Gotta love algebra – but not rugby
Teenager Yesica Ospina Orosco is looking forward to getting stuck into some algebra in 2011. Yes, really. The 13-year-old Colombian is ready to again walk through the gates of Porirua’s Bishop Viard College.
Yesica, her two siblings and mother Clemencia live in Cannons Creek. They arrived in New Zealand midway through last year, fleeing armed conflict between the government, paramilitary and guerilla groups, and the everpresent spectre of drugs, in their homeland.
They are one of 13 Colombian families who have settled in Porirua, with two more due to arrive this month.
Yesica already had a taste then of life in New Zealand, and school, and cannot wait to begin her studies again. While her English is coming along well, through English as a Second Language classes, Maggie Rapson from Refugee Services was kind enough to give up her time as an interpreter for Kapi-Mana News.
Colombia will always be home for Yesica, where they have left family behind, but they are determined to make the most of the second chance offered by our government.
‘‘Everything in New Zealand is nice and people are very friendly.
‘‘It is more relaxing for me and my family. It was hard in the beginning to get new friends but the teachers [at Viard] help me and I’m beginning to learn the language.
‘‘I enjoy meeting new people and learning about a new culture.’’
Expressions like ‘‘ you know’’ and ‘‘no worries’’ are becoming more common in the outgoing teenager’s vocabulary, thanks to Kiwi friends bringing her up to speed on our vernacular.
At school, Yesica, a year 10 student, enjoys the fact that there is PE every day, subjects like information technology, cooking and French are on offer, and the hours are more regular.
In Colombia, students at different academic levels study at dif- ferent times of the day and night.
Yesica has a question for KapiMana News you don’t often hear from a 13-year-old.
‘‘At what level do you do study algebra?’’
She has a genuine interest in maths, and it highlights her desire to get stuck into schoolwork in her adopted country.
While activities like volleyball, swimming and rollerblading occupy her free time, she is unlikely to extend her sporting flair to our national game. ‘‘Rugby is strange. ‘‘Everyone owns a rugby ball and walks around with one.
‘‘I tried to play but they seemed to change the rules all the time and I just throw it [the ball] away when people are chasing me.’’
Looking to learn: Yesica Ospina Orosco resumes her studies at Bishop Viard College this week. She is one of a number of Colombian students attending the school. She says while the Colombians stick together, they have made many Kiwi friends since arriving in this country.