrants is to connect with people, even with a language barrier. Establishing social groups will make you feel more accepted, welcomed and included, and it will help you learn the language faster.”
Karen Seeberg, English language development learning teacher, has been a teacher for 25 years total.
“English language development learning students are so humbling and amazing. I love to be a part of their journeys moving to America,” Seeberg said. She is fluent in English and Spanish.
“I see about thirty students a day and I love every single one of them,” Seeberg said.
“The hardest part students struggle with when coming to the USA is their self-confidence to speak in front of English-speaking people. Because so many people are not patient with them and in a majority of cases by the time they have answers or things to add to the conversation the people are already moved on to a different conversation,” Seeberg said. Learning to speak the language is important, but she cautions against losing a native culture.
“You should never lose your accent. Accents are a sign of bravery and it makes you who you are. It makes you so unique and cool that you should never be embarrassed by it,” Seeberg said. “Also, being bilingual is such an amazing and beautiful advantage in life. It gives you benefits from jobs to being able to communicate with people all over the world to even forming bonds by teaching other people languages as well.”

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