International Insight: Education is difficult but worth risk

Gricelda Olvera

Education in Mexico is much different than in America. In my country, education is available to everyone. Every child is required to attend kindergarten through grade six, after which students can choose to attend high school, go to work, or stay home.

Grades in Mexican schools are not the same as American grades, so I finished grade six when I was fifteen years old. Even though I had completed these years of education in Spanish, I was totally shocked and unprepared to enter an all English-speaking high school.

When I came to the United States of America from Aguascalientes, Mexico on May 15, 2009, the first place I needed to go was to high school. For me, high school was like a haunted house because I did not understand anything. I had never studied any English before coming to America, so I had absolutely no idea what everyone was saying.

It was really difficult to communicate with other people and my teachers, so I had to do my homework by myself. After a while, the teachers assigned a helper to me, but that was not a good idea. I just copied the assignments and I felt silly because I did not understand them.

I decided to not go to school anymore and only went two days per week. I was so disappointed in myself, and I was getting depressed. I missed a whole month of school.

I decided to attend classes for adults in the afternoon at Noel’s Adult Education Center. I began to think about my decision and saw that was not good, so I went back to school, but this time was different.

I motivated myself instead of copying the assignments and I tried to do my homework by myself. I saw that I understood a little bit more each day, but I was not completely happy. I just kept working harder although I did not receive too much help from my teachers.

Finally, I graduated from high school in May 2013. I was scared to continue studying. I decided not to come to college, but my friend convinced me to come. She told me that at Crowder College I would get help with English and she was right.

Now I’m here in college and feel better because I know more English and can understand and communicate with others. Five years ago I never dreamed I would have this opportunity. The risk of coming to college despite not knowing much English was and is worth it.


“International Insight” is a monthly column that highlights different topics from around the globe, each written by a different international student in order to get a broader perspective of the world in which we live.