This I Believe

Iryna - Western Springs, Illinois
Entered on February 22, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: change
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Growing up in Ukraine was very different compared to here, in America. I came to the United States with my family at the age of 10, going into 4th grade. Growing up and being an immigrant, who did not speak the English language or understand the ways of the American culture, set me aside from everyone else, making it complicated and life-changing. Everything was distinctive; the people, the life style, and of course, the language.

I believe in change because it is just like a new beginning. Change happens in all areas of life. I believe that it brings hope to some and risk to others. The first obstacle that I had to face, like every other immigrant in the country, was to learn the English language. For the first year, it was demanding and challenging, and also, very limited. Simultaneously, the more English I learned and spoke, the quicker my native tongue faded. Many times I would get frustrated and depressed because I always felt like I was in a severe disadvantage compared to everyone around me, including my classmates. I had to put extra effort into everything I did, always seemed to ask too many questions and practically came in for help on every assignment I was given in school. It was basically a nightmare, but I stayed persistent by working hard in school and doing my best. In addition, I always had a Ukrainian-English dictionary with me to translate things back and forth, where ever I went. I was not going to let this major change keep me from achieving a goal in my new way of life.

Additionally, it is incredibly difficult to leave our old lives behind and move on. Or in other words, to leave everything in the past and make an enormous change, like moving thousands of miles away from home to start a completely new life. My family and I had to go through a lot, such as being separated from close friends and relatives and being brought to a foreign land. America has always been known as a country of opportunities, a nation of democracy, and a place of freedom.

Throughout the years, I have grown to understand that part of the reason why I was brought here, was to achieve a successful future. My parents have always worked to better our lives and give the best that they could for me and my sister. I appreciate everything that they have done and I believe that there is a reward for hard work. Putting full effort into everything is definitely not a waste and would compensate in the near future. I believe that a change like mine was a new beginning for the rest of my life.