Tag Archives: learning English

No frills English learning: a Chinese nurse in the USA

Some years ago I worked with a Chinese nurse who I came to admire very much.
This is her story. She had a difficult family and living situation in China, where she was a doctor in a rural community, so she decided to go to the U.S.A. When she arrived in the U.S.A she knew only a few basic phrases and the alphabet.

She entered the U.S.A. illegally but eventually got her citizenship and became a nurse.( This would be impossible nowadays because now if you ever stay illegally in the U.S.A nowadays you never get your legal residency, much less citizenship). When she arrived in Chinatown in N.Y.C. she got a job in an art gallery in the Chinese community . She bought three books, a Chinese English dictionary, a Chinese English medical dictionary, and a practice book for taking the NCLEX ,which is the official test to become a nurse in the United States. She looked at the nursing test questions and translated them word by word. She was teaching herself English at the same time she was preparing for the U.S.A nursing exam. For three years, after work, in any spare moment she had, she kept learning English and studying to become a nurse , word by word, on her own.

After three years she wanted to give up. It was so hard, she lived in such a small room, and she missed her daughter terribly. So for two months she stopped studying. Then after some time had passed she began to change her mind; she thought , ¨I have spent a lot money on the three books and most of all I want to do this for my family and daughter in China¨, so she started studying again.

About a years she was able to pass all the tests required to become a U.S.A nurse and a U.S.A. citizen, and you can be sure that doing all of that is not simple. Some years later she was able to bring her daughter live with her  in Queens , N.Y.C.

She is someone I will always remember , because despite many supposed barriers, she was persistent , and after much hard work was able to create a nice life for herself and her daughter. Congratulations to you Ms.W. !!!