Pierre is from the Central African Republic, and he arrived in Durham in 2013. He enjoys watching sports, especially soccer, and was a a professional soccer player in his home country. Now he spends most of his time in class to improve his English skills, and he is also in the process of working to get his driver’s license.
Q: What are your first memories of Durham ?
A : Well, coming here, first I was welcomed by the people from CWS. The first thing that I saw, it was the students who came to see me. We discussed with them, America, what’s it like, they said no. America is always good. No problem between me and the students, or American people, we made contact with each other.
Q : And now, do you still think America is always good ?
A : Yes for the moment. Me, I know that it’s…it’s OK. No problem.
Q : What are the surprising things for you here ?
A : There is one thing in America, it’s very difficult for us, the Central Africans : we do not know how to speak English, we do not know how to write words in English. We are here to go train in English classes. That’s it.
Q : Do you find that the English classes help you ?
A : Yes that helps us, how to use words or letters of the alphabet, that we know. That is what I like about America, it’s for learning a lot of languages. Speaking languages, and English, once I know that, it’s OK. Unfortunately, I don’t yet. That’s it.
Q : Why do you have the desire to obtain your driver’s license ?
A : In America, here, if you have a license, you have your [credit] card, you can move, go buy something at the store and come back with it. Since it’s cold here a lot, you get in your car and you go to Food Lion, you buy some food.
Translated by: Zoë Bakker, Josie Holasek, and Sophie Alman
Bonus video: Pierre and Paul sing a song in Sango, a language of the Central African Republic. Paul described it as a “song of one’s heart in joy.”