My name is Gustavo Estrada. I am an immigrant from Mexico and I am writing this letter to talk about the importance of ELC (English Language Center of Cache Valley) for immigrants and for society in Cache Valley. I will try to illustrate this scenario with my personal experience while learning English and accomplishing my biggest dream in life, graduating from college.
When I first came to the United States in 1996 I found myself with many challenges. The biggest challenge was to communicate with people in English. At the time my English was very limited, I could only say a few words. Finding a job was extremely hard. Even simple tasks were difficult for me, such as buying groceries. I could only buy what I saw at the stores, asking about items I could not see was out of the question with my limited English. By not speaking English, I was missing out on job opportunities and living a normal life was extremely difficult. It did not take me long to understand that I had to learn English and I had to start as soon as possible.
I enrolled at ELC. From day one, I knew this was the best place to learn English. They spoke only English to us, they had a structured program, and they had different levels of English from beginning to advanced. It was a professional environment. This seemed to be the best place for me to learn English and I was right.
Enrolling at ELC was one of the best choices I have made in life. Within the first year of attending ELC I was able to have job interviews without a translator. After the second year, I was speaking medium fluent and I could keep up with conversations. This experience helped me to be more confident and happy.
ELC motivated me and a few years later I decided to start my journey into college. I received my GED Diploma and the next year I started applying for college. In 2010 I graduated with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and two years later, May 2012, I received my Masters Degree also in Electrical Engineering.
ELC is an important school for Cache Valley. It has helped many people, including me, with our English. Many companies can hire people that they can use because they can speak the same language.
In hospitals and other public services, they can help Immigrants easier because they can understand each other. One of the most important areas ELC is helping is education. Parents who speak English are able to help their kids better and as a consequence kids stay in school. I have seen it in my family and friends' families. Without ELC life would be much harder for many people.
Things have changed for me in a very positive way. I have many opportunities for finding a good job, I am now a role model for many young Hispanics who want to go to college, and I am very happy with my accomplishments. Now I can contribute to this society by being a good citizen and a good engineer and everything started by attending ELC.
Yeni finished high school in her native El Salvador but was only taught English an hour a week. When she, her husband and young daughter moved to Logan, she realized that the English Language Center offered her a great opportunity. She started beginning level at the old school near Home Depot and is now moving into level three at the new school. She really likes the teachers and enjoys her classmates. She is hoping that her new English speaking skills will help her get a job and make a better life for herself and her family.
Dao is a delightful man with bright, sparkly eyes. He is from Vietnam. Dao was a doctor in his country during the Vietnam War. After the war, he was not allowed to be a doctor anymore. His daughter and her family live in Logan, and Dao came here this past winter to live with them. He did not know how to speak or understand English. Dao came to the Pre-Literate English class and was eager to learn. He would try so hard and do extra work at home, getting up at 4:00 a.m. to study. He is always so grateful for every bit of information he is taught. It is amazing how much Dao has learned in such a short time. He can now read, write, and speak basic English and has already gotten his driver’s license.
English Language Center of Cache Valley Inc. Phone: (435) 750-6534 Address: 1544 N 200 W, Logan, UT 84341