Summer 2017

Dear ESOL Students,

Thank you for sharing your essays,
drawings, photographs, and poems of
Life in the Big Apple with us. Like this
magazine, what makes New York
City—the Big Apple—a unique and
vibrant place to experience life are the
diversity and rich culture that each of
you has contributed to it. You have
worked incredibly hard this
semester, and we are proud of all your
accomplishments. Please enjoy your
work and the work of others that show
us your commitment to learning. We
wish you much success—whether in
your education, career, family, or
community.

Best wishes in all you strive to do,
Community Impact ESOL Team,
August, 2017
Community Impact @ Columbia University
PUBLISHED BY
Community Impact, Columbia University

DESIGNED BY

CAMILLE CHARETTE, DYLAN ROSE

EDITED BY

CAMILLE CHARETTE
SPECIAL THANKS

ESOL SPEAKS is the creative writing journal of the Jobs and Ed-
ucation Empowerment Project (J.E.E.P.)’s ESOL program at
Community Impact, Columbia University. Manuscripts are orig-
inal and unpublished poetry, short stories, and personal essays
from students enrolled in the Summer 2017 semester.

Views and opinions expressed in this journal belong to their re-
spective authors, and are not intended to represent the views of
Community Impact.

Inquiries about the journal, about our organization or our vari-
ous programs, may be directed to:

J.E.E.P.
Community Impact
Columbia University
105 Earl Hall, MC 2010
New York, NY 10027
J.E.E.P.
PHILOSOPHY
The philosophy of the Jobs and Education Empower-
ment Project (J.E.E.P.) is to endow our students with
the basic knowledge and analytical skills that are nec-
essary to be successful in college or in the workplace.
While current political and social trends emphasize
placing people in jobs, we firmly believe that adults
cannot perform effectively unless they possess the
core educational building blocks that can help them
become productive workers and articulate college
students. The Test for Assessing Secondary Comple-
tion (TASC) Preparatory Program seeks to achieve a
balance between the immediate goal of helping our
students earn their High School equivalency diploma
and the more long-term goal of producing students
who are critical thinkers and articulate speakers and
writers. Community Impact has been running TASC
classes successfully since 1987.
ESOL Speaks Summer 2017:

Life in the Big Apple

Table of Contents
***
Level 1…………………………………………..8
Level 2………………………………………….18
Level 3………………………………………….29
Level 4………………………………………….41
Level 5………………………………………….60
Level 6………………………………………….78

***

Front cover design by Lucy Rojas

Back cover design by Alicia Yang
Photo by Mario Rocha, Level 1
Level 1
Reianaly Silva
"LIFE IN THE BIG APPLE"

New York City, the city that never sleeps, the world's capital
and the place where you find love, has high and lows.

For example, most of the time you miss your home and
your family. Sometimes you even feel that all is lost, but the
high of the city is that it gives you the opportunity to meet
people of diverse cultures. You can take the advantage too
to know someone and to run into the love of your life, in on-
ly a blink of an eye. Like in my case.

Another high is, that in this city you can also make incredi-
ble friends, friends that end up being your new family.

I didn't know that I had family in the US, Mexico, Bolivia,
Ecuador, France and even Turkey. Only in New York you
have the opportunity to discover that many friends are will-
ing to give you a hand.

Rosemary Arzu

I came from Honduras.

I live in Manhattan. In the Big Apple, I love its streets, its
parks, its shops. Even the trains, without forgetting the piz-
za.

8
View of Times Square at St. Cloud rooftop.

Photo by Reianaly Silva

9
Sulaica Mejia

I live in New York, I am Dominican Republic. I like New
York the persons of here, because diversity of culture in
New York, I am part of her.
I have been residing since 2012. New York is my city.
For reasons of work and my children's it was very difficult
to study inglish, now Community Impact and teacher Dylan
help me learn inglish.

Guess where I am!
Broadway Downtown.

Elianny Suverbi
I came from Dominic Republic. I live in Manhattan. In the
Big apple, I like to go shopping, Meeting with my family
and friends. I’m very happy in new york.

Sergio De La Cruz

I live in Manhattan my family live on Astoria Sometimes I
go to visit to my family, and we go to the beach. I am hap-
py we my family I love my Family very mush.

10
Bahar Usta

Diversity and respect I see from my new life and my dream
city.

It was September when I came to New York. When I got
off the plane, I was looking around with curiosity because
everything was different for me. My husband said welcome
to the gray city. I had wondered about the city. When it
gets dark, bright lights shine from everywhere and I under-
stand why people call NYC "the city that never sleeps. "

I was very excited because everything is new and different
for me. The history of the city, architecture of the buildings,
traffic rules, and people: everything is amazing.

The more I start to meet new people, the more I start to
like NYC. People are friendly and warm. It makes me feel
comfortable and happy. I also started making friends from
all different cultures and nationalities - it makes me feel
better.

Walking through different streets is the best way to under-
stand and explore the city. And the people here show me
that this country has a great culture.

Adelma Melendez

I came from Dominican Republic I live in the Bronx. In the
Big Apple I shopping.
I love to go shopping.
I like to go to the movies

11
THE LIFE IN THE
BIG APPLE
Paola Pizarro
Life in the Great Apple is awesome because the culture and
its diversity is very broad. To live here gives me opportunities
to study, meet people.
To live in NYC was hard but beautiful because here there
are big buildings, there are magnificent museums and parks.
The people here are very friendly and fun.

Now my family is happy, because all get up in the morning
and stay together without having to part.
THE LIFE IN NYC MANHATTAN IS GREAT.

12
Photo by Paola Pizarro

13
Photo by Mario Rocha

Mario Rocha
“I LOVE NEW YORK”
These words I heard a long time ago in my country, Brazil.
I did not know what they meant. Today, after four months
of living in New York, I think that is correct.

New York has educated people and wonderful places.
Here, everything works - for instance, public transporta-
tion.

I have visited museums, Central Park, Washington
Square, and famous places like Times Square. I think that
in April 2018, when I go back to Brazil, I will feel a void.
Today, I am living in NYC because I love NEW YORK
CITY! I LOVE THE BIG

14
Abdoalletif Daifa

Hello, I'm Abdoalletif. I'm from Sudan. l came to the U.S. in
last May. l have been three month here in New York. l like
New York because it is beautiful and developed. The life in
U.S. is easy if you put correct plan. It's full of people from
any country in the world so l saw many different cultures
here. The life is comfortable so you can do anything: study
and work, work and study. Also, the weather is beautiful in
New York. New York is safe. All people smiles. They don’t
assault to another.

Shahnoza Khaydarzoda
“MY LIFE IN THE BIG APPLE”
“Travel as much as you can, as far as you can, as long as
you can. Life is not meant to be lived in one place. “ Com-
ing to US was my biggest desire, traveling was my goal.
I’m Shakhnoza Khaydarzoda. I was born 1974, on Decem-
ber 12th. I'm married, I have a tree children. I wanted my
children to be educated people. That is why we came to
United State. Before I knew that, what life in the Big Apple
is good. People will help each other, in the face of people
have a smile. It's all very nice to me. But I had trouble in
talking, reading and writing. However I didn't gave up. My
son and my daughter are studying. My children liked life in
the Big Apple. My occupation in the US is Home Health
Aid. Now I have a school, and I beginning learn how to
speak English correctly. I really thankful for being in the
ESOL Speaks Summer. I liked this school. I see new
teachers and new friends. All of them had a nice relation-
ship with me. I reached my dreams, there is still more to
go. I hope I will graduate this first Level. I want to be suc-
cessful in next Level. I will more responsible. I'm thankful
for everything.

15
Level 2
Vanessa Carvalho

I am Vanessa Carvalho. I am from Brazil. I study at Level 2
from 4-6PM. I am a professional photographer. This is a
picture I took in Times Square.

16
Rokia Tamboura

New York is big and the most beautiful city I have ever
seen. I have been living in New York City for six months.
New York is the city where you can find different nationali-
ties and cultures.

New York is the city in which you can hear different lan-
guages from around the world. For example, when I go to
116th Street I feel like I’m at home. I can hear dialects
from five different countries in Africa.

New York people are very friendly. You can ask people for
directions when you are lost going somewhere. New York
is the city where you can find organizations like Communi-
ty Impact that care about non-English speakers and help
them to learn English for free. I enjoy going to free activi-
ties in Central Park. I went to Bryant Park with my sister for
bicycling.

Also, in New York City there are lots of amusement parks
for children and their family. I love New York City and New
York City is my home.

17
FAR FROM HOME

Priscila Tenesaca
That day I risked making a very important decision in my
life. The trip I so much anticipated: here I am away from
my family, my friends and my pets. A new stage of life with
people from different parts of the world - it is not easy, but
not impossible. The days pass so quickly that sometimes I
lose my sense of time. Family, someday we will meet
again. I will tell them everything I had to go through in this
country with different cultures and traditions to ours, in a
language that at first did not understand anything they told
me, but with the passing of time one is learning and that
fills me with pride. Nothing is accomplished overnight. It
often takes years to reach our goals. Everything I do is for
you, Mom. Every day I wake up and you tell me not to give
up. Great battles are accomplished with sweat and sacri-
fice. I love them.

