Essay#4 status, English language proficiency, parental status, and financial

Essay#4

 Most immigrants come to America in search for
the “American Dream”. The reason is to learn another culture and to provide
themselves financial stability. Also, to create opportunities for themselves
and to provide a better future for their children to come. Many steps up and enroll
into schools to educate themselves and learn the American culture without
knowing that their journey of a lifetime transformation has only begun in
search of a better life. However, access to higher education has its
limitations for immigrants who do not know how to go about them. Such information
about financial aid is a key predictor for immigrants in determining the
likelihood of college attendance. In an article titled “Access to Higher Education
for Immigrant Students” by Eunyoung Kim and Jeannette Diaz, they discussed the
factors affecting US immigrant studies during their transition to college. The
authors claim that focus is given to generational status, socioeconomic status,
English language proficiency, parental status, and financial aid. US
immigrant’s history present struggles such as: transition, integration, and
transformation to understand and resolved issues, to access higher education.
Ultimately, with college financial aid in placed and other tools, most immigrants
in the past were very successful and became famous authors and writers.

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For
young new immigrants coming to United
States, their transition is much easier than their adult
counterparts. In the essay titled “The Gift of Language” by Lan Cao, she
discusses her transition to United
States
being completely opposite from her mother’s perspective. Moving to this country
required Cao and her mother to make abrupt changes such as learning English, adapting
the American culture, and quickly adjusting to their surroundings. In the
beginning, Cao and her mother were in the state of culture shock when they
initially arrive in United States.
“In Connecticut, the new language Uncle Michael and Aunt Mary were teaching me
began gathering momentum like tumble weed in a storm” (Cao 618). Based on Cao’s
experience, it is easier for children to pick up on
different languages while their mind can absorb new information at a faster pace.  It was evident to see that Cao had an easier
time adjusting to the changes in America in comparison to her mother. As a
result, Cao had to come to her mother’s rescue and help her guide through in so
many ways.

When
trying to adopt new cultures, immigrants are able to integrate despite of
language barriers. In the article, “How to Tame a Wild
Tongue,” by Gloria Anzaldúa she discusses about people creating a language
which they can connect their identity to one capable of communicating the
realities and values through to themselves—a language with terms that are
neither “espaniol ni ingles, but
both.  In
other words, if an individual chooses to immigrate to the United States, he or she should embrace the language
and culture in order to be “accepted.” On the Hispanic side, there are the
Mexican parents who want their children to succeed and live the American Dream,
thus expectation to properly speak American English is high with minimum or no
accent. “Anzaldua remember being sent to the corner of the
classroom for talking back to the Anglo Teacher when all I was trying to do was
to tell her my American name. If you want to be America, speak American. If you
don’t like it, go back to Mexico where you belong” (Anzaldua 53).  Anzaldua defines
the acculturation process as something extremely violent and cruel. Both sides
of the acculturation process: the Anglo side and the Hispanic side. On the
Anglo side, there is the urgency of adaption.

Due
to their achievements of higher education, immigrants are capable to transform
themselves into a successful author or journalist. Both authors Cao and
Anzaldua are good models who came to the United States and transformed
themselves into a famous writer due to their abilities to seek and resolved
access to higher education. By navigating themselves through the American education,
they were able to excel and integrate with the American culture but also stay
true to their culture. Lan Cao wrote “The Gift of Language” as to show her openness
to learn the American culture as oppose to her mother who found it strange. She
quotes, “The story of English was nothing less than the poetry of sound and
motion” (Cao 618). Her love for learning a new language from her Aunt Mary made
her proud and began to appreciate every terminology that came her way. She is
currently a Boyd fellow and a professor of law at the Marshall-Wythe School of
Law at the college of William and Mary. She was the author of Monkey Bridge (1997), the
semiautobiographical novel from which her essay comes from. Cao came to America
in 1975. On a similar situation, Gloria Anzaldua wrote her experience when
coming to America in her essay titled “How to Tame a Wild Tongue.”  In her essay, she quotes, “Now that we had a
name, some of the fragmented pieces began to fall together – who we were, what
we were, and how we had evolved. We began to get glimpses of what we might
eventually become” (Anzaldua). It was a struggle for Anzaldua to recognize her
identity as she is conflicted with her American side and her Chicano side but
yet she manages to transform her culture beliefs into accomplishments. “Gloria
Anzaldúa was born in 1942 in Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. At age 11, she
began working in the fields as a migrant worker and then on her family’s land
after the death of her father. Working her way through school, she eventually
became a school teacher and then an academic, speaking and writing about feminist,
lesbian and Chicana issues and about autobiography. She dies in 2004” (Anzaldua
33).

On the other hand, without access to higher education can
lead to a poor quality of life. Without learning such skills may prevent
individuals from gaining knowledge to apply to their world around them.
Individuals having higher education gain more momentum as they become confident
in their communication skills and become more independent. In Cao’s article
“The Gift of Language,” her mother had a hard time understanding the way of
American culture because she was unable to communicate fully when roaming the
markets in their hometown. Cao, who was an immigrant at the time, learned to
love the language she was taught by her aunt and uncle. When she returned to
Vietnam, she referred to herself among her mother’s neighbors the “keeper of
the word, the only one with access to the light world” (Cao 619). Because of
what she learned in American, she has brought her skills and knowledge as to
show that she had conquered what her mother could not understand. Her confidence
of learning another language held such powers that she felt she had the insight
into another world.

Hearing stories of immigrants coming into America offers
the realizations of their struggles and how their stories paint a picture of
their day to day experiences for others to be served as a lesson for immigrants
in the future. Learning their history of struggles played an important role in
beating the odds on the issue of higher education. They were able to
transition, integrate, and transform themselves to become better in life and
overcome issues in education.  Immigrants
seems to be hopeless at the beginning but with dedication and struggle they
transform themselves to be a better person.