ETHS is a safe haven for refugees.

Coming from around the world.

ETHS provides a transitional program for refugees who come from around the world.

¨We have students from Haiti that survived the earthquake. We have students that have to walk through countries to get to a refugee camp.¨ says Jenny Neal, Bilingual Coordinator, ¨We have students that have seen unsettling situations of violence, and they shouldn’t have.¨

A refugee leaves their home country based on fear for their life. It could be because of religion, race, nationality, political opinion, membership in a particular social group or an ongoing war. There is a preconceived notion that refugees are so happy about being helped they don’t remember the people they have to leave behind. Refugees may leave their friends, family, and culture. ¨I like the life I’m living right now a lot, but not more than in Sudan,¨ says Marwa Adam, junior, ¨I feel like I’ll have a better future here though.¨

According to Jenny Neal, students come from all around the world, Africa, Mexico, Haiti, Taiwan, Italy, Iraq, Iran, as well as other places. In total they are about 45 students that are refugees in the bilingual program.

First they enter an organization design to help refugees. Then, the organizations look for landlords willing to rent to the refugees. Once they moved in, mostly in the southern part of Evanston, they start testing at ETHS. First they take a English test (WAPT) that scored one to six. If a student gets a five or higher than they are put into mainstream classes. In they score very low then each student is given the MAP Test individually by a teacher. They can go into a program meant for students with a limited English vocabulary, until they test into mainstream classes. ¨I remember when I first came here and the only thing I could say was, ‘Hi my name is Marwa,’ says Marwa, junior, ¨I would never in my life think that I would learn English in 19 months.¨

Refugees leave behind their family, friends, and culture to come to a safe haven. The bilingual program makes the transition smoother for each student and matches the needs per student. It also gives students a chance to meet other people from different cultures. Although it is hard for these students to transition into a culture they’ve never known before, the bilingual program helps students find their way.