18
Tatiana Shevchenko

My name is Tatiana. I live in New York for about 2 years.
New York is a fantastic city! I am 57 years old, but I feel
again young, because of the high speed of life in NYC.
There are so many opportunities for the development of
culture, education, and business. I'm studying English at
Columbia University. That's cool! I'm happy in this city!
God bless America and NYC!

Patricia Lopez
“LIFE IN THE BIG APPLE”

The biggest opportunities are in the big city. If you don't
find what you want in NYC, then it will be difficult to find it
in another place. In the Big Apple you can reach your
goals and achieve your dreams. Living in New York is your
opportunity to achieve something big in your life. There is
nothing you can't do in New York.

19
Aissatou Mahmud
Ladies and gentlemen and fellow students, my is
Aissatou Mahmud. I arrived in New York on February 14,
2014 at the age of 25. I was not able to speak English at
that time. I know it is very important for me to be able to
communicate with people in my new home. For this rea-
son, I decided to enroll in English language class at Co-
lumbia University in June 2016, but I was not able to finish
the class due to pregnancy complications.
I had a bouncing baby boy on January 28, 2017. I came
back to school this summer to study the English language.
My English has been improving and I am happy that I can
now communicate with people. I can also proudly call New
York my home because I have been living in it since 2014
and I am happily married with two boys, 2-year-old Ali
and 8-month-old Ameer.
Thank you.

Your Fellow Student,
Aissatou Mahmud

Aurora Sanchez
Getting to the Big Apple is awesome. There are so many
lights, skyscrapers, different communities. The Big Apple’s
subway is one of the most important forms of transporta-
tion. It is used by thousands and thousands of people-
poor, rich, old, teenagers, blacks, whites. On the subway
there are a number of artists who delight us with their
shows. It runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As a song
says, New York does not sleep.

20
Maria De Paz

Regina Then
“LIFE IN THE BIG APPLE”

I arrived in New York City in 1995. It was not easy to adapt
because I did not like the cold and I did not know the lan-
guage.

I stopped one day. I started to study English but I could
not. I started to work.

I have been able to get a good education. My plans are to
learn English so that I can have a good job and I can con-
tinue to help my children become professionals.

21
Maribel Herrera
“LIFE IN THE BIG APPLE”
This is Maribel from Peru, a country in South America. I
came to the United States with my siblings and my hus-
band 5 years ago. The were 5 and 10 years old. The rea-
son was to give opportunity to my children and us. They
will study hard to get into the best universities in the United
States.

We as parents work hard, too, to cover the needs from our
family. My husband worked as construction worker and I
as housekeeper. It was very hard at the beginning, but our
bodies adjusted little by little until we felt more stronger.

The bosses recognized our good work. They were grateful
and showed consideration for us. In our free time, we went
to different states in this country, with hills, beaches,
farms, etc for one week. When we came back to our daily
routine we had more energy to study and to work.

My plan is to continue studying English as second lan-
guage. When I finish I may study a career at two years.
Never is too late to begin to study. This country gives us
the opportunity to live well. We are grateful with this coun-
try. Also, there are organizations that help families by
providing information and services.

22
Rafael Perez
“NO PLACE LIKE NEW YORK”
New York City is a city that becomes your home right
away and can’t be replaced. I like the New York healthcare
system because it takes good care of the citizens’ and res-
idents’ health. There are many places where they don’t
have this system.

Also, New York City tries to take care of the green area,
like different parks of the city and the trees which are the
lungs of the city. Not to mention the transportation system
which is a very important part of New York. The buses and
trains are very organized, responsible, and efficient-but it
could be cheaper. Where people live is under the housing
system which is very expensive, and the apartments are
small.

Last, but not least, there is the security system which is
also very important. Police officers and firefighters contrib-
ute to the security of New York's citizens and residents.
Another important term are the waste pickers which help
keep the city cleaner. Finally, the quality of the food is very
good be-
cause of the
Food Pro-
tection
Quality Act
which pro-
tects every-
one by
making sure
what they
eat does
not harm
them.

23
Paula Lopez
“LIFE IN NEW YORK”

Beautiful New York City

24
The Statue the Liberty is a symbol for immigrants.

25
Vladimir Zakharav
“MY LIFE IN THE BIG APPLE”
I earned a green card and almost 5 months ago I arrived in
the USA. It's very big and beautiful country.

At first, I lived with my friends in New Jersey. They are al-
so from my country. They showed me what I needed to get
and to do, and I'm very grateful to them.

I was a busboy in a restaurant four days a week, but un-
derstood: It's not my work.

Now I'm HVAC installer (make fan system and air condi-
tioning). It's hard work. I get up at 7 o'clock and go to
work, then I go to classes at Columbia University. I like to
study (this essay is my personal progress in English).
Then I go back home at 10 PM. I'm very tired sometimes.

Right now I'm living in Queens, New York, and work in
Manhattan. I'm living with two girls I rent a room from for
$900. It's very expensive, but I haven't another way: I don’t
have a credit score, and I need to wait 6 some 6 months,
maybe less, and then I can rent my own apartment.

I have some friends and sometimes we make a trip.

What about my personal plans? Well, I have some plans,
but I change them all the time. Maybe I will become a truck
driver - I have a driver's license D category, I like to drive
car, and I want to travel all the roads in America.

I promise myself I will achieve my goals!

26
More than just the Statue of Liberty, Central Park and the Empire
State Building, NEW YORK features thousands of magical things
worth discovering, for example: the people and culture.

Text and photographs by Paula Lopez

27
Paula Lopez
“ART IN NEW YORK”

Siempre parece imposible hasta que se realiza

28
___________________Level 3
Leticia Uribe
“DREAM BIG”
My life in the Big Apple: it's a dream come true. A dream I
wake up to every morning. And I am shocked to live what
is the life of an immigrant. But life is very pleasant, espe-
cially when you enjoy each of its seasons. There are so
many different restaurants and parks to enjoy - that is what
makes the Big Apple one of the places most desired by
people.

Beatriz Mejia
Talk about New York City is amazing because is a wonderful
and great city where lives a lot of people from around the world.
Many different cultures are here. This city is like a small world.

When I came here three years ago I came alone and felt
scared. When arrived I lived with my brothers at 145th Street
and Lenox Avenue. After I started work in 110th and Broadway,
for my scare I never went out for eight months just I was work-
ing and for the first time I go out I was disappointed because I
saw a lot of garbage in midtown. I thought this was a clean city.
I saw the subway the same thing, garbage for all sides. It was
difficult for me finding friends.

After long time, walking in the street, I found “Asociacion Tepex-
ac.” An association where they help Latin people move forward,
where I found my best friends. I started to go out with them to
know the city and they helped me with the GED course. Since I
met this place, now my life has been a little easier. Except for
the work and life of stress that the people of this city have.

29
Kenia Ledesma
“LIFE IN NEW YORK”
Life in New York is the Big Apple because there is a lot of everything.
There are many opportunities, education, many attractions, different
cultures, styles, and religions.

When I moved from Dominican Republic to New York, it was a drastic
change with all the occupations of this city and the excessive time is
quickly consumed; as if the days are much less than 24 hours be-
cause New York is indeed a very busy city. The complicated transpor-
tation and the innumerable stores make life much easier because it is
both helpful and necessary. I love that everything is near and easily
accessible. For example, with the attractions of Times Square and
Central Park, anyone can have the best of both worlds. Also, there are
many romantic places such as the Circle Line boat that goes through
the Manhattan Skyline on the Hudson River, the Empire State Build-
ing, the High Line, and many more.

Overall, I am glad that both of my daughters have taken advantage of
New York’s many opportunities. New York is filled with opportunities in
every corner and I love that its most important priority is the promotion
of education and the insurance of security; which is due to the major
support of the Community Team and ESOL that has all of my gratitude
for its helpful opportunity.

Clara Zhicay
“LIFE IN THE BIG APPLE”
Life in the Big Apple is very nice because we can enjoy several tourist
places and there are also many shops to be able to go shopping. But
for someone who lives around the Big Apple the cost of living is very
expensive, and every morning there is lot of traffic, since the Big Apple
is also known as "the city that never sleeps." In the Big Apple, there
are different types of activities for either winter or summer.

30
Image collages by Kenia Ledesma
31
Claudia Diaz
“LIFE IN THE BIG APPLE”

32
Juliana Zapata
“THE BIG APPLE”
Starting a new life in the Big Apple is not easy.
Immigrants come to New York with their suitcases filled
with dreams and hope. They look for better opportunities
for them and their families based, on hard work.

