San Diego residents will reach a new milestone in their lives this Wednesday, October 23, 2019 during a Naturalization Ceremony held at San Diego Concourse/Golden Hall (202 C Street San Diego, CA 92101) at 8:00 am. For Inara Da Rocha Simplicio, it has been her dream to become an American citizen since coming to the United Sates (US) from Brazil three years ago.
“When I arrived to the US, I didn’t speak enough English to talk to people. I knew some words, but it wasn’t enough to communicate,” said Simplicio, 60.
She enrolled in San Diego Continuing Education’s (SDCE’s) free English as a Second language (ESL) classes and Citizenship program to prepare for her future in a new country. “The school offered many tools that I needed to take on for challenges and opportunities that I couldn’t even imagine.”
Inside SDCE’s Citizenship classrooms are American flags and even larger American dreams, as students focus on the development of English language skills, American History and Government. The curriculum prepares adult learners to complete the Citizenship application, the Citizenship History and Government exam, and the final US Citizenship and Immigration Services interview.
“Having friends from other countries helped me in school because we understood that we were on the same page. We are all learning,” said Simplicio. “We would share about our culture and home country and about our families. We also talked about our challenges in the US, our goals in school and our dreams.”
Free ESL and Citizenship classes are scheduled mornings, evenings and weekends at SDCE campuses located across San Diego communities from Barrio Logan to Miramar.
“SDCE’s Citizenship classes opened up my vision of the world, my vision about America. I learned how people fought for liberty. I learned about US Geography, places that I didn’t know and now I want to visit. I had the opportunity to know poems, books, and speeches of great characters in American history,” said Simplicio.
Dating back to 1914, SDCE has supported immigrants and refugees from all over the world in becoming new Americans. “Higher education has the power to change lives for individuals like Inara and generations to come,” said Carlos O. Turner Cortez, Ph.D., SDCE President.
Simplicio was born in Brazil and moved to the US in June 2016 after marrying her husband. She achieved a Sociology degree in her home country, where she worked as a high school teacher. Following her studies at SDCE, Simplicio has plans to become a teacher in the US.
In addition to SDCE’s free Citizenship and ESL classes, the institution offers free career training in emerging fields such as Advanced Manufacturing, Health, and Information and Communication Technologies, so students can find work with living wages immediately after graduation.
Many students achieve a high school diploma and/or career training at SDCE and then transition to a San Diego Community College District college, City, Mesa or Miramar.