Living in a Different Country


My 8th grade school lunch card.

Ketsia Dimpolo, Staff Reporter

Within my 4 years of living in the United State of America, I have learned a lot. I remember when I was in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). I used to take the English class, because we were obligated to take it, but I never liked it. I felt like it was a waste of time, and because of that I never understood what my teacher was teaching us. Now that I’m here in the U.S.A., literally nobody has to tell me to learn English, because I have too. If not, living here without knowing English would have been stressful. I only knew how to speak two languages when I first came here and it was French and Lingala. 

Many people ask me how do I know how to speak French and some people think that I’m from France because it’s where French is spoken. Most of the schools in Congo teach French, just like the school I attended. We spoke French because Congo was colonized by Belgians in 1867. But beside that, Congo has 4 languages and more than 200 dialects. 

My first year in 7th grade was really tough, because it’s a completely different country and almost everything is different from my country. All I knew in English were the greetings, and the name of the colors. I remember one student, who is my friend now, tried to talk to me but I rejected her because I couldn’t understand anything. I was Google translating almost everything we were doing in class and the person who really helped me during my two years in middle school was Mrs. Evelyn Recinos. Mrs. Evelyn is a really nice teacher. For my first year, almost everything was difficult for me, especially switching classes. I was confused for a whole week, because in Congo students don’t switch classes. Switching classes is the teacher’s job.

In Congo, students were required to dress up in uniforms. If you don’t have your uniform on, you won’t even go through the main door because they had guards. Students were also required to braid their hair in a style the school approved. No jewelry was allowed and students had to leave phones at home otherwise they would take it from you and give it back at the end of the school year. But here, it is the opposite. It was hard for me to eat American food for a few weeks and then I got used to it.  Now as a junior, even though I don’t fully speak English, I can understand, communicate, and write. I will continue to learn and work hard. When I graduate, I want to go to college and study to become a nurse in Omaha.