Living in the Big Apple is experiencing the multicultural
diversity, different religion and background of each per-
son, but not forgetting that we are all human beings wor-
thy of respect and the chance to succeed in this country,
which is for everyone.

Jung-Im Chae
“HOMESICK”
I am not satisfied with living in New York. I love Central
Park, space, and museums. But I didn't enjoy because
almost I stayed alone. My friends are in my country and I
miss it.

Chung-Yu Li
“FIREFLIES”
New York City is a big city. Everyone look like very busy.
Manhattan everyone said that is crazy, noise, traffic, dirty.

My country is like Manhattan, so I don’t like Manhattan
but one thing I feel good: Fireflies! I live in Bayside. When
the night summer, always can discover many firefly. I
never saw the firefly in my city. Because there are lights
and no clean air. Everyone said firefly is beautiful. The
firefly really is a different bug.

33
Indhira Santos Polanco
“LIFE IN THE BIG APPLE”
The city of New York in the United States is better known
as The Big Apple. It is a place where we meet people of
different nationalities, religious beliefs, different ways of
thinking and facing life; where we have freedom of expres-
sion; where each person can find opportunities for work
and studies. Here, you can offer a better well-being to
each member of your family.

The Big Apple is very popular with tourists from all over the
world for its beauty, its buildings, its history, its museums,
parks, trains.

It is one of the cities that inspires movies, poems, pictures,
no matter the season of the year. The Big Apple is a beau-
tiful place.

Maria Maldonado
“THE LIFE IN THE BIG APPLE”
The big Apple is a beautiful city, I think is very dangerous
now in this time this city have plenty of places where we
can enjoy a lot of museums, theaters, a lot of Restaurant,
a lot of good coffee places I like the big apple because
provides you different facilities. How I enjoy this beautiful
city. I love this city. I love the Big Apple. No matter what, I
like living here in New York City.

34
William Vasquez
“LIFE IN THE BIG APPLE”

Life in the Big Apple is very fast. The people are fast, too.

The city is 3 months hot and 9 months cold.

The advantage of life in NYC is we have everything, but
everything is very expensive.

The Big Apple has activities every weekend, for example,
next Sunday is the Dominican Parade.

Photograph by William Vasquez

35
Yanfang Zhang
“LIFE IN THE BIG APPLE”
Life in the Big Apple. Different people have different
opinion, but I think it means life tastes sweet and
sometimes tastes sour.

New York City is my dream city. When I was child, I
saw a movie introduce New York City as "A city with-
out darkness." At that time, I told to myself, "I will go to
New York!!!"

Last year I came to my dream city. There are modern
buildings, various plants, a lot of activities, and so
many countries’ food!!!!! They all caught my heart! I
couldn’t believe I was really here!

But a few months ago, I felt alone. Here, everyone
has their own life. Some people go to work and the
others do the like. But it feels like only me, I have no
idea for my life and I don't know how to spend my
spare time. I tried to work as they are. But conversa-
tion is the most problem! I can't chat with people flu-
ently. Sometimes I can't express what I want, so it's
hard for me to get a job.

Fortunately, this year I joined this class at Community
Impact at Columbia University. They help non-native
English speakers to improve their English!!!! Thanks
to this class, I can chat with people that I thought it
was hard for me to communicate with before I joined
the class !!!! I think that was an improvement. I think I
will get a better job in the future!

Life in the Big Apple is really like a Big Apple!!!
36
Hatice Fakioglu Bagci
“RED LIGHT”
I am from Turkey. In my country we always stop at red
lights while we are walking. When we came in New York
City, we thought that it was so. In New York City, as soon
as we see red light while walking, we stopped. But we saw
many people who pass at red light.

My son asked me many times “why do we pass at red
light?” I couldn’t answer him. After long time, we found out
that people can pass at red light in New York City if there
isn’t any vehicle in the way. We are surprised about that.

Photograph by Ratree Cook
37
Ratree Cook
“LIVING IN NEW YORK CITY”
I have been living with my husband in Morningside Heights
for a year and a half. I like New York because there are
many things to see. We had fun riding the ferry to Staten
Island. We could see the Statue of Liberty and the New
York skyline very well. I also like to go to Chinatown and
try all of the different food. Also, there is a Thai grocery
store there that I often shop at because I can find almost
everything I need to cook my favorite food from home. Es-
pecially the spicy ones!

Photograph by Ratree Cook
38
MIHO FUJITA
“LIFE IN THE BIG APPLE”

“I am transferring to New York this summer.”

My husband said it to me last June. It was almost the
same time when we got married. My life in the Big Apple
suddenly started. This is the reason why I came here, and
it is my first chance to live abroad. Before I came here, I
had the image of N.Y. as an international and energetic
city. I think my image is right.

Everything felt fresh, and I remember that I was excited to
be here at the first day. But, there are not only good things
but also bad things. For example, streets are dirty, and the
subway always has delays. In addition, the store staff often
have a surly attitude. I experienced culture shock from
those things.

However, I feel better things than those ones. I can meet
many people who come from different countries, and make
friends from all over the world. It is very exciting to me. I
can learn the difference between their countries and my
country through our talking.

I also am fascinated by someone who has a different back-
ground when I talk with her or him. It is a good opportunity
for me to think about not only my country but also myself. I
seldom had time to think about myself when I lived in my
country, because I was busy with my job. Now, it is a good
time to review my past life and have the vision of my fu-
ture. I want to keep learning English as a step for my bet-
ter future.

39
Paulina Rifka Valencia
“LIFE IN THE BIG APPLE”

In my opinion New York City is the heart and soul of the
U.S.A. Its beauty and charm, it buildings, its theaters, its restau-
rants and waterways are tops.

I love to visit the Central Park lake the most because it reminds
me of the lake in a park near my home in Ecuador when I was a
child. We had picnics during the summer and played tennis there
too. Now in New York I also enjoy those activities only now I'm
with my husband and daughter in Central Park. In Coney Island
my daughter has so much fun riding on all kinds of rides.

In the winter months we have the opportunity to skate in Central
Park, Rockefeller Center, Bryan Park and so many more places
in the the boroughs. We can find many types of food from many
different countries. We also love to visit the Bronx Botanical
Gardens that have an incredible flower display. My favorites are
the beautiful orchids. It doesn't stop there, near where I live is
the Metropolitan Museum of Art which has so many different
paintings and sculptures, and furniture. from many years ago to
the present. I love the colonial furniture in a wing on the first
floor. I picture my family living in the rooms and the picture that I
create in my mind makes me feel very comfortable. The artwork
takes years to go through well.

I know that my life has become enriched by living in this great
city that gives me so much to appreciate.

40
____________________Level 4
Lucy Rojas
“FORBIDDEN FRUIT”
From the very creation, the apple symbolized the forbidden
fruit of knowledge, which was reserved exclusively to the
Creator.

The appetizing and tempting fruit became the cause of ex-
pulsion from paradise due to ambition and disobedience.

So that the man was stripped of the true and authentic wis-
dom that was offered and we could share, and so I was ban-
ished from the other attributes that the great architect gave
and wanted to share with us, as he made us in his image
And likeness.

New York, that Big Apple, attracts us, tempts us and encour-
ages us with its dreams and attractions to be always choos-
ing, again and again, without being satisfied. That's right, we
do not stop wishing, ambition grows and enslavement greed.
Can this be the reason for our existence to drag and submit?

Now, what is the challenge, what is the goal? Choose be-
tween freedom and truth?

That's right. If the freedom preaches seeks to illuminate the
world, we must be careful to weigh our desires and our rea-
sons for not being mistaken again and choosing this time,
THE TRUTH, with the proper and authentic freedom that it
contains.

I love New York City, I want to live in New York City, but first
and foremost, LIFE is the most important thing!

41
Rafael Reynoso
“LIFE IN THE BIG APPLE”
I’m going to talk about my experience living in this great city.

I have been living here for the past three years and the first year
was the most difficult. I was missing my native country, missing
my brother that is still in Dominican Republic, and missing the
lifestyle I had before. Because here in New York it's different; for
me, the lifestyle here is faster.

Living here is a blessing for me because not everyone can live
here. This city has a lot things to offer in all aspects, for example
in education, jobs, and things to do for entertainment with your
family.

There is a song that says “If I could make it here I could make it
anywhere” by Alicia Keys. That’s how it is in New York.

Photograph by Manoel Salgado

42
Manoel Salgado

This city is very special to me. I love you, New York.

Photograph by Manoel Salgado

43
Djenaba Diallo
“LIFE IN THE BIG APPLE”
My name is Djenaba Diallo. I'm in level 4 from 4 to 6 PM. I am from
Mauritania. But when I was 5 years old, my family and I we moved to
Guinea. I grew up there. I have a big family. I thank God for making me
a part of this family and blessing me with a good and successful family.

My Dad left us and came to the United States when I was young. I
don't remember that time very well. All I had of him at that time was his
photo.

