The Student News Site of Granite Bay High School

Granite Bay Today

The Student News Site of Granite Bay High School

Granite Bay Today

The Student News Site of Granite Bay High School

Granite Bay Today

The Beauty and Burden of Being Bilingual

GBHS students recount their on-campus experiences of learning in English when it wasn’t their first language

What would you feel like, if your whole life suddenly flipped upside down? Imagine you arrive in America for the first time. Now, you have to learn a whole new language, go to a new school, meet new people in a short period of time. 

You’re scared, lost and stressed. That’s exactly what multilingual students on campus felt when they moved to the States.  

Being a new student on campus and not speaking English fluently is a complicated process and definitely an overwhelming experience. Being shaped by a different culture and language comes with judgment and insecurities. 

“I received a lot of criticism because I didn’t really know good English. And now I know English and people accept me more, but when I didn’t, they would just judge me because of my accent,” Sandra Bonilla, a sophomore at Granite Bay High School said. 

Story continues below advertisement
Sandra Bonilla

The experience of trying to fit in a whole strange society can come with being rejected by different groups of people.

“I’ve always received some criticism about my English because I obviously didn’t know English that well. A lot of my friends would leave me out and somebody would talk bad about me because I didn’t know English that well,” Bonilla said.

Multilingual students often receive judgment for just being different, and have to deal with the feeling of being ashamed for not speaking English well. Being a bilingual student also comes with potential discrimination and unreasonable bullying.

“Not at the school, but when I first moved here there were people who would criticize me, because I didn’t pronounce everything the proper way, and then I would get looks, but that was pretty much it. It’s gotten pretty low,” Senior Ruhi Singh said. 

Ruhi Singh

“At the beginning, it was hard to understand what the teachers were saying because sometimes they would talk too fast,” Singh said. 

The most common challenge between all bilingual or multilingual students is remembering a lot of new vocabulary and using it.

“The most challenging part for me was definitely  remembering all the words in the English language,” Bonilla said. 

It’s all about responsibility, goal setting, putting in all effort and practicing a lot. You have to understand no one will do it for you but yourself. 

“Remembering all the words in the English language was very hard and difficult and I had to study them a lot in order to, like, receive good grades and everything,” Bonilla said.

It takes a while before a person finally feels confident in speaking English and gets that feeling of belonging to American society. 

“I’m gonna be honest with you. It took me about two years,” Bonilla said. 

“There was this one day I went up to my friend group and I was like ‘Hey guys’ and then they were like: ‘Wow, your accent went away!’ They’re like ‘ You can actually speak English now’ And I was like: ‘I don’t know if that’s a compliment or if that’s an insult, but I’ll take it,'” Bonilla said

Feeling accepted is also about finding the right people and surrounding yourself with them. Support definitely plays an important role in the process of adaptation.

“It was very difficult but on the bright side, I’m glad I’m bilingual. And look how well I speak it now. And over time your accent goes away,”  Bonilla said. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

Comments may not be immediately displayed.
All Granite Bay Today Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *