Growing up in a Mexican household has shaped me into the individual I am today. Both of my parents were born in Mexico before they came to the United States in search for a better life to provide for themselves and their families back in Mexico. My first language was Spanish because that’s the language that has always been spoken inside my household. It was difficult for me to learn English before attending school because my parents didn’t know much English, so up until I was four years-old, I could only communicate in Spanish. When I started school, I was lucky enough to be placed in an ESOL program. ESOL stands for English as a Second Language. In this program, I was placed with other kids that also didn't know any or knew little English. Before I knew it, I was speaking English comfortably and I was able to interact with all of my classmates and teachers. At home, I would still speak Spanish and I even started helping my parents understand English better as they took English learning classes. Moreover, growing up in a diverse city like Sandy Springs, GA, made me feel at ease because I was always surrounded and able to connect with kids that came from diverse backgrounds.
So far, my cultural identity hasn't had a negative impact at my workplace. In contrast, my cultural identity has actually been beneficial and helpful when communicating. The last two summers I have been working for a landscape company and the fact that I’m bilingual has been beneficial in various situations. For instance, since most of the employees are Mexican, it can be difficult for them to have ongoing conversations with customers, so I would always serve as an interpreter whenever there were questions or concerns. I wouldn’t say I strive to fit in or stand out because from a young age, I’ve felt confident of my roots and who I am. Also, it was easy for me to fit in with the workers because they mainly communicate in Spanish, so if anything, working with my co-workers helped me practice my Spanish when away from home or not conversing with other Spanish speaking individuals. Overall, I am proud to express my cultural identity because being able to speak both Spanish and English has helped me help others.