I remember the day he was leaving for the USA. In the airport he gave
me a scarf. I remember that day I cried a lot. He had just left and I
missed him already.

I have a younger brother. He's a very nice person. My mom is my hap-
piness. She is always there to make me laugh. When I cry she com-
forts me. She told me never give up, even if it is hard to do something;
always be strong. When the day comes that you succeed you will be
able to say, ‘finally, I did it.’ She wants the best for us. I love her so
much. She's my everything. My mom is a never-ending song of com-
fort and happiness in my heart. I may sometimes forget the words. But
I always remember the tune.

I still think that you are the best in the world. And you will always be
the greatest mom in the whole wide world. Thank you for wanting noth-
ing but the best for us. I never stop to thank you and give you the love I
have for you.

I also admire my Dad so much. He always knows just what to say at
the right time to keep me in my right mind. Thank you for everything,
my lovely Dad. I love you so much and I'm so proud of you.

Now I am happy because we all live together - thank God. I will never
stop thanking God for giving me a good Life and my love for my family
never end.

44
Bielka Mosquea
Since I was a little girl I always liked the beach. When my parents
took me and my sisters, I always looked towards the horizon, that
dividing line that divides the sea from another place. When I
watched a plane go by, it would tell me "it would be incredible to
go to the United States."

Some time passed and my parents emigrated to the United
States, and through them one of my dreams was fulfilled: reaching
the Big Apple. From the moment I arrived I felt connected. A coun-
try full of opportunities, security, where dreams come true. Since
English is the native language of the USA, I started to listen to
music in English and thus I was learning. I applied to some pro-
grams to learn English, but all put me on the waiting list, except
Community Impact, who welcomed me into their program. I thank
the entire Community Impact team for all they have taught me.
Studying has become my favorite hobby. I hope one day to speak
English fluently and more than that to be bilingual. Thank you so
much!

Maria Morel
I came to New York City from the Dominican Republic with a two-
year-old child while eight months pregnant. When I first got to the
Big Apple I stayed living in the Bronx with my daughter and hus-
band. Six months later I moved to Manhattan and raised my two
daughters in the same place I live in today.

Both my daughters went to school in NYC. Now one of them is an
incoming freshman in Princeton University and the other is an in-
coming sophomore at her high school in Chelsea. My husband
and I raised them by going to the public library and many muse-
ums. This year has been a year of excitement and success be-
cause my oldest daughter has been accepted to thirteen colleges,
including three Ivy League universities.

45
Esther Abreu
“NEW YORK”
New York, the urban apple full of challenges;
many stories written around its streets. I can see it, resplendent
with its bigger skyscrapers rising up majestic in the air.

How many dreams waiting in
its hands! Hearts beating
with the hope in their senses,
living a faster life in the
world’s capital,
that gives them the oppor-
tunity to grow, to build a new
life,
to face new obstacles; some-
times, starting
from zero, until to achieve
bigger things like the size of
this city.

Its walls show, what such
great it is the job of a lot peo-
ple
working in the vertiginous
progress of this city without
stop
since, it appeared “the Big
Apple”, the “Big City”.

Its interesting life and places
invite to everybody to enjoy a
lot
its museums, restaurants and monuments, sheltered by its
wonderful Central Park: mother of all parks in its lands.

It is impossible to forget it, because it preserves the essence

46
Photographs by Esther Abreu

47
Jenniffer Coello
“LIFE IN THE BIG APPLE”
I never thought I would live in New York, I once told my friends, maybe
I will go someday, after all is the most important city in the world, eve-
ryone wants to know the Big Apple.

My whole life changed quickly when my husband and I found out we
were going to be parents. After so much time together the birth of our
son was a true miracle, He was born on the day of the famous storm of
the century, when the city of New York was paralyzed and the authori-
ties recommended that if it was not urgent to leave, do not take to the
streets because a lot of snow would fall.

Having our baby in our arms, we realized that we had a great responsi-
bility in our hands and decided to give a better opportunity of life.

And this is how we decided to live in the Big Apple, where thousands
of people come every day to know their exciting life, of course it is one
thing to be a tourist and another thing is to live here. Despite being far
away from my friends and family, I love being here, because every
weekend with my husband and my son we know new places, we eat
different types of food, it is like traveling to each country and knowing
their culture through its food in the hundreds of restaurants that we can
find in this city.

In the Big Apple we can meet people from different parts of the world,
for example in my English class I have colleagues who come from:
Nicaragua, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Colombia, India and
Cameroon, in those two hours of Monday classes to Thursday we
meet all with the same purpose, to learn English, but how different we
are, each with their own beliefs and customs and nothing prevents us
from being friends and we can help each other.

I love the parks, I love being able to walk safely through the streets
and take my baby for a walk with peace of mind, I love that I can find
products from all over the world in the supermarkets, I love sitting on
the wooden benches of the Hudson River with my husband …
48
… and my son and being able to watch the sunset, I love to know
that I live in the city that everyone dreams of knowing, I love my
life in the Big Apple.

Wildson Tiburcio Batista
“LIFE IN THE BIG APPLE”
The Big Apple has been considered a city of inspiration for those
who decide to start a new life in a city. It is a city where human
diversity is the main fact to consider.

The life in the Big Apple actually has became a challenge, be-
cause the new trends of the millennium require different things
that you need to achieve life's goals. But the essential fact of the
city is not lost. It doesn't matter where are you from, what your
race is, what your customs are, what your religion is...etc. We
have the same opportunity.

Life experiences in this city build you up so you can survive any-
where around the world. That's the reason I say that life in the Big
Apple builds real people.

Ma Guadalupe Castro
“THE BIG APPLE”
The Big Apple is the most populated city in the United States. Liv-
ing here is one of the most wonderful experiences I have ever had
in my life. You never imagine that you would end up living in this
extraordinary and magical city full of different cultures, religions,
and races. Here, I have learned to value and appreciate how im-
portant it is to overcome and to educate myself, since here I have
found everything that any human being would wish to have in my
life. I welcomed the opportunity to move my son forward and see
him become an educated and wonderful person. Thanks, New
York...the Big Apple.

49
Antoinette Trazo Camara
“MY LIFE IN THE BIG APPLE”
When I got off the plane I immediately saw policemen holding big dogs
next to passengers and asked myself “what’s wrong with America they
said hello to people with dogs”?

After that, I have to convince the immigration officer to let me enter the
United States and I was afraid because my English wasn't good and I
didn't know if I could speak French to the officer.

When I was in front of the officer, he asked me “what the purpose for
your trip?” I haven't heard of those words before and I said “I speak
French” but he repeated “what the purpose of our trip.” I looked at him
and I guess his question and I said “to my child graduation” and he
said “good” by laughing.

Now I am very happy to live in this big and beautiful country because I
have my family (three children and two grandchildren) living here and I
can go to visit them at any time, so I can help them by taking care of
my grandchildren and the chores. Sometimes I have fun with my family
by:

 Shopping in the mall where I can stay all the day because there
are many shops and restaurants;
 Visiting statue of liberty;
 Playing to the playground with my grandchildren so they can
swing, slide, play football, ran everywhere or also improve my Eng-
lish by talking with children’s parents at the playground

I am also amaze to have opportunities that America offers to people
who is living in this country (immigrants or not) and I am lucky to join
some of them like:

 Going to ESOL program in one of the best Universities (Columbia
University) to improve my English without fees and the teachers
are volunteers to teach us, that is amazing! …

50
 Going to hospital to visit the Doctor and make my check-
up with medicare insurance.

I am very happy to be in America because these country offers
me many opportunities.

Libia Gil
"The Big Apple" has had a lot of gentrification over the years.
Each time this happens, New York changes its "form, flavor, tex-
ture and color."

Large communities that have established their lives, customs and
deep friendships have had to move to other areas, opening paths
to new groups of men and women to reproduce their own life-
styles and behavior.

In spite of this, "The Big Apple" continues to maintain the es-
sence, spirit and energy that it is known for, bringing together all
the human beings that live there and becoming one of the most
unique places on the planet.

Simon Camara
“NEW COMING IN NEW YORK”

On November 1 2015 I landed at JFK airport. It was 11 am. On
st

the way home, I felt like I was swallowed by the city because eve-
rything around me was so big. The avenues, the bridges, people
in the streets and the towers in Manhattan let me wonder if I could
move in New York easily.
Three to six months later, I’ve learnt how to find my way. Every
street is numbered and the avenues are named. I was able to go
to Queens, Bronx, downtown, and then come back in Harlem. I
had no more orientation worries. Now I enjoy moving in New York
by bus, train or taxi. The trick is to know where you’re going.

51
Itala Perdomo
“NEW YORK”

Life in New York City is a variety of experiences. You can find any-
thing in the city and its boroughs; depending on which one you are in,
you are going to live a different aspect of the cit. Your experience also
depends on whether you are visiting or living in the city.

