Margarida Fernandes

PPL Alum Margarida Fernandes

I’m from Cape Verde, on the Island of Brava. At age 11 my education was interrupted, but I never let go of my desire to learn. At 19 I went back to finished elementary school and integrated into high school. Then I completed my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration in the city of Leiria, Portugal. After entering the job market on my island, working in many positions such as Municipal Secretary (in the executive part of the City Council) and the Manager of a Government Fight Against Poverty program on my island, I did some professional training to help people who want to create or develop a business. In addition, I actively participated in the public life of my country and my island.

When I arrived in the US, I knew very little English. I couldn’t go anywhere alone because I couldn’t communicate well. My vocabulary was very poor and I was too afraid to venture out. I attended the Library’s RIFLI English as a Second Language program at East Providence and Cranston public libraries. The reason was to improve my English, learn more about US culture, and to feel more integrated in society.

I learned a lot, and after a year, I can already communicate better and more confidently at work. I got my driver license, can schedule appointments, go to the doctor alone and without the presence of an interpreter. My experience was extraordinary. I had opportunities to practice in all aspects such as reading, listening, speaking, writing and grammar. All classes had students dedicated and hardworking when it came to achieving their goals. All of the instructors I’ve studied with are well prepared and dedicated professionals who push students to help achieve their goals.

I’m currently working at Walmart as a cashier; however, my goals are learning more and getting a better job.

Professor Jon Lavieri always challenges us to practice writing and I have two essays published and shared on our class blog. I plan to go back to the program because I miss it. Further down the road I intend to study for credit and study something that helps me work in my academic field.

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