Before coming to the United States, Nora owned her own business in Somalia, selling coffee, tea, and snacks.
She had many customers and knew a lot of people. So the isolation she felt when she moved to Minnesota was a stark contrast. At first, Nora didn’t leave the house, let alone talk to people. She couldn’t even go to the grocery store on her own. “I stayed home all [the] time because I don’t know English. You feel like a lost person if you don’t speak English. If you can’t find a translator, you can’t communicate because people can’t talk with you. I was very, very sad.”
Now, after two years, Nora feels more at home. She moved to the Philips neighborhood and has found community. The English Learning Center has helped her learn to communicate with others. She says, “Now I understand much more and can do things on my own! I have a job at a factory that makes shoes. I can go to the supermarket and buy my own groceries. I can ride the bus all alone and find places. It’s hard to say the right word, like here/there, or the right verb. [But] I’m learning. My life is changed from school.”