While America may not host even half as many refugees as a country like Pakistan, the US does invest significant time, money, and teaching resources to help its new American citizens learn English.
Learning to speak English is the single most important goal for refugees so they can obtain (often minimum wage jobs), adapt to the local culture, and succeed in the US.
And, there’s no shortage of ESL schools in most US states filled with ready and able ESL teachers, who are dedicated to making that American dream a possibility for their refugee students.
However, as Michelle Dahl, coordinator at Granite Connections in Utah, knows all too well that her school’s students face some high hurdles.
“The vast majority of our refugees come with no education, even in their own language. So, they’re learning how to read and write for the very first time in English,” says Michelle Dahl
One would think that from a refugee’s perspective, if you’ve already endured persecution, war, and have been torn apart from friends and family, learning English would be the least of your difficulties.
That said, the language of English has some funky rules and nuances which make it confusing and frustrating for learners to become fluent (regardless of how low or how high their education level is).
KLS news reporter, Sandra Onley interviews refugee students at Granit Connections in Salt Lake City to learn first hand how they’re adjusting to their new life and language.
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