Maria's Carry On
Maria Alejandra Rivera was born in Cali, Colombia and moved to Florida, United States when she was in the first grade. The change in environments at such a young age was life changing. She faced a great deal of academic and social challenges as she made her transition into the English language and American culture. She had never been exposed to English prior to her move. Her mom went to school in Colombia to learn English before arriving to her new job in the United States, but this did not make the transition any easier for Maria. Maria felt ostracized socially and academically when she entered school, but it only made her want to learn English even more. The different environments Maria was exposed to allowed for her linguistic development to be selective. When she is at home, she only speaks Spanish, because it is an essential and personal way of communicating with her family. Whereas being at school made her have to speak English for her own academic successes. A narrative by Wendy Rodriguez resembles the selective linguistic development that Maria displays due to her change in environments. Rodriguez describes her experience learning to speak Spanish due to her parent’s persistence that she speak Spanish at home and English at school. It is very obvious through her efforts in translating for her parents in many different awkward situations. Although these two learning experiences were established differently, they both exemplify that the notion of having environmental exposure is imperative to attaining a second language. This change in environment allowed for Rodriguez to challenge her fluency in Spanish as well as Maria's fluency in English. Maria faced some challenges with the change in environments, but she persevered in attaining fluency in the English Language.