Some people would define New York City as the city that never sleeps,
as the embodiment of the cosmopolitan, but it is so much more than
that.

The city changes depending on the season. Summer is when most
people stay in and go out. That is when the city is at its fullest. Every-
one is out enjoying the sun and going to the beaches. Meanwhile, in
winter, the city is not as crowded but the whole atmosphere of the city
changes, especially when Christmas is around the corner. Fall is the
perfect season to get a hot coffee and read a book in one of the many
little cute cafes in the city. The leaves from the trees start to fall off and
the colors of the city change dramatically. Spring is when everyone
starts to get excited about the summer. The city becomes green again,
and it is not too hot, perfect to hang out in the park with your friends
and enjoy the last days of breeze.

52
One of the many other charms of the city is the multicultural back-
ground. When you are in New York you can take little trips to Italy,
Mexico, France, Colombia, India, Greece and many other coun-
tries through the food. You can find almost any kind of food in this
city. There is no excuse to not try them all, especially when the
city has a broad network of transportation systems: you have the
buses, the subway, taxis, bicycles, and if you want, you can also
walk. Nothing is ever too far if you are in New York City.

Everyone thinks of Manhattan when you mention New York. Al-
most everyone who has ever been here thinks about the sky-
scrapers, the One World Trade Center, Fifth Avenue, and all the
different touristic attractions around it. But the city is so much

53
Brooklyn is the most populated district. It has the best view of Manhat-
tan from the Brooklyn Bridge, and famous beaches like Coney Island.

The Bronx is one of the most visited districts now. It has changed a lot
in the last few years and has many places to visit, like Yankee Stadi-
um, the zoo, the botanical garden, and City Island.

54
Queens in the biggest district of them all. There are at least 150
different cultures and the biggest parks in the city, after Central
Park. It also has City Field, and a brand new stadium for the US
Open, a tennis championship.

Staten Island is the least populated and the smallest district of all.
There are many buildings from Colonial times. One of the many
places to go is the ferry, from which you can get a really nice view
of the Statue of Liberty.

These, and many other facts, make New York a city so interesting
and unique that there is no way to define it on a single word or
visit. Sure, it is cosmopolitan, but alsoit is something that you
have to discover for yourself. There is no better New York experi-
ence than living the city’s charms yourself.

55
Maria Alicia Garcia Fuentes
“LIFE IN NEW YORK”
Hello, my name is Maria Alicia Garcia. I have been living in the USA for
20 years. My neighborhood, which is in New York, used to look differ-
ent. Where I live, there used to be more Dominicans, Cubans, Puerto
Ricans, but not that many Mexicans.

In the past, the streets used to look dirty, but now the streets are clean.
Now, in my neighborhood, lower socio economic people are leaving
because of the “Columbian Expansion.” which means the rents are ris-
ing to a higher price. This caused wealthier people to move into my
neighborhood.

Also, there are more Hispanic/Latino stores in my neighborhood, which
means more food and more clothes. The clothes are full of beauty be-
cause they are full of art, patterns, and designs. The food they sell is so
good because it reminds me of the food I used to eat in my homeland:
Mexico.

When I came to the USA, I didn’t have a family, but now I do. I have
two wonderful children and they remind me of who I am.

Artwork by Robertus Radityo

56
Robertus Radityo

The first time I arrive in New York, what is in my mind are two
things:
1. People are arrogant. Which I know New York is a busy city
and people in here are the chosen one, which means only tal-
ented, smart people are here.

2. Woman in New York are all sexy, pretty and a lot of actress-
es here. Because most movie are directed in here, example
Batman, Spiderman, serial TV Friends, etc.

When I passed and lived for 7 months I know people here are
friendly, helpful, independent. Other thing that I like from New
York are diversity and tolerance. I learn a lot of things from all the
differentiation and enrich my knowledge and personality.

Photograph by Brou Alain Brice Yao

57
Brou Alain Brice Yao
“MY HISTORY IN NEW YORK”
BEING LIKE A LOOK AT THE D ACTION FILMS
AMERICAN AND IT WAS PLEASED THAT I WANT
A DAY ARRIVES IN THE UNITED STATES. THEN BECAME
MUCH MY DREAM KNOWS TO ACHIEVE, THEN WHEN HAP-
PENED BY AROUND THE AIRPORT WHICH SEEN ALL YEL-
LOW CARS AND OTHER CARS CALLS UBER WHICH COULD
PURSUE UNTIL THE DESTINATION WHICH WAS WANTED,
AND FINALLY MY DESTINATION WAS IN NEW YORK, IN THE
TAXI THE VIEW OF NEW YORK WAS LUMINOUS WE WAS BE-
LIEVED IN PARADISE WHAT WOULD SAY C WAS VERY NICE
THE PAYSAGE, ONCE ARRIVED TO DESTINATION IN MY
BROTHER EVERYTHING WAS BEAUTIFUL. SOME FIRST ME
IT DECIDED TO FIND ME OF WORK.
BUT IT WAS NOT EASY, WE WOULD HAVE HAD BUT C WAS
FOR THE DELIVERY OF FOOD, IT WAS NOT REALLY EASY
FOR A NEW LIKE ME, IT WAS TO PEDAL A BICYCLE THAT
ALLOWS TO DO.
DELIVERY MY FIRST DELIVERY WAS NOT EASY CAR
IT WAS TO MAINTAIN THE PANELS AND ESPECIALLY THE
TRICOLOR LAMPS
WRITTEN IN ENGLISH THEN WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
DESTINATION FOR THE STREETS WAS NUMBERED, MY
FIRST
EXPERIENCE WAS NOT EASY AS YOU MADE MORE THAN 1
HOUR OF TIME
MY BOSS WAS FAST BUT IT HAD UNDERSTOOD BECAUSE C
WAS
MY FIRST TIME .BUT A FEW MONTHS PLUS TARD JAI OF
THE QUITTE
THE CAR WORK WAS REALLY DIFFICULT FOR ME
I WAS NOT REALLY FAST FOR DELIVERIES. SO
FINALLY I STOPPED.

58
Kelly Rollins

My name is Kelly Rollins, I'm
Brazilian.

I always had a dream of living
in the USA.

In 2014 I first came to New York to
take an intensive English course
and I fell in love with the Big Apple and in 2015 I decided to live
here. I realized my dream.
Two months later, I met my true love, my husband Nathan, from
Utah and another dream came true: we were married in June
2016.
In August 2016 I discovered the ESOL program at Columbia Uni-
versity. I was so excited for my registration. I tried, but the line
was so big. But I got in June 2017. And today I'm here happy and
writing my own story in the Big Apple.

So, I love New York City!

Kelly Rollins

PS: The picture are the day our got married and I in Central Park.

59
____________________Level 5
Randa Bahit
“LIFE IN THE BIG APPLE”
Four years ago our flight landed at JFK international Airport.
We were in the Big Apple, heading to Manhattan one of the
Five Boroughs of New York City. On our way home, the sight
of the skyscrapers’ lights seeming to reach up to touch the
stars, was amazing.

From the early morning you can hear the roar of the active
city, and you realize the streets are crowding with people from
all over the world, and many economic levels. I feel like every
morning there is an engine switched on to give power to peo-
ple running all the day to be able to pay the cost of living in
Manhattan and in the United States in general.

Living in Manhattan gives you a feeling of being surrounded by
many incredible elements of life, creative accomplishments
from the beautiful architecture to the great bridges, to the plan-
ning design, the great museums, libraries, and churches. And
you know that there is always something cool on Broad-
way, or you can choose between concerts, exhibitions, band
shows and outdoor festivals.

Just being here is inspiring and can motivate more creative
ideas in your imagination. Furthermore, one

60
of the greatest aspects of the city is that people are free to ex-
press themselves in the ways they want.

On the sad side, what I don’t like, and I feel sorry about, is
seeing people sitting or sleeping on the street, or in the sub-
way station with their possession around them. They have no
job, no hope, no family support.

To me living in NYC is nice, but the primary downside of all
this is that I don’t see evidence of my childhood here. There
are no happy memories linked to my previous life no echoes
of my laughter on the street corners.

The Big Apple is a great place to live, though not as great as
life back in my home country.

Photograph by Shushanik Zakharyan
61
Chahrazed Serrab
“WHAT MAKES NEW YORK SPECIAL?”

New York represents for me a stark of contradictions; it is defined by
the static stunning canvas of the high building’s Architecture witch
contrasts with the permanent movement of the traffic and people .
That is constantly vibing and creating big emotion in the city.

New York appeared to have two aspects, on one side the city of light
is the amazing skyline seen by the top of empire state, the fabulous
view from the Rockefeller center, it is also the rowboats, the ice skat-
ing in Central Park and the fabulous flower in the side walk. New York
is furthermore home to the United Nations , to Nation's stock market,
Wall Street , ...But on the other side it is that melting pot cultures city ,
it is a combination of emotions too , the putrid odor in the subway , the
smell from the ethnic food stalls carts , the warmth of slice of pizza in
your hand, the crunchy gourmet burger in the restaurant, the inventive
artists, writers and musicians of the street , the sleeping home-
less ...New York has its own special character, big space is too
small ,you are constantly in contact with other people around . All of
these things inspire happiness and make that special touch of New
York.

