US-Born Student Struggles with Academics

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DONNA – A Hidalgo County student said he has to put more effort to adapt to his new life in the U.S.

Bryan Duran is currently a student at Donna High School.

“I was born here, and around when I was about four years old we went back to Mexico,” he said.

Duran said his parents decided to move their family back to the U.S. six months ago. He said adapting a new school and learning a different language proved difficult.

“The first barrier, of course, is the language. The second barrier is the culture, and number three, of course, would be the translation,” he said.

Duran said he has to work extra hard to complete his homework. He said many times it takes him twice as long to understand as it would for English-speakers.

“I read the sentence and translate it in my head, and then I write it in English,” he explained. “It is a slow process, and one of the things that I’ve found hard to do is when people talk to me in English and I’m thinking in Spanish.”

Donna High School counselor Araceli Garza said students like Duran face challenges beyond academics. She said their shyness can make them feel uncomfortable.

“Many of the students are just trying to survive, they are trying to survive academically and they are trying to survive socially,” she said. “Despite all of the opportunities and the programs that we have, some of them still feel very much alone.”

Garza said immigrant students who face these tough challenges tend to work harder.

Duran agreed saying he’s willing to do whatever it takes to become a pediatrician.

Garza added there are 30 other students at Donna High School learning English. She said they are still expected to complete their core classes required by the state in order to graduate. 


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