Once upon a time, there was a young woman named Huda from Libya. Huda wanted to move to the United States to learn English, find a good career, and start her own family. Huda’s dream came true when she applied, won the Green Card Lottery, and moved to the United States for a better life. Huda said her goodbyes to her family in Libya and left for Southern California, USA.
When she arrived at John Wayne Airport in Irvine, California, she was excited and ready to start her new life. She had worked hard and saved money for a few months of expenses in the USA. She stayed at Motel 6, an inexpensive hotel, for a week while she looked for an apartment and a night school to take English classes. She learned to use public transportation and traveled to different cities in Orange County, California, to search for apartments and schools that offered English as a Second Language classes for free at night. Finally, she moved to Anaheim, California, where she found a studio apartment and North Orange Community Education, part of North Orange County Community College District, which offered free English as a Second Language classes at night and on Saturdays.
Huda enrolled in language classes and started studying English. Her favorite class was a beginner’s level class because it was easy. She said, “It was really easy. It wasn’t hard. It was really easy.” Huda said, “I like it because I can get everything I need for free. It’s nice.” Huda said she was happy with her life and new apartment and ready to make new friends. Huda said that she could understand the language, but she struggled to speak the English language fluently.
Huda said that learning English was difficult because she did not speak English before coming to the United States. She had learned Arabic first and later Spanish in high school. She said she did not have much formal training or experience in English until she came to the United States. Huda said she had some help from her English teacher, Maestro Sersea, who was very helpful. She said she struggled with the new language but did what she could to learn and practice her English skills every day. She would go to a public library every morning, look for free books to read, and learn vocabulary words from them. Huda also watched many TV shows and movies in English, especially American television and films.
Within a month of arriving in the United States, Huda had her apartment and was already successful in her English class at night. She began looking for jobs. Although her English was not fluent, she was lucky to be fluent in Spanish because a majority of the population in Anaheim were Spanish speakers. She spoke to her neighbors who worked at Disneyland, and they helped her find a job working in one of the Disneyland restaurants, where she got a job in the kitchen preparing food.
She said, “I am happy. I’m learning. I want to get better.” Huda said she worked hard and learned new skills because she liked cooking. She worked at Disneyland for two years. Huda said she was happy with her job at Disneyland because working with people she knew was fun. She said that she liked working with her friends and other staff members. Huda said she was grateful that she could find a good job and a place to live in a country she did not know.
Then, after her second year, she got a better job that paid a lot more than she had been making at Disneyland. Huda said she loved her job, enjoyed making great food for people, and took pride in her work. Huda was hired as Assistant Manager at a fast-food restaurant called Taco Bell. She bought a new Ford Focus and was happy with her new car.
Huda continued to go to school at night and improve her English. Now that she’s been studying English for two straight years, she has greatly improved her English fluency. Her teacher, Maestro Sersea, was very proud of her and recommended her for a scholarship.
The Orange County Community College District had a scholarship program for students studying in the English as a Second Language program. Huda applied for the scholarship and won it. She said the money helped her buy more books and materials to learn English, which made her happy. She received a letter from the scholarship office saying she was recognized as a top student at North Orange County Community College District. Huda said that she was excited about getting the scholarship. Her dream was still alive. She continued to study English and learn how to speak the language fluently.
Huda began thinking about marriage, and she wanted to get married. She found a man named Mohammed who lived in Anaheim, California. He was a friend of her neighbor. Huda said, “I was interested in him because he was a Muslim.
I thought I could be more comfortable with someone Muslim.” Huda said she thought his being Muslim would help her stay connected with her heritage. Huda met Mohammed again when she went to the local mosque to pray. He was there when she arrived, and they talked. Then, she asked him if she could join him at the mosque. They began meeting each other regularly at the mosque. Huda said that he had helped her a lot. They were very friendly and respectful to each other. She liked his character and personality. Mohammed was also helpful with her learning English and studying. He was always trying to help her. Huda and Mohammed spent a lot of time together reading the Quran and studying the life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Huda and Mohammed got engaged. Huda said she and Mohammed were happy, and everything went well. Her job as an Assistant Manager at Taco Bell paid well, and she finally completed the advanced level of her ESL classes. Huda and Mohammed continued to be happy. They married, and Huda started living with Mohammed and his family. She said she felt comfortable with Mohammed and his family; they loved her too. Huda said that the family was very nice and warm to her.
Huda was happy to have a family that loved her and that she was successful in the United States of America. A short while after she got married, Huda became pregnant. She had twins, and now she felt her life was complete. She now had a family of her own, a husband she respected and loved, and a job that paid well. She worked hard to reach this happy stage of her life, but it was all worth it. She was happy she decided to move to the United States of America and start a new life.
English Learners, what did you think of this story? What did you like, and what did you want to be different? How would you continue this story? Add your insights in the comments section below.
Activity: Multiple-Choice Questions
Directions: Please take out a sheet of paper or use your notebook to write your answers. Once you write your answers on your paper, please review the answer key below.
- Based on the passage, why did Huda want to move to the United States?
A. To find a good career
B. To start her own family
C. To learn English
D. All of the above
- What does the phrase “Green Card Lottery” most likely mean in the passage?
A. A lottery to win money
B. A lottery to win a trip to the United States
C. A lottery to win a green card and move to the United States
D. A lottery to win a job in the United States
- According to the passage, how did Huda learn to use public transportation in the United States?
A. Through her English classes
B. By watching TV shows and movies
C. By asking her neighbors
D. By reading books at the library
- Which of the following best describes Huda’s English language skills when she first arrived in the United States?
- What helped Huda improve her English skills the most?
A. Taking English classes at night
B. Watching American television and films
C. Reading books at the library
D. Having a Spanish-speaking job at Disneyland
- What does the word “fluently” mean in the sentence “She struggled to speak the English language fluently”?
A. Clearly and accurately
B. Slowly and hesitantly
C. Loudly and confidently
D. Quietly and shyly
- According to the passage, what did Huda do to learn vocabulary words in English?
A. Took vocabulary quizzes at her English class
B. Looked for free books to read at the library
C. Asked her English teacher for help
D. Practiced with flashcards every morning
- How did Huda find a job at Disneyland?
A. Through her English teacher
B. By applying online
C. By talking to her neighbors
D. Through a job fair
- Why was Huda happy with her job at Disneyland?
A. Because she made a lot of money
B. Because she worked with her friends
C. Because she got free food
D. Because she liked the restaurant’s food
- What did Huda do to improve her English fluency?
A. Continued to study English at night
B. Started learning a new language
C. Applied for a scholarship
D. Moved to a different city
- What does the word “heritage” mean in the sentence “him being Muslim would help her stay in touch with her heritage”?
A. Family background and culture
B. Religious beliefs and practices
C. Personal interests and hobbies
D. Career goals and aspirations
- How did Huda and Mohammed meet?
A. At work
B. At school
C. At a mosque
D. Through a mutual friend
- What did Huda and Mohammed spend a lot of time doing together?
A. Watching TV shows and movies
B. Reading books about history
C. Studying the Quran and the life of the Prophet Muhammad
D. Learning new languages
- What milestone did Huda achieve after getting married?
A. Having twins
B. Completing her ESL classes
C. Buying a new car
D. Winning a scholarship
- How did Huda feel about her life in the United States at the end of the passage?
A. Frustrated and disappointed
B. Content and fulfilled
C. Anxious and uncertain
D. Ambitious and motivated