A Whole New World

Girl learns new language, exceeds in new life


Photo submitted by Namitta Phrasalak

Namitta Phrasalak poses for a photo for Homecoming pictures at Bee Tree Park Oct. 1. “I wanted to wear something that represents me,” Phrasalak said. She wore a traditional Thai skirt to display her roots.

Namitta Phrasalak (12) immigrated with her parents from Thailand to the United States in 2016 to find a better life. She had entered a new country where her first language was not spoken and since then has grown into the young woman she is today.

At the age of twelve, learning a new language was rather difficult for Phrasalak upon arriving at a new school.

“When I attended Bernard [Middle School], no one was from Thai, so I wasn’t able to talk to anyone,” Phrasalak said. “I had to communicate through a tablet using Google Translate that doesn’t really work all the time.” 

Looking around in school, she struggled to find a familiar face or someone to just relate to.

“No one was from Thai,” Phrasalak said. “It’s very lonely being the only Thai student in school.”

Phrasalak struggled to create bonds with students in school due to the language barrier.

“People were nice to me, but we never became friends…” Phrasalak said. “We’re more like classmates than friends.”

However, she has focused on her presence in school and has proved that she has worked hard.

“…I was able to make my family proud of my academic performance…” Phrasalak said.

Although she claims to have been a bad student back at home, her achievements at OHS say otherwise.

“This year I joined eight clubs and I’m an officer for four of them,” Phrasalak said.

Coming to America has given Phrasalak a chance to start fresh.

“When I moved here, I realized that I get this, like, great opportunity to start new… It’s like you’re born again, innocent,” Phrasalak said.

The last time she visited her home country, she was able to learn even more about herself.

“When I visited Thailand, I was able to find a life, not finalize, but get close to my, like, final dream,” Phrasalak said.

Though she may not live there, her homeland has impacted her future career.

“My grandma in Thailand has Parkinson’s disease, a neural disease,” Phrasalak said, “so I want to be a neurologist so I can take care of the people who have to go through the same path as my grandma.”

With these goals in life, Phrasalak goes on to make her parents glad they paved the way for this opportunity.

“The past six years, my family, they say they’re proud of me, so that’s probably my biggest achievement, making my family proud,” Phrasalak said.

With so much accomplished, her goals in life will hopefully impact those around her.

“I want to be able to use my time to make people the happiest they can be,” Phrasalak said.

At the end of the day, Phrasalak is no longer the quiet girl in class and can now live her new life with more ease.

“I’m proud of myself.”