English Language Learner in the Education System

By Katie Holmes

Estas personas se están moviendo de todo el mundo. These people are moving from all over the world.  This has become a language barrier that most immigrants face when they arrive in America when they are non-native English language speaking individuals. According to Migrationpolicy.org, approximately 61 people, foreign and U.S. born, spoke a language other than English at home in 2013. Also in 2013 Spanish was the predominant language spoken by immigrants and the U.S. born. The other five most common spoken languages in America are Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Tagalog. However,the diversity of languages in one country has created a language barrier, especially among the children of immigrant families. Those children are also classified as English Language Learners and the majority of those United States. ELL students were born in the United States.  Continue reading


Employment America

By Marlenna Godfrey


There are the basic needs that the refugees receive they are financial assistance for housing, healthcare, and clothing and food. There is not enough assistance to be able to afford everything they need to live with. Around the United States the situation is different for each state and there are different conditions that are taken into consideration. In San Diego housing is very expensive. Finding a job is difficult because the new Americans have to learn enough English to be able to get a job.  According to Cruz, Job Placement Coordinator, the number of refugees living in America are mostly composed of women and children, most of the husbands are killed and aren’t able to qualify to relocate. Continue reading

Language Barrier in America


Throughout the course of advanced electronic journalism talking about New Americans has really got me thinking about what they are and how they live among us. Through a lot of thinking it seems that it is quite difficult for them for them to adjust to our customs. Learning something like a new language is quite difficult. There are so many New Americans living here in the United States and so many of them have a great amount of difficulties fitting in with everybody else. Many of them try to fit in and adjust to what life is like in the United States, but so many of them have a very difficult time doing that. Some things have to be done in order to make them feel more welcome.

Many New Americans leave wherever they are from and come to The United States in search of a better life. New Americans come to from all over the world. Some of them even come from as close as our neighboring countries of Canada and Mexico. The situations sometimes become problematic. There are many situations when New Americans come to The United States and have no idea how to speak the language or what the customs are like. As someone with a small learning disability I have come to understand how difficult it cans be for people to learn things.

According to borderzine.com it says there is a high level of violence in Juarez Mexico. Due to the high level of violence many families are moving to El Paso, Texas which is right over the Mexican border in order to get away. Granted these people come to The United States in hopes of possibly having a better life. One of the main problems is language barrier. The problem very often comes u when immigrants come to The United States and it is a big problem especially for children. From a little bit of experience with this kind of thing was in high school there were a handful of student who didn’t speak English very well and it seemed like they just couldn’t fit in no matter how hard they tried. Most people feel terrible for those students and there was nothing that could be done. Being one of those kids that had a hard time fitting in I could kind of relate to those students and I felt they had it much tougher than me.

There are many reasons why New Americans don’t learn a new language. Some of the reasons for them not learning a new language are things like not enough time, not knowing a good method, it’s expensive, it’s difficult, they don’t see a need, they get distracted by other things or there are many other possible reasons. English seems to be one of the hardest languages to learn and with it being so difficult it takes a lot of time and that is something most people don’t have a lot of. Knowing the right method is a good thing to know when trying to accomplish a task. There are many different kinds of methods a person could use, but each of them may work a little bit different than the other and may not be quite as effective as some methods are. It does seem there many people see no need in learning a new language. Learning another language can really benefit people especially if you are in a part of the country where there is a high population   of people who speak another language. Getting distracted by other things seems to be a reason why people can’t learn another language. Possible things people can get distracted y are things like family, work, and school. New Americans who are adults get distracted with things like raising their family, working, cooking, cleaning and many other things. Some adult New Americans still attend school trying to get a better job to get a better life for their family. Life tends to throw people curveballs. One of the last reasons it is hard to learn a new language is because it is expensive. One of the Programs called Rosetta Stone is and internet program that people can use to help them learn a new language. The problem with the cost is it can cost hundreds of dollars. A New American coming to the United States definitely will not have the money for the Rosetta Stone Program. It is a decent way of learning a new language, but what a person can learn is limited.








One of the cases featuring New Americans that is a little more local is happening in Erie Pennsylvania at one of the high schools. According to East High Schools web page there are 900 students in the high school and around 300 of them are English language learners. I did and internship that took place at East High School and in the main entrance there were maps of many of the countries around the world. I was always curious as to why all of those maps were there and I would later learn that.







New Americans not knowing English seems to be one of top problems. Language barrier is definitely a problem. It is even seen today among some professional athletes that come from other countries who need a translator to help them speak English in their interviews because they have a difficult time trying to speak or they just can’t do it.

