It’s a new year and ESL classes have resumed at Las Casitas apartments. For me, as the new HCET ESL intern, it’s been an exciting time to become familiar with the work Iskashitaa does through teaching English in the refugee community. In our first weeks of classes we have begun a unit on finances that will cover everything from counting money to paying bills and using credit. Our first lesson involved learning to distinguish between coins and counting change. This might seem like a simple task, but it’s easy to forget that, unlike many other currencies, US coins don’t include a numeral indicating their value anywhere on the coin. Through games and role-playing activities, our students have learned to identify coins quickly and use coins and small bills to pay in store setting. In the next few weeks we hope to being teaching about credit cards and good ways to manage finances.
However, while teaching has been fulfilling, some of our most rewarding experiences have not been in the classroom at all. While in the process of recruiting students, we had the opportunity to visit some of the refugees in their homes. I greatly enjoyed getting to meet the families of some of our students, including drinking juice with them and watching a Nepali film, as well as hearing a little bit about their lives here. I hope that as this semester continues I will have more opportunities to build relationships with out students outside the classroom and be able to learn more about their culture and lives from them.