Friendly Competition

Originally from Bhutan, Bhakti and Chhali moved to Des Moines from a refugee camp in Nepal. Since then, they have been hard at work improving their English and establishing their new life in Iowa.

But they remember feeling overwhelmed when the time came to take their U.S. citizenship exam. They both worked seven days a week and struggled to find time to study for their exam.

Their LSI volunteer, Ron, was there to help.

Ron has been volunteering with LSI’s Refugee Community Services for more than four years, teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) classes in Des Moines. He met Bhakti and Chhali in class and helped them prepare for the reading and writing components of their exam.

Bhakti and Chhali say Ron went above and beyond in teaching them. As their test date approached, Ron met with them outside of class to make sure they got the additional practice they needed to feel confident.

And the experience was great for Ron, too. He enjoyed Bhakti and Chhali’s competitive personalities, which made it a joy to work with them on their exam.

“They both supported and competed with each other,” he says. “That helped them learn, and they were committed to doing well.”

All their hard work paid off. Bhakti and Chhali passed their exam last year.

“We appreciate the help our volunteers gave us on the citizenship exam,” Bhakti says. “They are so committed to seeing us meet our goals.”

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