Somehow someway New Americans are going to have to try and make the best of what they can with the language they speak. Coming to The United states is challenging. Best of luck to all New Americans in The United States.




The Business of Immigrants

struggle 4

s v eWhat is the difference between someone who has lived in privilege and someone who has borne great suffering? Philosophers have decried entitlement and have warned of its slippery slope toward oblivion. People celebrate the fortitude of the one who overcomes in movies, books and the stories they like on Facebook. The message spoken by Tan Le in the video below illuminates the prevailing heart of those who have lost everything and become determined to reach beyond the stereotypes of their new neighbors. Tan Le inspires the watcher to refuse to accept anything but excellence and to open up the heart to the possibilities of exploration in a life journey toward destiny.

Tan Le: My Immigration Story

Tan Le is a co-founder and the CEO of Emotiv. From Emotiv’s site, one can discover that “EMOTIV is a bioinformatics company advancing understanding of the human brain using electroencephalography (EEG). Our mission is to empower individuals to understand their own brain and accelerate brain research globally.”

Le may be the CEO of a successful technology company, but her beginnings could not have revealed the truth of her present situation. Along with her grandmother, mother, and little sister, Le escaped Vietnam at the age of four. Their journey led them to Australia as Asian immigrants.

She described poverty and lack. She explained racism and isolation. These issues didn’t deter her.

Emotiv Insight Product Sheet 2014Emotiv Insight Product Sheet

Le discovered education, and she proved her ability. She decided to succeed and became an influence on the culture of Australia. Her story continues to prove that a person is never completely without as long as he or she refuses to accept defeat and does whatever it takes to win.

orange gradient strip only

Emotiv EPOC Specifications 2014Emotiv EPOC Specifications

Suffering produces in some the ability to conquer no matter what the odds.

Entitlement produces in some the concept that “what we have is ours and we don’t have to share.” This ultimately leads to reduced productivity, laziness, and difficult seasons of winter where the grasshopper starves while the ant enjoys the success of its community.

orange gradient strip only
Le’s story is just one example of foreign-born innovation. Regardless of location of birth, anyone has the potential to add value to the world. Those who have always had everything may not understand what it is like to lose it all. Those who have lost it all may develop the drive and have the tenacity to do whatever it takes to contribute in their communities. Le’s story, even though it originates in Vietnam and Australia, is a peephole into the truth of what is happening on the landscape of American business.

Written by wertzgroup, aka Alan Soltys.


The ‘reality’ of the American Dream

By: Anna Ashcraft

Dreams of the “American Dream” have been formulated by people seeking refuge for decades. For those who have lost everything, coming to America can be a great choice. There are pro’s and con’s to living in any country, with America being, among others, a free country. This makes it ideal for anyone seeking individual rights and freedom.

People from across the globe fled their homes for different reasons, ranging from religious or LGBT persecution in Iran to political persecution in Cuba, many people have been uprooted from their lives and families to await movement to an unknown country.


The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) stated on their website “60 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced; less than 0.1 percent will get the chance to start a new life.”

The USCRI defines a Refugee as someone who is “forced to leave [his or her] home country to escape War, Violence, or Persecution.” They are teachers, students, children, parents, bakers, doctors, dentists, artists and so much more. They have been uprooted from their home and some have been brought to Erie, where they may not even speak the native language.

60 to 70 percent of refugees live in urban cities, while awaiting asylum. Here they may struggle to live everyday life, hoping to remain unrecognized for fear of deportation. They most likely are also being forced to work low wage jobs, since most degrees and certifications do not transfer internationally. In some countries, children can’t even attend school without legal status. And only legal citizens can be covered by health care.

Only about 20 to 30 percent of refugees live in camps, but the average stay in a camp lasts 17 years. Living conditions within the camps can be downright unsafe;  food, water and medicine are scarce and overpopulation rampant.

If an individual is lucky enough to have their family brought with them, they are then sent to the U.S. or another country. If they are sent to the U.S. each adult individual “receives $1,125 for initial expenses from the federal Refugee Admissions Reception and Placement Program,” according to a report from the Erie-Times News. They are expected to repay this within six months, while having to pay for other expenses such as childcare, rent, groceries and travel expenses, just to name a few possible expenses.

The USCRI Erie (International Institute of Erie) states, that the federal government expects a working-age refugee to find a job within six months of arrival.They then have to get a job quickly in order to pay back the government loans for housing and travel expenses.

