Why do I study English and where will English bring me?

Ingrid Kubisa
Fall 2017 Essay Contest

Why do I study English and where will English bring me?

Why English?

Human beings rely on good communication to help them in their relationships with one another. However, not everybody speaks the same language. Language is a key to many opportunities and in order to get those opportunities, people should be able to understand each other. Being able to be understood and to understand other people is a big step to good communication.

My name is Ingrid Kubisa. I was born in Democratic Republic of Congo, known as a war-torn country. I would like to share a little bit about an experience in my life, which inspired me to further my education in an English-speaking school. I plan to study International Relations and Communications at Gustavus Adolphus College. I believe that these two fields of study will enable me to do the type of work I aspire to do. My father is the founder of an organization called Let Africa Live (LAV) which is an organization that helps children and women who were victims of rape, and also children who were in the army. I was 4 years old when my father created LAV. He took me with him on his travels around the country to search for women and children who were victims of war. I did not understand what was really going on at that age. As I got older I started to understand what my father was doing and I was inspired by how my parents helped people. I started to feel a call to do similar work. In high school, I started by giving food to some "street kids" who are children who do not have families or do not have a place to live. I became friends with some of them and I encouraged them go to Let Africa Live where they could get free job training. I was happy to see some of them changing their lives.

After I finished high school I called my dad when he was here in Minnesota and asked him if I could volunteer at Let Africa Live. He was very excited! I worked with children who were born by rape. I learned that these children were not considered citizens. Other volunteers and I decided to meet with government officials to ask if they could recognize those children as citizens. It was hard to convince these officials because to become a citizen you have to know both of your parents but these children did not know their fathers. One time, I interviewed a girl who was raped when she was my age and it made me reflect on my life and what I would be able to contribute to my country. Since that day I made a commitment that one day I will help at least one woman or child.

As I had the opportunity to move to the United States, to learn a new language and a new culture; here are some ways that I believe my English skills could help me achieve my goals. I believe that the education that I will get here will help me to change lives. First am planning on improving my English skills and finishing my studies. Being able to communicate fluently in English will help me inform other people about my plans and build friendships or partnerships. After finishing my studies, I will go back to my country to open a school which will grant the student with the opportunity to learn almost everything I had a chance to learn in the United States. Because I know that by the time I will graduate from Gustavus, I will be fluent in English.

My English skills will also enable me to advocate for those women and their kids and to defend myself anywhere in the world because English is an international language. Communication skills in English are very important because speaking English is almost mandatory for everyone who want to prosper in the international world. Because being able to communicate help people to share their idea and express themselves. I remember being in class and most of the time I cannot share my opinion because I do not know how to say it in English but also the time I laugh just because my classmate did so without even understand what they were saying. Knowing English will also help me to be comfortable traveling anywhere and communicate without complex or shame with many people. For example, when I started at Gustavus and I had to meet for the first time my roommate. I was uncomfortable because my English was not good enough so I was wondering how are we going to communicate. But also, the day I went in the dining room and ask for a burger because I did not know the name of other foods that were there in English. There are so many times where I felt ashamed and go back in my room and wanted to give up. But also, those same moment were giving me hope because I was telling myself that I can do it. And knowing that I am not the only one in the same situation because other people are also learning other languages was giving me strength too. English also help to break the barriers between cultures, as well as learning new cultures but also sharing mine. I speak more than two languages and I have seen the advantage of being able to communicate with others. It helps people express their needs and wants and helps prevent misunderstanding.