The Student News Site of Alta High School

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of Alta High School

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of Alta High School

The Hawkeye

The Real Story about Immigration


Have you ever wondered about the story of the person sitting next to you? Everyone has their own journey and sometimes their beginning is in another country.      

Since Alta was opened in the late 70’s, we have received people from other countries as well as first generation Americans. Over the last few years, these numbers have increased and now Alta has students from 25 different countries walking our hallways. This translates to 135 students out of 2,366 whose first language is not English. The largest community we have at Alta is people from countries that have Spanish as their first language.

Cristina, an immigrant from Venezuela, who moved here five years ago, talks about her experience.

How was it to learn English?

C: I actually learned in Venezuela. It was hard, I wasn’t that good at first and I think the accent was the hardest part. I got very nervous sometimes when I spoke to people, because I was already shy and on top of that it wasn’t my first language. Thankfully I was able to be better when I moved here and make it more perfect, less obvious that I’m from another country.

What is a cultural difference you had when you first got here?

C: I think it’s just the attitude that people have. The way they talk and the way they speak it is very different. Sometimes you say something and it’s like they don’t know English, they are confused. I felt a little bit out of place, misunderstood a lot of times.

What is a challenge that you are facing everyday here?

C: When I got here they’d already started school and were learning different things than I was, so that was really complicated. I had never had a real science class, when I got here they were doing bar graphs and I didn’t even know what that was.

 A challenge now is the feeling of not being at home, even though I’m used to that now. The people are not the same, everything is still different and I’m not completely used to it and sometimes I just want to go home.

Why did you have to immigrate?

C: The situation in Venezuela was really bad. We didn’t have electricity or water a lot of the time, no safety and the streets were a mess. Everything was on fire, so sometimes you couldn’t go out.

How has this move changed you as a person?

C: I think it made me a lot stronger and mature. It made me grow faster. I had to make sacrifices very early in my life. The experiences that I had back in Venezuela, having no water, electricity… and then having to just move and leave everything behind, even though it was a hard life, was my life.

Being new, a non-native speaker, away from your culture, family and everything that you know and love is very hard. It’s very brave to go through all these changes and it’s even more brave to share that with the other students. Cristina’s experience is a moving experience and not everyone knows about it. A lot of students can’t even imagine everything someone from another country has to go through.  For everyone who is from another country, state, or city, know that you are very brave and you are not alone.

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