Student Spotlight: Nilab Haidary

Nilab is 35 and moved to the U.S. two years ago from Afghanistan. She attended OACES (Office of Adult and Career Education Services) last year for approximately a month. OACES recently called and asked if she was interested in coming back since their reopening this Fall. Nilab decided it was time and she signed up for English classes and the CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) program.

Before coming to OACES, Nilab was scared, nervous, and reluctant about coming back. Despite these feelings, Nilab persevered and comes to school all day every day.

Digital Literacy to Nilab means sometimes using her phone to do things she didn’t know she could, like using translating apps and navigating the internet with ease. Taking classes in a language you don’t know online is more than difficult and Nilab is grateful for her opportunity to take classes in person. However, that does not mean her schooling ends when she leaves the building. Nilab continues her studies virtually while at home. Being literate digitally allows for Nilab to do essentially all her studying online if need be. She has all these new resources literally at her fingertips.

When asked “has it [school] changed your life? If so, how?”, Nilab explained that her English has significantly improved. When she came to the U.S., Nilab did not know any English. Now, she is in the highest level of English at OACES. Nilab appreciates her teacher’s patience more than anything. She credits her enjoyable class time to her friendly classmates. Nilab explained that every student is like family and how they all help each other out.

English class at OACES teaches you more than just the language. Students are taught about American culture and more, all while learning about their classmate’s native cultures.

Right now, Nilab is a volunteer at RHR (Refugees Helping Refugees). She was a tailor back home and is teaching the sewing class at RHR. Nilab has been able to use these skills to help the community by making masks during this pandemic.

Back home, because of the war, Nilab was not able to live a good life and feel comfortable doing the things she wanted. Her husband was working with the U.S. military. Due to the Taliban and war, it was not safe for her and her husband to stay in Afghanistan.

Nilab looks forward to improving her English and becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant in the near future.

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