Spotlight on an ESL Student


ESL studentImagine moving from India and submerging oneself into the culture, language, and schooling of America.  This is exactly what Rohit Khosla, junior, did when he left his home country with his family in a hope to achieve better education.

Rohit Khosla moved to the United States on December 24, 2004 after living in India his entire life.  Speaking only Hindi and Punjabi, his native languages, Khosla lived in Virginia and enrolled in school at Daniel Middle School.  Upon starting school, he enrolled in the English as a Second Language, or ESL, program.

Before attending school, Khosla remembers picking up bits and pieces of Spanish prior learning English.  “I actually thought at first that Americans spoke Spanish,” said Khosla, “I learned it much easier than English and spoke a little bit of Spanish when I started school [at Daniel Middle School].”

After learning the basics of English in the ESL program at Daniel Middle School, Khosla enrolled in Leesville and continued his study of the language.  Rohit says he likes Punjabi more than English, but loves learning vocabulary: “I don’t understand why Americans don’t know what any words mean.  I like understanding big, complicated words.”

The transition into Leesville was not difficult for Khosla, but the differences between attending school here and in India were great.

Khosla said, “I got lost the first few days at Leesville.  It is a lot bigger than anywhere else I had ever gone to school.  Everything is very spread out.”  When asked how the education itself was different, Rohit was quick to compare his teachers at Leesville to those in India.

“Here at Leesville, teachers are always staying after to help students and explain things you [students] don’t understand.  At my old schools, the classes were much smaller, but you had to figure stuff out for yourself.  If you didn’t understand, you would have to just reread the text book until you got it.”

While Khosla’s parents are not yet fluent in English, they took classes in Virginia before moving to North Carolina.

Nonetheless, Khosla is proud of his family and everything they have accomplished in recent years.  Rohit says his sister, Sarika, has learned to speak English very well, “as well as any American.”  Sarika is twenty-one and attending Meredith, the largest private women’s college in the Southeast. Khosla says he is very proud of his sister for getting into a private college and becoming so successful.

Rohit’s most exciting news to date occurred last week, when he took and passed his citizenship test.  “I was so excited,” said Khosla. “My sister already has her citizenship and my mom will be a citizen next year, but I was still very worried about the test.  I took classes to prepare, and answered all six of the questions correctly.”

Khosla plans to attend Wake Tech Community College for two years after graduating next year.  After Wake Tech, Rohit hopes to attend UNC Chapel Hill.


  1. I understand how you feel. Because I came from the Dominican Republic when I was 14 years old and I remember how hard was learning a new language, new culture and finding friend I remember my first year of school in Leesville it was terrible, because I didn’t know English and it was hard for me try to understand what other people was saying but I never give up I work so hard in my English and I’m not going to lie, I cried a lot every night because of that. And even that I was in ESL class it took me a while to understand the teacher, homework etc… But my ESL teacher helps me as much as she could and now I know how to speak English and write, read. I use to sacrifice my lunch to studying and have some extra help and I’m very glad that you going to take your naturalization test, it’s very important because that way we can vote and show to our government support.

  2. I couldn’t imagine moving from here to a country like India or anywhere else, but I bet the transition would be immense. Seeing as how I’ve lived in the United States all of my life, abruptly moving to another country altogether where the language was entirely different, then having to go to school there would be quite the challenge. I’m glad that the teachers were around to help; they should always offer to aid their students. Like in Rohit’s case, he had to stay after school a lot. The fact that teachers would be willing to sacrifice their time to help their students when they could be doing something else means a lot. To me, it means that they care for the education of their students, and want to preserve it. In my honest opinion, I believe every single soul on this earth should be this kind, if not more.


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