For those struggling with acclimation or language barriers, this is where community programs such as USCRI in Erie, the International Institute of Erie, the Multicultural Community Research Center and the St. Benedict Education Center help with integrating people into Erie, providing them with tools, classes, and even childcare.



517 E. 26th St, Erie, Pa


Multicultural Community Research Center:

554 E. 10th St


St. Benedict Education Center:

330 E. 10th St.


United Way of Erie Country:

420 W. 6th St, Suite 200, Erie, Pa


The Washington Times reported that there are around 10,000 refugees living in Erie today, out of a total city population of 100,000. This is nearly half of the 20,000 immigrants in Erie. Erie is one of the largest resettlement destinations for refugees. Out of that 10,000, there are 4,500 Bhutanese, the fastest growing of any refugee group in the city. There are around 537 Somali refuges making them the second fastest growing refugee group in the city; followed by aproximetely 486 Iraqis, and 130 Congolese, as of June 2015.

There are also 6,000 Russian and Ukrainians and 3,500 Bosnians living in Erie, yet most of them are no longer refuges, but naturalized U.S. citizens.

According to the Pennsylvania Refugee Resettlement Program, “4,751 refugees from 31 countries have been recorded as arriving in Erie between 2004 and 2014. Nearly half of those refuges were Bhutanese,” reported the Washington Times.

“310 refugees arrived in Erie from October through March (2014), making that 23 percent of the 1,331 refugees who have resettled in Pennsylvania during that time period.”


Erie has embraced the growing community of refuges and immigrants into our nation. Community Resource Centers around Erie are actively out there trying to help refugees and immigrants during tough times.

There are many centers around Erie and Pittsburgh that offer childcare to refugees such as International Institute of Erie (USCRI Erie), United Way of Erie County, VolunteerMatch, Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Pittsburgh. The YMCA of Greater Erie offers training and internships through a partnership with Erie Art Museum, the Erie County Cooperative Extension, as well as, many local day care centers.




The Ultimate Labor of Love: The Hard Traveled Road to America

By Ed Auerbeck 

A common theme penetrated into the American mind, especially in that of the native-born worker concerning immigrants coming into this country for a more stable economic opportunity sometimes is: they’re coming to take our jobs.” While those that hold the opposition viewpoint might contend: “they’re doing the jobs most Americans won’t do.” But like so many other aspects of society and life, few debate’s can be broken down so easily into a catagorey of clear cut black and white, right and wrong.
Continue reading

The Fee for Freedom: The Hidden Struggles of Naturalization

By Karlee Dies, Becca Martin, Aaron Foster-Williams

The plight for immigrants fleeing their country doesn’t end once they arrive in America. It’s actually just beginning. There are many obstacles immigrants face in the process of assimilation, but there is one that stands out amongst the others. Aspiring citizens must pass a vigorous test to complete the process of naturalization. The test is the main barrier that separates every potential new American from becoming a citizen. The majority of the American population are natural-born citizens. Therefore, they are not required to pass any exam in order to become a citizen. This disparity between those who were born citizens and those looking to become citizens makes it difficult to understand the struggle of assimilation. Continue reading

From Student to Victim

A walk home from school turns dark for a group of young Asian American students in October of 2009. What once was a mundane trek back home after a day of class, becomes a nightmare with traumatic long term effects. After a stressful day at school attempting to dodge the racially driven verbal and physical punches from their peers, 15-year-old Yang Dang, her sister and eight friends were attacked on their walk home from school in Philadelphia, Pa. Around 10 African American students who spent the day taunting and harassing these students followed them home after school and assaulted them. Multiple students ended up in the emergency room, some requiring surgery that would alter their lives forever.  Continue reading

Cultures Combined

“My first year and a half in America was a rollercoaster ride,” said Senada Alihodzic, who is now an American citizen. With help from the United States government, Alihodzic started a new life in Erie, Pennsylvania after she fled her war-ravaged Mediterranean hometown in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1993 and sought asylum on American soil. She arrived in this country without any knowledge of the area and unable to speak English, unable to communicate with anyone around her, unable to understand anyone trying to communicate with her. Alihodzic experienced a natural phenomenon of the human mind known as culture shock. Continue reading

English: The Only Language That Matters


“Pardon me?”  “What was that?”  “Please repeat yourself, I cannot understand you.”  Imagine hearing these phrases upon your arrival in a new and strange country.  Not only once or twice, but repeatedly.  Imagine being put in an emergency situation attempting to contact the proper authorities, but the phone operator cannot understand you.  And no matter how hard you try to explain the situation to the person on the other line, your frantic request for help isn’t met.  Continue reading