From: Lisandro Ochoa
Subject: CASS experience report
Date: July 2, 2007
This report is presented with the aim of letting people know more about the Cass students’ role, involvement, and impact in the society in which they live in when they come to United States. This particular report also shows the process the CASS students go through during the two years they spend in aprogram that prepares them to be successful in their home countries. Moreover, this report gives us some of the thoughts and feelings of those guys who come to this country following a dream. These guys are taking back to their home countries the knowledge and skills that will allow them to make a difference.
Living with host families
The experience of being CASS students gave us the opportunity toknow about the life style of the American families. Since we came to this country, each one of us was sent to live with an American family. I was lucky of having a México-American host mother. Nevertheless, it was not easy at the beginning. I was used to live by myself, which caused some problems with my host mother who worried too much about my well-being. Moreover, I had to follow specificrules about my expected behavior inside the house as well as outside and in family reunions. Communication was not a problem in my case because my host mother speaks Spanish perfectly. My first weeks at the Morales’ house were the time I needed to adapt myself to my new life style. Because I come from a poor family, I did not know how to operate many of the electro domestics that people use everydayin this country such as washer machines, dryers, microwaves, dishwasher, and some others. This situation put me in trouble many times. I am thankful to my host mother because it was her who took time to help my host bother Norvin and I with the language. She even used to sit with us and make us read books for little kids. I really liked the people I had as host family. Even though I supposed tolive with my host family just the first ten months, I still visit them and spend the weekends over their house. Moreover, when people ask me if I have family here I respond that I do have a family here.
A college student
One of the many requisites to be elected as a CASS student is to be a good student. The CASS program expects the students to continue being good once we start the college level.But even though one used to be good student in one’s country educational system it is difficult to adapt yourself to a new educational system when you do not even know the language. I am conscientious that the education we received at STLCC was a quality one. But I am also conscientious that it was hard for the CASS students to do well in their classes, especially at the beginning of the programwhen the majority of us did not speak any English. I have to recognize that through our two years at STLCC- Florissant Valley we have very good instructors who understood and helped us. We all start taking classes one week after we arrived here. It was so hard because none of us understood the classes neither the assignments. After having taken three English classes, our career related classesstarted on the spring semester of the next year of our arrival. By that time we already spoke some English. Once we got to the point when we were taking just career related classes, it got harder. We used to get to college early in the morning and leave for home late at night. Some people have told us that we take more classes in a single semester than the regular American students do. I know that ithas not been easy to success in the united state educational system, but I am confident that the education and skills we have gotten here will be helpful for us to make our future a better one.
What we learn from books might be forgotten, but our experience will be with us for a lifetime. Only the fact of being interns at any organization constitutes a great opportunity for...