BHS senior sees broadening opportunities for her future in America that others might take for granted

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BHS senior sees broadening opportunities for her future in America that others might take for granted

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Madison Arnold, Staff Writer

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Imagine leaving everything you’ve ever known- going to a foreign place, where there is much uncertainty, and being overwhelmed by many challenges, such as a language barrier.

For Biddeford High School Senior Natalie Nguyen, this was her reality when she immigrated from Vietnam in the fifth grade. She still faces challenges such as a language barrier in her everyday life as a high schooler now.

When she came to America it was very exciting for Nguyen, and she immediately saw the value and opportunity she had here. When Nguyen first came to America, she resided with her grandfather in California.

As Nguyen described how she felt on her first day in America, she knew the transition would be challenging, yet she was hopeful.

“I was excited. I didn’t know what America [would] be like, and I’m curious about what would happen next in the future,” said Nguyen.

Nguyen’s excitement and dreams soon became a reality as she took hold of her future. In Vietnam she had less educational opportunity and would have already been a part of the workforce at this age. Nguyen realizes that if she had remained in Vietnam her future would look very different than the one she looks forward to now.

I’m lucky that my family immigrated to America because I have the opportunity to study which if I was in Vietnam right now, I would not afford to go to college,” Nguyen said. “I would not be able to achieve my dream of becoming a dental hygienist.”

Many people may think about the cliches of the “American Dream,” but as citizens of the United States, many people take the opportunities presented here for granted. Nguyen’s family saw the value of the life they could achieve here in America.

“We emigrated to [the] United States for a better job, a better life,” Nguyen said.

Not only did Nguyen seek a better life for herself here, but she did so while overcoming the major obstacle of a language barrier. When she first arrived here, she didn’t know any English. This made it very hard for her to reach out and connect with other students her age and become involved in school activities.

Language is the biggest barrier, because I feel like if you live in a place that you don’t understand [what] other people are saying,it makes you feel really upset and lonely,” said Nguyen.

Despite the challenges Nguyen has faced she never envisions moving back to Vietnam. However, she may travel back there one day.

“I would probably miss the US because this is the place that I have lived in for a long time. I call this my home.”

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