Even though renting an apartment in New York City is very expensive,
the heaviness of traffic , the very challenging competition,
the climate disagreement, no matter if politics are frightening people ,
I am always in love of the Big Apple . Once you have lived in New
York and it has become your home, no place else is good enough.

62
Artwork by Abdelmalek Nemmouchi

63
Enriquillo Reyes
“THE BIG APPLE”
New York, beautiful and great city
where there is a contrast between the old and modern.
with a lot of history mute on her streets
celebrating in the sky with her tall skyscrapers.
the happiness of freedom in America.
with her wonderful statue of liberty
and her torch giving light to the chance of every Immigrant

New York, amazing city,
where anything is possible, because every door is open -
open for everybody
new cultures, sciences, arts, investment, gastronomy.
life is sometimes fast, other time faster, but that appeals to every
New Yorker

New York is a lifestyle
you arrive and never leave.
this city never sleep. never.
life can fly as fast as the wind and you can have anything that you
need to live comfortably.
in sum, New York is a lifestyle waiting for you to come enjoy it

Mercedes Rodriguez

My LIFE IN THE BIG APPLE has been favorable, although I have
only 2 years and 7 months been residing in the Big Apple. I am satis-
fied since I have been able to study ESOL. I have been able to study
since September 2015. I am working. I begin my day at 5:00 AM. I
leave at 6:00 AM and I go to work at 7:45 AM until 4:15 pm. I come
5:45 PM and I go to my English class at 6:00 PM until 8:00 PM. I
enjoy having the encouragement of improvement that I have to con-
tinue LIVING IN THE BIG APPLE.

64
Galvelia Vidals

Life in NY is splendid
You can do anything you wish and never did
Although it is an expensive city
It doesn’t always have to be
There are infinite possibilities for dining,
cultural events, activities, and shopping
One can explore accessible places with beautiful architecture
Dress in trendy outfits at sale prices
All with little to no expenditure

One may eat ethnic, culturally diverse, and appetizing dishes
Most importantly, get a decent and affordable education
That you’d wish you’d lived on this nation
It’s a place where there is lot of diversity of age, economic lev-
el, and industry
With many creative types-any of which you can be
You can mingle with people from all over the world
Embrace their culture, ideas, and life experiences
That can for sure make partnerships unfold
Given everyone’s competences

It is a place of motivation and inspiration
Let’s not forget our public transportation
That can get you to places
At the city that never sleeps
From the A to the G to the 1 to the 7
While those are not all the subway lines
Let me tell you that NY may not always feel like heaven
As life may sometimes feel rushed and monotonous

65
Photograph by Feliks Melik-Kazarian

Jessica Juarez

Life in the Big Apple

New York, the City that never sleeps
you will find huge skyscrapers,
with extravagant people and
luxurious places.

New York City the capital of the world.
A place where you can find foreigners
and so many different types of foods.

New York City, the place
with so many opportunities
New York City…..
Where the dreams come true!
66
Yuhua Lu

New York City - Everyone came here for a reason. Everyone
came here for a better life. Everyone you meet has a story, and
there is an inspiration everywhere you go, in every person that
you meet.

I wanted to share my story. The first time, when I just arrived in
New York, the manager at Queens Library Adult Learning Cen-
ter (Mr. Gary) helped me to get used to living in this country, and
improve my English. I think that is more priceless than anything
else.

After that, I had a chance to work as a volunteer worker at the
Queens Library. I helped people who wanted to enroll in ESOL
classes.

Volunteer work and community service had such an important
impact in my life. I am so proud to give other people the help
that they need. When people say thank you and give you a
hug—well, that is all the payment I need.

67
Sixue Zhang
“AN EXPERIMENT TO DETECT DEMEANOR”

This is a story that happened on July 4, Independence Day of the
USA.

Due to my full schedule in the daytime, I refused my friends’ invitation
to go downtown to see the fireworks together with them. Rather, I
was planning to take a walk to relax in the evening. I had a chance to
see lots of fireworks from time to time because of the holiday. I
watched them while I was walking in the park by the river. I couldn’t
help but stop and see the fireworks for around three minutes when I
walked on the bridge, which had a great view to see many fireworks
from different angles. There were a few scattered crowds of two or
three people on the bridge to see these fireworks, too.

I heard someone talking to me right as I turned around to leave for
home. He said: “Hi, there. Do you like the fireworks?”
“Oh, yeah, they are beautiful.” I responded politely.
“Where are you from?” someone said, “this is a place which have a
great view, isn’t it?”

After a couple of questions, I looked back at his face. “Oh, my gosh,
what a handsome guy he is” I said to myself. We then stood on the
bridge together, and saw the fireworks and had a great chat until
11:00pm.

During this period, I noticed an interesting behavior from this Ameri-
can man. We kept a distance of about one foot between us. When I
noticed this, I decided to do an actual experiment simply to see what
would happen if I changed the distance from him. Therefore, I re-
membered a symbol on the bridge in front of me first. Next, I began
to move away from him a bit slowly, and turned around to see the
fireworks from different direction. I didn’t stop our conversation when
I did this. I found he would move close to me, and kept a distance of
about one foot from me. Again, I began to get close to him. The mag-
ic showed up! It was still around a one-foot distance between us. I
was impressed by his demeanor…
68
...Time flies. Three hours later after we met, we said goodbye to
each other and walked home in the opposite direction of the bridge.
The distance between us was getting further and further. However,
the invariable one foot distance was there in my mind. Yes, on Inde-
pendence Day, we saw the beautiful fireworks on the bridge which
offered a great view together, and had a great time chatting with one
another. More importantly, it had been a great experience to observe
and learn behavior from different countries through practice. What a
funny experiment to detect an American guy’s demeanor like a gen-
tleman.

Vicente Batz
“LIFE IN THE BIG APPLE”

New dreams turn into great experiences

The end of bad pasts become incredible starts

World of words to read within living

You cannot ignore the greatness

Or simply pass and live without it

Roar to become a winner

Knocked out or not, there is always a chance

69
Kelly Silverio

To live in New York you need to be brave and be able to
walk as fast as possible into the movement from the streets
and people in this modern city. In a romantic and calm mo-
ment on the weekend we are able to look at the sky and ad-
mire the buildings and the lights of this big city. When we
observe the tourists, we can see that they are always look-
ing to the sky trying to find a new angle to take pictures, to
see the new lights of Times Square. But when we live here,
we forget this wonderful view that tourists love.

One day, I could observe the "Big Apple" like I never had
before. My family and I went to Dumbo in Brooklyn by boat
in the afternoon in the spring. So, I really could capture the
beautiful view: the skyscrapers all together shining because
of the light of the sun. The Hudson river completed the
beautiful view on that boat tour. At the other side of the river,
the pier had really green grass with flowers all over the gar-
den and we could observe that amazing view and relax.

Photo by Kelly Silverio

70
Wendinmanegde Daniel Sawadogo
“MY AMERICAN DREAM”
A long time ago, I had a strong desire to live and work in the US.
So, this dream led me to New York on February 14, 2017 at 7:30
PM. The day of my landing at JFK Airport, I experienced a fresh-
ness that I had never experienced my whole existence. This day,
I asked myself: “Dani, who told you to come here?”
I spent one month at home without any job and the money I
brought from my country with me started to run out because eve-
rything in America is expensive compared to my home country.
The cold weather, the long time without a job, and the high cost
of living are things that started making me discouraged with my
choice to leave my job, my family, and my friends to travel to
America. But I couldn’t go back because I spent a lot of money
before being able to travel to America. Also, to return just after
my arrival would be a shame and failure for me, so I decided to
stay even if it was harder.
One month after my arrival, I finally found a job and I was so hap-
py and so sad at the same time, because the job I found was a
job that I always refused to do for my mother when she cooked. It
was dishwashing in a very busy restaurant, and every day I had
to stand up for eight hours, something I had never experienced
before.
But my bravery and my decision made me stronger and now I
don’t regret having immigrated to America.

Shana Valeri
Skyscrapers, chaos, humidity, fashion, wild winds, people from
around the world, yellow cabs, mad rhythm, thousands of lights,
Lady of Liberty, crowd, homelessness, hard moments, loneliness,
rent, roommates, broken English, iPhone, eating on the way, gar-
bage, rats, noise, crazy things, crime, clubs, cigarettes, alcohol,
booty calls, sex, drugs, changes, up & down, dances in the
streets, colorful language, steepness, chances & LOVE ,- it's all
about New York City !!!!

