Hazardous home

The road the America


Quincey Epley

Freshman William Vega is quick with a smile, even though adapting to a new culture this year has been a challenge.

Try to visualize getting told by your parents that you are moving to a different country in a few weeks. Your parents would tell you that it’s a good opportunity, and you’d be able to live a better style of life. In this new country, they would eat different types of foods, celebrate different holidays, and to top it all off, everyone around you would speak a different language. What would you think? More importantly, how would you feel? This scenario is very similar to what freshman William Vega went through.

About a year ago, Vega was told by his father that he would be moving to America from El Salvador, his home country. He essentially, had to pack up his life and sit through what seemed to be the longest flight in the world to come here for better opportunities. Even though it may seem like it would be easy to you, it wasn’t for him, and it still isn’t. He had to leave all of his friends and family, start a new school, live in a new home, and learn an entire language that he’s never spoken or heard spoken before. “Everything is different,” he said.

“North Platte is very different from where [I] come from,” he said. He thinks that North Platte is more relaxed. “The people are less conscious of their surroundings,” he said. Vega also thinks it’s prettier than where he’s from, but he has mixed emotions on his schooling. “The way that [we] learn is completely different,” he said, “Here it’s a lot easier.” Vega thinks he liked his school in El Salvador better. “[We] studied more and had more schooling [there],” he said. However, he really likes the classes, especially gym and weights. Even if it is frustrating for him to get around the building. “The school is very, very big,” he said.

But, as expected, he misses his home a lot. “[I] miss [my] school, work, family and especially [my] friends,” he said. “[I] miss [my] friends because every day [we] used to hangout.”

Vega’s home country is very dangerous; it is occupied by several extremely threatening gangs. This week, “The Los Angeles Times” reported that it is the most murderous country in the world, with about 7,000 killings last year. “You couldn’t be out at night,” he said. If you were out past 10 p.m., you could be hurt by both the gangs and the police. The police would hurt and possibly kill anybody who even slightly looked suspicious. It could even be something as little as a tattoo. He believes that played a part in his parents decision to make him move.

Even through all of his struggles, Vega is adapting well. Some things are more effortless than others too. “Studying for school is easy but learning English is not,” he said. He does like it. “It’s pretty awesome, [I’m] learning a lot of new things,” he said, “[I’m] learning English quickly.”

Right now, he’s very focused on learning English, and he wants to finish high school. He is also considering college. A big move like his is very hard, but it’s not impossible. William Vega is proving that.