I’m Happy Learning English

by Kim Nguyen, student of volunteer tutor Elsie Reimenschneider

This post is one in a series of student responses to our question, “What has the Volunteer English Program meant to you?”

I came to the United States of America because there is more work here and more money than in Vietnam. I wanted more, and the United States had more opportunity.
My father was here in the U.S. for about 30 years, and he called me and asked me if I wanted to come to America. I was happy to come with him.
When I came here, I knew only a little English but I know a lot more now. I’m happy I went to the Volunteer English Program. I like working with my tutor that they gave me. I can talk more with other people in English than I did before. I understand more in English too. That helps me at work.
When I went back to Vietnam in August to visit my family, I was happy I knew more English than my family there. I told my family I was happy to learn English in the United States.
I am glad the Volunteer English Program gave me a tutor. Thank you Volunteer English Program for helping me learn English.


I am Nuha

This post is part of a series of student responses to our question, “What has the Volunteer English Program meant to you?”Untitled-1

“I am Nuha from Iraq.  We are six people in my family. I have four children and my husband. We lived a good life when we were in Iraq before the war. My husband was a professor at the university, and he had a private office where he worked as a bridge designer. My oldest daughter was studying medicine when we were in Iraq. She needed one and a half years to become a doctor. Two years ago, she graduated from University of Pennsylvania with a major in Biology. My second daughter graduated from Swarthmore College and her major was Pre-Med. And my third daughter will graduate in October from Cabrini University and her major is Math. Hayder, that is my son, is in the second year at Penn State, and his major is Computer Engineering.

“I came to the US in 2008 as a refugee and I couldn’t speak English well. I felt lonely and I hated my life because I couldn’t share when people talked. My friends wanted to help me to learn English, and one of them called me and said she found a good program for me to learn English. She gave me the telephone number for the Volunteer English Program. I called them and I made an appointment with them. I went with my husband, because I couldn’t go alone because I couldn’t understand what the people said. I met the Program Manager and she offered me herself to start with me as a teacher because she didn’t find a volunteer to teach me. This lady helped me to speak and she gave me confidence to speak with people. She invited me to do a workshop and we did a CV for me that helped me to find a job. When I was looking for work as a volunteer, I asked to work in the VEP office. They accepted that, and I worked with them. That gave me more confidence, because they taught me how to print and do copying, which also helped me to find a job.

“I am working now and have applied to study in college. Soon I will be able to apply for citizenship, and I hope to become a US citizen in 2013. I will never forget these angels at Volunteer English Program, because they brought happiness to my life.”

Me and the English Adventure

submitted by VEP student Elizabeth Ferrufino

This post is part of a series of student responses to our question, “What has the Volunteer English Program meant to you?”


Elizabeth and her tutor Sandi

Volunteer English Program is very important to me because VEP is not only to learn English but it is much more.

My name is Elizabeth Ferrufino. I am from Bolivia, South America. I taught language arts to middle school children and was a professor of research in education at Salesiana University.  Although I had my social group, friends and job in Bolivia, I decided to move to the USA because my family is here. It was very hard because I had to leave behind all my life.

When I came to the USA, many things were new and different including the language. I couldn’t communicate with the people around me, I can’t go anywhere, I didn’t have friends, I can’t find a job because I can’t talk in English. I feel very sad and frustrated.

My first goal was to learn English because I think to learn English opens all the doors, including getting a job. It is the key to success.

I thought to learn English will be easy because I have two children here. They studied in this country and lived here for seventeen years and they speak just in English all the time. So I thought they could help me to learn English and to practice, but the reality was different. They wanted to speak in Spanish and practice with me. So I had to find a place to learn English.  I was lucky. I remembered one day I asked a nun from St. Agnes Church about English classes. She gave me the VEP address and God gave me the opportunity to know VEP and to learn English.

I decided to go to VEP, but I felt very scared because I thought how can I say “I want to learn English” in English. I was lucky again because when I was at VEP, all the people were very friendly and very polite. I could find not only excellent tutors but also good friends.

Toby Koch was my first tutor. He was very friendly. He loved numbers and to read news. I have to practice numbers and numbers and read a lot of news. It was important and helped me to learn more vocabulary.  Sandi Kwisz is my second tutor. She is very sweet and friendly. With her I have to do a lot of papers which we correct together. It is very good for me because now I can write essays.  Also I like to study my “famous” book Grammar in Context 2.  It helps me with grammar and vocabulary, and also, every English class we talk about different topics including politics. It helps me a lot with listening and conversation skills. Sandi is very important to me. She gave me confidence. But most importantly she is my friend.

VEP helped me a great deal to reach my goals. Now I use my own language skills in English and in Spanish to help the people in the Hispanic community.  In my job I help people to fill out applications and translate papers.  Now I am free, I can communicate with the people, I can read the signs in the street, I can go to different places, I can take the bus, so I feel free!

At the moment, I am looking forward to achieving my next goal to become an American citizen. Sandi is helping me to study American History.

Thanks to VEP for giving me the opportunity to learn English and the opportunity to find really good friends and for giving me confidence. Thanks to all my tutors, especially to Sandi, your job is wonderful.

God bless you today and always.