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Katherine Vallejo Johnson
“LIFE IN THE BIG APPLE”
My experience in New York has been very enriching, because it is a
very active city, if you want good libraries, restaurants, parks, shops,
the city is impressive because it is always awake, you always have
to stay active. it has been a bit difficult because the rhythm of life that
the newyorkino takes is very fast. But i would say that it is a city that
has everything, it does not lack anything at all. New York never
sleeps. I love.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be in the community im-
pact program by Columbia University, after this wonderful experience
I was someone else.

72
73
Sumie Tamura
First, I must say that I completely agree with John Steinbeck, that
“New York is an ugly city, a dirty city. Its climate is a scandal, its poli-
tics are used to frighten children, its traffic is madness, its competition
is murderous. But there is one thing about it—once you have lived in
New York and it has become your home, no place else is good
enough. All of everything is concentrated here, population, theater, art,
writing, publishing, importing, business, murder, mugging, luxury, pov-
erty. It is all of everything. It goes all right. It is tireless and its air is
charged with energy.''

I felt the same feeling as John Steinbeck when I set foot at the John
F. Kennedy airport and decided to live in Queens about three years
ago. My friends are always asking me, ‘why do you want to live in
New York, even though you have your own house at Miura City, which
is located at the tip of the Peninsula of a great place to live and is sur-
rounded by the beautiful nature of the Tokyo Bay, and located only
one hour from central Tokyo?’

When I received this ESOL SPEAKS prompt, I thought that this was
a great opportunity to consider the reasons why I decided to live in
New York.

Three years ago, after retirement I set the aim of my life to visit, see,
and speak with many unknown places and people. To live in New York
has been my dream since back in the time of my working days 20
years ago.

I feel very fortunate that my husband and my children sent me out on
the way to New York for my dream.

I am able to travel back and forth between Japan and New York eve-
ry six months. I decide to go back every December to Japan and
spend time with my family from New Year to early summer, and I
come back to New York for the exciting summer season until the end
of the year.

I tried to visit many libraries in Queens and Manhattan for many free
concerts, and also I visited unknown places through the activities of
volunteer organizations.
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From here on, I would like to share what’s important in my life.

I’m so busy splitting my time between Japan and New York and
I have fulfilled myself in both the lives I live.

Nowadays, we are more comfortable than John Steinbeck
when he used to live in New York. I can contact my family
through FaceTime. I can see everything that happens to my fami-
ly and my two lovely dogs. And also I’m updating my activities
almost every day through Facebook, so they can see my life in
New York much more easily than in the days of Steinbeck. I ap-
preciate these kinds of cutting-edge means and tools. I can tell
people that I’m having more excitement in my New York life and
can easily involve them in every area of my New York life.

In conclusion, regarding the reasons why I live in New York, I
have to see where I am and where I am going more clearly. This
is the challenge facing me in my new life in here.

But truly, I can say that I have a strong sense of well-being in
both countries. I would like to live in New York and Japan, and I
would like to make both countries my home.

I will try traveling by myself where I want to go, and to get happi-
ness in my life and make my dreams a reality.

Yes, the main focus in my life after retirement is to enjoy and
share my happiness with my family. I thank and appreciate the
fact that I am an incredibly lucky lady in this world.

------------------------------------------------------

Thank you and best regards,

Sumie Tamura
75
Xiao Philip Yang
“NEW YORK CITY:
THE ONE AND ONLY INTERNATIONAL CITY”
Each big city I have visited, such as London, Tokyo, Rome,
Shanghai, Singapore, Hongkong etc., has been called an
international city. I had possessed this perspective by read-
ing and travel since last May, before I lived in NYC. Abso-
lutely, it is - NYC changed my thinking about what
“International City” means.

What is the most simple but obvious distinction of NYC,
when compared to other cities ? Not its population, econo-
my, or creativity, even its energy. It’s the social services
available for speakers of various languages.

It’s not difficult to find instruction posters using many lan-
guages when you walk on the NYC streets, for instance,
subway, park and public or private service signs. This is
shown in the image of a poster that I see at the library en-
trance, letting us know “here is cooling centre for every-
body,” written with thirteen languages. It’s so touch-
ing! Another picture is the attachment of the letter from a
medical insurance company who provides sixteen languages
assistance services for free. Several languages within it had
never been heard in my life. It’s so meticulous!

I had never seen anything like this in any other mega-city.

Like all international cities, NYC is also flourishing, bustling,
and noisy. But there is an underlying spirit of toleration im-
plied in the city. With it, everyone who lives in the city from
various races feels a ubiquitous warmth and love.

I love NYC! For me, it’s the one and only international city of
the world.

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Photographs by Xiao Philip Yang

77
____________________Level 6
Oumou Hann
“THE MAGIC OF THE BIG APPLE”
It has always been my dream to visit, to experience the magic of the Big
Apple.
Imagine my emotion when I finally got here.
At first sight, it was even more than I expected: the pace of life, the infi-
nite flow of people- nothing compared to what I was used to back home.
The little 27-year-old Guinean student had to make several adjustments.
On a day to day basis, life in the Big Apple is not as rosy as it looks.
The rents are exorbitant, the same with school tuition; acquaintances are
not as genuine as they look, and many individuals are after something.
My life right now in this city is full of doubt; getting away from its bench-
marks is not easy.
I sometimes get up some mornings and ask myself what I’m doing here,
far away from all the people who love me.
But I have met people that are quite helpful and worth meeting.
Well, in brief, even though my experience in the Big Apple has ups and
downs, I would gladly repeat it again.

Guillermo Florencio
“LIFE IN NEW YORK CITY”
Life in NYC has a fundamental aspect different from ours, the Latin, in
my case. I am a Caribbean from the Dominican Republic.

There is a difference of the climate. Here in New York, we have the four
seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. But in the Caribbean we
have approximately 80 degrees Celsius all year. Living in NY has been a
very interesting experience since, despite being an expensive city at the
same time, it offers many services such as transportation, social pro-
grams, programs for citizenship, food, housing and one of the most im-
portant, the ESOL program at Columbia University, which teaches ...

78
us how to speak English and prepare us for a better life for free.

The lifestyle of New Yorkers is very dynamic. We have activities for all
the year, restaurants of international cuisine of different countries, muse-
ums, parks, beaches, islands etc. In addition, we have the area of down-
town where are the wall trade center of the Most important companies in
the world, where you can walk to look at the shops of the best designers
in the world, take a flight in the city all over the city. In short, what you
want to do is offered by New York City. The New York lifestyle is excit-
ing.

Beatrice Mbee
“LIFE IN THE FREEDOM APPLE”
Life in the Big Apple happened like a dream!

I thought I was daydreaming a few months ago. When I first came here every-
thing was as I saw it when I had the dream to come here: many big buildings
that show financial wealth, many foreign people and cultures, a very crowded
city, many workers, many services, and as such, so many opportunities.

Then, I have been awakened to reality with experiences, sometimes good and
sometimes bad!

But I still feel as I felt when I had that dream, before I lived this reality. I experi-
ence my dream! I have been living it for ten months now, by learning how to
speak English, making new friends, gaining awareness of a new culture, and
meeting amazing people who come from all over the world.

My best feeling is that, I like this lifestyle so much; for me, it means freedom.
The "Big Apple” is like the “Freedom Apple."

79
Juliane Bizinoto
Imagine a place that, when walking in the streets, you feel the tremor on
the floor, listen to the most diverse noises in deafening heights, which
make your heart speed up in distress, but after a few weeks teaches him
that the chaotic noises of shouts of random people, Buildings, helicop-
ters, ambulances, firefighters and police officers around them, do not
necessarily signal danger, on the contrary, they are incentives for buying
a headset. So, you can go to any corner of the city listening to your fa-
vorite music, or venture into one of the city's many giant parks that will
restore your peace. Imagine a place where you can watch Masses in Ca-
thedrals, with gothic styles, built in the 1800s with the world's largest
church titles and choir sung by children who thrill to your soul. A place
where it is not tedious to wait for the sign to open, after all you will be
able to see celebrities using pedestrian lanes as their catwalks for photo-
graphing. A place where you recognize in every corner the scenarios of
your favorite movies and series, which makes you protagonist in your
own photographs. A place that expresses art in the walls, floors, poles
and dumps of the city, not to mention the sculptures scattered around
the charming and cozy squares for a coffee. Imagine a place that invites
you to watch a classic 50's movie in the open, starry sky, sharing the
grassy lawn with people from places you've never heard of, or have nev-
er been before. A place that makes you want to dare on your haircut,
and dress up day in and day out as a different character without worrying
about what others will think. A place where making friends with people
you would never live with, is what makes up your family's lack. Imagine a
place so democratic that a boxed millionaire stands in the same subway
car as the smelly beggar sitting at the sound of the violin played by the
Brooklyn hipster. A place that is possible free access to the largest con-
certs and plays in the world and within parks that look more enchanted
kingdoms. A place that if you do not attend shows like U2 or Coldplay
does not mean that you missed the opportunity of life, before the year
ends they will be back. And when he attends a musical he goes back to
being moved with the same intensity and purity as when he was a child.
Imagine a place where there is no official language, you have the oppor-
tunity to listen to music and experience the cuisine of the whole world,
including your Country when you feel nostalgic. A place that drinks
drinks on the roofs of buildings empowers you, and the lights inspire...

