Written by: Ivan Brave
One of the first friendly faces you see when you exit the Midtown elevator on the eleventh floor, walking towards our front desk, is Eduardo's. I usually teach in the Upper West Side, but when good luck brings me the chance to tutor in our central location, I always take it. And Eduardo always greets me with enthusiasm, cheerfulness, and friendliness. "Hello, Ivan!" he says. "Hello, Eduardo!" I reply. Our exchange stayed on this friendly level for a few weeks, until I learned from him that he actually takes classes in the Upper West Side, in addition to working. "What are you doing here?" I asked him once, as polite as possible, seeing him enter the light-filled lounge of the Upper West Side school. "I take classes," he explained. "What! No way! You work and study at the same time?" Eduardo smiled real wide, as he usually does. "Yes, I do."
I knew then he would make an excellent interviewee. His perspective would inspire other students, students who work as Eduardo does, while also taking intensive English courses. It's tough, but possible. Even I took classes while teaching here, last year. Eduardo's story gives us hard-working New Yorkers hope. If he can do it, we all can. You can.
What is your favorite day of the week? Why?
Saturday, because you can either sleep twelve hours in a row or you could not sleep at all and there is no school or work the next day.
For formality's sake, what is your full name, where are you from, where do you live, and when did you start working at the NYLC?
I’m from San Salvador the capital of El Salvador, I live in Elizabeth New Jersey and I started to work at NYLC in June 2018. My full name has four names: Eduardo Alejandro Ramírez Mendoza, a very typical thing for Latins. Maybe it's weird or maybe not, I’ve met a French person with eight names.
What happened first, work or study, at NYLC?
Work, then I decided to study English in the Upper West Side branch. As you know I don't have much time in the States, this is my first full time job and I work to start my professional life. I'm also a waiter in a banquet restaurant. From my point of view, I want to gain experience the best way I can, step by step. I think both jobs help me a lot, mainly the student services job.
How do you do both? (How long are classes, how long do you study outside of class, and how many hours do you work?)
I work around 7 hours daily and when I leave work I go directly to UWS school, sometimes I have time to study and do homework before the class that starts and ends from 6 to 9 pm.
I like what I do. I wouldn't have been so good at this job if I had not been member of the Association of Students of Chemical Engineering in the university and also of the Association of Scouts of El Salvador. There I learn many things that now help me to do what I do, like working under pressure, following protocol, taking inquiries, filing paper work, documents, managing entire camps with 100 kids or more, etc.
What is your favorite word in English? In Spanish?
I’ve never thought about this… in English ephemeral and in Spanish inmarcesible.
Ephemeral: lasting for a very short time
Inmarcesible (Immarcescible, in English): unfading, that which does not shrivel.
What is the strangest phrase/idiom in English you know? Why is it strange?
“Once in a blue moon.” It isn’t strange, but interesting because when I heard it for the first time I didn’t know such thing as a blue moon existed.
What is the best advice you ever received?
I don’t exactly remember who gave it to me or how it goes exactly, but to answer I’ll quote a phase from my favorite TV show, Grey’s Anatomy.
“Change: We don't like it, we fear it, but we can't stop it from coming. We either adapt to change, or we get left behind. It hurts to grow, anybody who tells you it doesn't is lying. But here's the truth: Sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same. And sometimes, oh, sometimes change is good. Sometimes change is everything.”
I think change isn’t easy, but it is always there and we have to be prepared and ready for it
What are three ways you stay motivated and awake in the mornings?
Coffee is essential even if I drink decaf it helps me to stay awake the whole day. The more I practice speaking and listening the more I learn. And believing that I can learn new things, and be better in what I do every day, helps too.
To be independent, grow professionally, make new friends, move around different cities, start college in the future, basically to have more opportunities in a new home where everything seems to be so different from our native countries.
I want to travel to Europe, Australia and England. But if I had the chance, I would travel back to El Salvador just for a couple of days to visit my family, friends and dogs (I have one German Shepard and a Cocker Spaniel, both mixed).
College is in my plans, might be in my town, Elizabeth, but it would be nice if I could study in NY. I'm working on that at the moment, but I'm not so sure about what major would be best for me, I have two options though, finishing what I started as a Chemical Engineer or start something from scratch like Business Management, Accounting or even Tourism Management. I am taking suggestions.
Here's a suggestion, Eduardo: keep doing what you are doing! You are doing great. Follow your passion and follow your instinct. It has led you to the greatest city in the world. Maybe you will study here for university. Maybe not. But, I trust, that no matter where you are, if you keep shining and working as hard as you do, you will make it anywhere.
After all, you do know what they say about New York. If you can make it here...