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IU13 Community Education Blog

Student Spotlight - Liliana

Posted by Patricia Barnes on Jul 6, 2020 9:06:19 AM

Liliana is a current student in IU13 Community Education’s ESL level 1 class at Brightside Opportunities Center. Liliana arrived from Medellin, Colombia in December 2019 to be close to her new husband and his family. 

Liliana’s first impression of the U.S. was that it is a big and beautiful country.  She thinks the houses are beautiful, the city is clean, and the drivers respect pedestrians when crossing the street. She was very surprised to see so many differences between living here and in Colombia, explaining, “It is very, very different. In Colombia close neighbors, motorcycles, lots of dogs barking, very noisy. Not here… I like the quiet neighborhood and friendly people.” 

Liliana decided to join ESL classes after her sister-in-law, who works for IU13, recommended Community Education’s classes. Wanting to communicate with others better, especially with her husband who speaks very little Spanish, Liliana explains, “It is necessary to learn English. My family speaks English. It’s my life now.” Even though understanding people is difficult now,  Liliana knows learning English is a process and it will get better with time.  She learned some English in Colombia while studying accounting in college, but not enough to find a job, which is one of her future goals. 


On the first day of class, Liliana’s husband’s family accompanied her to Brightside so she would be less anxious. As soon as she got home, when asked about class, Liliana reported that she enjoyed sharing conversations with her classmates, as well as students from other levels. She met people from different countries, including Cambodia, Iraq, Haiti, France, and South Korea, all with the same need.  As she says, “Many need a new job and new opportunities in this country. In my country, I am old to get a job, but here there are many opportunities.”


Liliana shares her class experiences, “It is teaching me everyday vocabulary so when I go to the supermarket I know ‘aisle,’ ‘price check,’ and common phrases like ‘how do you say…in English?’ It helps my listening when practicing with others.” Additionally, she comments, “The program lets you know your level so you know where to start and your strengths. Also, they give you great resources such as computers and homework to practice outside of class.” She advises prospective students, “You need dedication every day to learn new words.” 


This summer she plans to continue practicing English by attending class and watching TV in English. She received a book about the US government as recognition for her attendance hours and is excited to start reading it.



Topics: Adult Education, esl