80
...you. A place that makes you walk fast, but if you stop at the end of the
day and look up you will find peace in the sunlit rays reflected in the high
concrete corridors where dreams come true because there is nothing
you can not do there. A place that you do not have to try hard to explain
its importance the least experience there puts you on another level in
your professional and personal life, because nothing in the world com-
pares to New York City.

Ignacio German Garcia
My story in New York since 2006 sota today, it all started when I first ar-
rived on broadway 150st Harlem everything was different people shops
and more than anything they all spoke English some people spoke
Spanish and I started to explore little by little I started to know the Map of
the trains not to get lost, I got to know many places and I fell in love with
new york day by day. New York City is a very large city, known as the
city that never sleeps, it is a center of culture and attraction; It houses a
large number of museums on art, photography, architecture, technology,
natural history, television and radio, the main ones being the Metropoli-
tan Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art,
Van Cortlandt house Museum and the Natural History Museum.
Some 40 million domestic and foreign tourists visit New York City each
year, with other destinations to visit, including the Metropolitan Museum
of Art, the Rockefeller Center, the Bronx Zoo, the Botanical Garden, the
major Broadway productions, and You can visit the famous Fifth Avenue,
where you can find the most luxurious and expensive shops in the world.
The most famous park it has, besides being the most visited, is the Cen-
tral Park, located in Manhattan and has an area of 3.41 km², 25 million
visits a year and has even been taken repeatedly as a stage for Portray-
ing numerous films, and is currently one of the most important urban
parks in the world.
Another thing I like about New York is that you have many opportunities
to progress; In education in the work and many more, in the universities
there are programs to improve the English and the education that allow
you to learn without cost thanks to the program community impact ELS
we are here advancing our English and I thank all the teacher for giving
us his Time and for his patience and mainly to the director.

81
Larry Lopez

82
Aiperi Kubanychbekova
“LIFE IN THE BIG APPLE”
Megalopolises attract people to visit them, not only because of the size of
the cities, but also because of the various things that they have to offer.
New York City is one of the largest and most famous megalopolises in the
world. When people mention NYC I immediately imagine Time Square,
along with its flashing lights and advertisement banners. It is that fact along
with many others that make Time Square NYC’s heart.

As we all know, NYC consist of five boroughs: Brooklyn, Manhattan, the
Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island. I consider the boroughs to be the body
of the Big Apple. These boroughs cannot exist separately, as they work
together and make NYC the great city that it is.

According to last year’s statistics, 61 million tourists visited the big apple.
That resulted in NYC becoming the most photographed city in the world.
NYC is definitely the place to be, and to come back to, again and again.
Big city life is very exciting, as something is always going on. Frank Sina-
tra, one of the most beloved American singers of all time, sang that NYC is
“the city that never sleeps.”

In fact, this city is always in motion. It has so many things to offer, from or-
dering all kinds of different foods around the clock, to becoming acquainted
with many people from different parts of the world. You hear over 800 lan-
guages in NYC, as well as learn about many various cultures. NYC has
most definitely a positive effect on people, because it helps people broad-
en their horizons.

Also one of the main reasons that people choose NYC is for its broad
range of opportunities. Immigrants come to NYC to start their lives over,
and hopefully to achieve the “American dream.” Despite the many chal-
lenges that people have to face in the Big Apple, it is still the place where
everybody aspires to do better. NYC urges people to put in one hundred
percent of effort in everything they do, which is instrumental for self-
development. But not everyone is fit to survive and live in the Big Apple,
and they would often refer to it as “bitter-tasting.” It is apparent that NYC is
not for them...

83
...I firmly believe that NYC is the place for me. I love the brightly illumi-
nated Broadway Theater District, walking over many beautiful bridges,
and taking pictures of breathtaking skyscrapers. I enjoy having picnics in
Central Park, shopping in Soho, and drinking freshly brewed Starbucks
coffee. Having delicious éclairs from Laduree and meeting interesting
people from all over the world are also some of the many things that I
adore about this city. I know that there is so much more for me to discov-
er about the Big Apple, which is something that I am craving to learn and
add to my self-development. I love my life in the Big Apple and I am here
to stay for the long run.

Rachmawati Tri Udayanti
“LIFE IN THE BIG APPLE”
I never imagined I’d be living in the Big Apple. It is like a dream come
true and such a great life experience that I’ve ever had. Some people
say that New York City (NYC) is the city that never sleeps, they also say
that this city is the capital of the world. I remember seeing this city for the
first time, I was so amazed. Public transportation, parks and culture di-
versity are my reasons why I like this city the most.

NYC has an integrated public transportation system. In my opinion, sub-
way is the best transportation mode in NYC. It is the largest rapid transit
system in the world. The NYC Subway connects 4 from 5 borough in
NYC; Manhattan, Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn. The subway stations are
easy to find, especially in Mid-Manhattan, where they can be found in
every couple of blocks. The fare for a ride is $2,75, relatively cheap if
you compare to taxi or Uber. We can also choose to have weekly or
monthly unlimited ride. This is a best deal for they who commute regular-
ly. Subway also offers “free” entertainment for travelers. Sometimes,
there are some people doing entertainment inside the subway cars. They
doing hip hop dance, sing a song, play the music instruments or acrobat-
ic tricks. They are very skill full. One minor downside is that, if you are
inside the subway station, especially when summer, the smell is not
good and sometime if you lucky, you can see a rat while waiting for the
train.

84

Going to the park is a great thing to do outside while you visit NYC. Ac-
cording to the city’s park authority, there are more than 1700 parks, play-
grounds and recreational facilities across the five borough. One of the
iconic places is the Central Park. Although it is not the largest park in
NYC, Central Park which is located in Mid Manhattan, is the most visited
urban park in the United States. Some of the outdoor activities and en-
tertainments that we can do there includes sports, picnic, music concerts
or zoo. When summer comes, parents do not find a hard time showing
their children a good time as splash parks and water playgrounds are
available at all time. Just pack the swimsuits, towels and water toys, and
they are guaranteed a great time.

Cultural Diversity is one of unique experience when you live in NYC.
There many people from various places around the world. Living in the
Big Apple gives you an opportunity to know a lot of different cultures and
languages. There are approximately 200 languages spoken in New
York. Based on U.S. Census Berau, this city is increasingly diverse and
dynamic with immigrants that become the majority of the residents in
some neighborhoods. Forty percents of the NYC population was born
outside of the United States. We can see this mix of cultures in five bor-
oughs in NYC through activities, schools or universities, museums,
stores and restaurants, etc.

NYC is awesome. A statement that I can express when people ask
about my feeling living in NYC. The city will provide you with music con-
certs, festivals and broadway theaters that you can enjoy every week.
The best part of it is that, most of the time they are free. If you are crav-
ing for some fresh air and outdoor scenery, there are plenty of park that
you can visit. Furthermore, we can go around the town or across bor-
ough by train with cheap cost. You may join your local community if you
want to know better about other cultures in your neighborhood. It is hard
to find similar city to New York.

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Dorota Falacinska
Why do people choose life in a big city?

Certainly for practical reasons because in a big city everything is on "take
out hand" - schools, shops, hospitals, clubs...etc.

Secondly, the city gives us unlimited choices; interesting attractions like
museums, cinemas, theaters, libraries, beauty salons and relax in the
spa. You can multiply the perspective of free time.

In the city it is easier for us to find satisfactory work and we have much
more choice of interesting offers then in the countryside.
A large number of didactic and scientific institutions improvement of quali-
fications and development of own career paths. Not to mention highly de-
veloped communications network, which can easily be moved anywhere
in the country and in the world.

As you can see, the advantages of living in a city are enormous.

Saiana Khaludorova
“LIFE IN THE BIG APPLE, LIFE IN NYC”
The morning in New York City
Is always very pretty.
Wake up from whistle of a ship
You cannot sleep.

On the street you hear songs
They touch human souls.
And language of each nation
Has own pronunciation.

Cars, sirens, and whistles are everywhere
Monumental Manhattan shines from anywhere.
It is modern, alive, and emotional
Unpredictable and irrational.
...

86
For the taste of coffee from Starbucks
You spend your last bucks.
Bouquet of different cuisines
You cannot imagine in your dreams.

Life in the Big Apple is vigorous
And sometimes mysterious.
You always make new friends
And discover new cultures.

Sometimes you are melancholic
But usually you are a workaholic.
You miss your family a lot
And summer is getting really hot.

In the subway, trains are insanely cold
It feels like Siberian ice world.
The evening sea breeze hugs you up
It reminds you, “Do not give up!”

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Community Impact at Columbia University

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