New Iowan: Nermina

Time Frame: 2005

This is an interview with a young, New Iowan, as part of the documentary "Our Kids."
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Bosnia, High School Junior

I'm from Bosnia. I've been here three and a half years. My family did farm there, and I grew there. It was fun. They had two houses - big houses, and we had a lot of land. I have seven year-old brother and he always speak English with me. And we try to speak with my parents, but they don't understand.

This is the picture of my class when I was in fifth grade. And there's a teacher. There's me, my grandma, my brother - he's now seven but he was two years old, one and a half, I don't know. And there's my older brother, he's three years older than me. There's me, and my mom, and my uncle, and I was in second grade here. And there's my friend, that I send her letters, and me. We went every year, at the end we go somewhere like in big city in Bosnia - like all day we spend there with our class, yeah, and we went there in...seventh grade. There are some of my friends, and my brother and me, when we celebrated my brother's birthday, outside. And there's me, there's my brother, and one of his friends. One donation brought some color books, big ones, and they gave us some.

In Bosnia there are people all over the place, you know, walking. But here, everybody has car and they're driving. And, you know, at night, seven, eight o'clock, people are walking, just walking around. But here, you can't see anybody. Nobody's out.

School in Iowa

The hardest part, I didn't know anybody, I didn't know English, I didn't know... anything. All the teachers tried to help me if I don't understand something, but I'm shy to ask. My favorite subject is P.E., Physical Education, because I don't need English there, so... I like to play soccer, and if I have art, I draw about soccer, or soccer balls, and things - so, you get the idea, I like it. In Bosnia I was in most of the sports, but here I I couldn't, because I don't speak English and all the girls, you know, American, so... I always wanted to be a police officer. And I just like it. When I was in Bosnia, I wanted it to do. It doesn't matter, in Bosnia or here.

Advice to Teachers and Students

I think to explain a few times, not only once. And use easy words, not difficult ones. When they learn English, and... to don't be shy, like I was. If I knew a word, I wouldn't say it because I thought I was going to say it wrong. And to read the books, to read anything.


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