Mariam Cessouma


As a desperate French speaker in this English speaking city of New York, I looked everywhere but could do nothing without English. My trial has been tremendously hard; I was thoroughly lost. But I thought I must not gave up.

One morning the sun rose on my life.  Accessing English classes for free in this city, known as a place where nothing is free, I couldn't believe it, but it is real. The English Speaking Union has developed free English Programs for New Americans, recently arrived immigrants and refugees. In the ESU I have met students from all over the world, with different languages, cultures and background. I have discovered smiling administrators, teachers that to the best of their ability have helped me access and succeed in all programs. I have been fascinated by the energetic workers in the ESU’s free diverse programs. In addition, there are free MetroCard, free breakfast, free lunch and free snacks and beverages for all.

We give thanks to Dr. Andrew Romay, founder of this wonderful program. There are not enough words to praise Dr. Romay, the main supporter of ESU new immigrants’ center and a key part of a scholarship program for eligible students. And what about the great job done by the hard working team of volunteers? As part of ESU, the volunteers are awesome and knowledgeable about students’ rich and abundant cultures. They help me to achieve my first goal, they are my pillars. ESU education is a rainbow of teaching. What I consider as my crowning success are the happiness and pleasure in accomplishment brought about by the dear administration, teachers, volunteers and classmates.

ESU is a bridge helping New Americans, immigrants and refugees to make their dreams come true. My English language improvement is not just by my own effort but because of the constant inspiration that I received from ESU education.


Let me speak about the student cafeteria. For all the wonders of the ESU, we should not forget the cafeteria. The cafe is more than the place where we can have breakfast. Thanks to our generous funder and donor Dr. Andrew Romay, the cafeteria has become the real center of multi-cultural exchange. How can the cafeteria be described?

For every class day at ESU, as soon as I push the entrance door, I greet the front desk receptionist and walk down to the basement where the cafeteria is located. On my right, my eyes fall on the coffee maker, the hot water boiler for tea, the milk, honey and crackers. At the center, we have a large table full of fresh fruit, wheat bread, hummus, peanut butter and so on. After washing and drying my hands, I stand confused: I don't know where to start! The snacks and beverages are funded by Dr. Andrew Romay, the main supporter of ESU New Immigrant Center. The basement, location of the cafeteria is the “breathing floor”. There we students interact with each other as people coming from all different backgrounds and countries. The cafeteria has become the real place of cultural exchange and if, it didn't exist, it would have to be created. As students, we give thanks to Dr. Andrew Romay.


Education - teaching-guidance-knowledge is your first name,

Sympathy - caring-concern-harmony is your second name,

Universes - all together-turned into one is your motto.

ESU, you gave me hope,

ESU, I am glad you helped me to learn English for free,

ESU, you inspired me to be an active part of this world,

ESU, you gave me a great opportunity to be helpful to my world,

ESU, you helped me achieve for free my short-term goal,

ESU, you help new Americans, immigrants, refugees to learn English for free,

ESU, you are the best, thank you for your help,

ESU, thank you for your patience,

ESU, thank you for your tolerance.

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