Immigrant Stories: Yazmín García
Immigrant Stories: Yazmín García
Meet Yazmín García, known by friends and family as Yaz. She and her family are from Monterrey, Mexico, where she worked as a chemist in a food lab for seven years in the nutrition and physiochemistry departments. She really enjoyed her work at the lab, especially the chance to put into practice all the theories and skills she learned in university, such as using high-performance liquid chromatography to analyze the components of different foods.
Yazmín, her husband, and their dog, Manchas, came to the United States on October 31, 2021 when her husband accepted a position as a mechanical engineer for a company in Bryan. Upon first arriving, Yazmín was struck by how expansive the city of Bryan seemed and how little traffic there appeared to be when compared to the compact, crowded streets of Monterrey. She appreciates the quiet tranquility of Bryan and the southern hospitality of its residents, mentioning feeling welcomed and well-received in the community despite being from another country. Nevertheless, Yazmín experienced homesickness – missing her friends, family, and former career in Mexico – and she struggled with the culture shock that accompanies anyone who moves to a country where they don’t speak the language.
Despite these challenges, Yazmin decided to ‘ponte las pilas’ (not give up) and to look for English classes. After searching online and receiving a recommendation from a friend, she enrolled in BIIN’s Conversational English classes in early 2022. She found comfort in joining a community of people who, just like her, were learning English while already living in the U.S. She remembers feeling very welcomed by her teachers, and was impressed that they were able to form connections with their students, even though at that point most classes were still online. In class, Yazmín stands out as an excellent student. As one of the more advanced students in the intermediate level Conversational English class, she is always ready to participate in class discussions and often helps explain tricky grammar concepts to her classmates.
When asked what she appreciates about the program, Yazmín said that the classes are fun and that she learns authentic, colloquial English words and phrases that she can use in her everyday life that may not be found in a textbook. Additionally, she appreciates the support from the volunteers who attend every class. Her conversation skills blossomed in the small volunteer-led breakout rooms, where she was able to have more personal conversations and practice speaking English, and her comprehension skills improved from listening to the various English-speaking accents each volunteer offered. She wants to thank the volunteers for their dedication, friendliness, and support. Her only wish is that the classes would happen more frequently during the week!
When she’s not in English class, Yazmín devotes time to taking online courses that cover topics she is interested in, such as food quality. She also loves to draw and paint, and watches movies and TV shows in English for a bit of extra practice outside of the classroom. She is also very devoted to her dog.
Yazmín commented that although her life has taken a “180° turn” from what it was like in Mexico, she feels grateful to be on this new adventure in the U.S. Her goals for the future are to continue improving her English so that she can better communicate with native speakers.
Please help pave the way for future students like Yazmín, and consider donating to BIIN. Funds are needed to cover the cost of textbooks, classroom space (rent/utilities), phone/internet, volunteer coordination, and other program costs. With your help, we can ensure that Yazmín and others have the support they need to reach their goals.
Thanks to Gloria McIntush, Conversational English intern in spring 2022, for interviewing Yazmín and writing this portrait of her.