A Long Way From Home

A Long Way From Home

While we are having seven subjects per semester, in Vietnam students must take 12 subjects per semester.

Thao Phan, a junior at Delta High School who started school in December, came from Tỉnh Bình Phước,Vietnam four months ago with her family to the United States to live with her uncle. 

Not knowing English well is hard to learn at American schools. To help her with her English she is in an English as a Second Language (ESL) class in Mrs. Amanda Craw’s room. 

Students in Vietnam wear school uniforms and go to school from 7 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Because of a short day of school, they attend six days per week instead of five, but because there are 12 subjects, they are broken into 5-6 subjects per day.  

“Monday I will wear Áo Dài and one day I will wear gym clothes. The rest of the days I will wear trousers and a white shirt,” Thao said.

Áo Dài is a national Vietnamese costume.

Photo of an ao dai. Photo Provided.

Thao likes to be independent. She doesn’t like to get help from teachers with her homework. Instead she uses Google Translate to translate her homework from English to Vietnamese. 

If she needs help, she asks Mrs. Emily Lamb, special service teacher.

“Academically I help very little,” Mrs. Lamb said. “She simply does that all on her own by using either a translator or just working very hard to figure things out.”

Not knowing a language that is spoken in a country, is hard to communicate with people. Because of this she is a quiet person. 

“I think that it is just her personality that she is quiet,” Mrs. Lamb said, “but when you actually get to talk to her she knows a lot about English in regards to writing. She knows a lot of the rules of English. I think it is just that she is more hesitant to try and produce English because it is a harder thing to do than to write it.”

This was Mrs. Lamb’s first school year helping students who are from a different country and who almost don’t speak any English.  In addition to Thao, junior Yarik Kobernyk from Ukraine is enrolled this year.

“I have worked with Yarik this year, but this is my first year that I have ever worked with students who don’t know English.” Mrs. Lamb said.

After school, Thao goes home and enjoys her day by reading comic stories and watching movies.

One major thing that she likes about her country is the beautiful scenery. One place where Thao suggests you could see it, is in the city of Da Lat. Da Lat is a beautiful city with a population of 425,000 people.

Photo of Da Lat. Photo provided.

Mrs. Lamb worries that Thao won’t be able to enjoy her Delta experience because of her quiet personality. 

“I think her culture that she is used to, the Vietnamese culture is a lot different than our culture, so I think it has been difficult for her to reach out and to meet new people,” Mrs. Lamb said. “ I think a lot of people are a little hesitant to talk with her because she is so quiet, so I do worry about her not talking to anybody throughout the school day.”

Hopefully Thao’s English will improve so it would be easier to socialize, to build new relationships and to enjoy her Delta experience.

March 7, 2023

About Author

Daniel Tokar

danieltokar Daniel Tokar is a freshman at DHS. He plays tennis at DHS. He lived in Ukraine for 9 years. He is a Ukrainian and US citizen. He loves pizza and vareniki.


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