Latinx Flint NEWS

Meet Sheyla Mclain: Somos Latinx

By Alondra Rosas Ornelas | Latinx Flint Media

“I chose to study preschool because I was a mother before studying and I did not know what to do. I thought that if I went to a university and prepared myself and learned how to do it, then I could help her and other children.”

-Sheyla Mclain

This news article is also available in: Español (Spanish) English

FLINT, Michigan – Somos Latinx serves to highlight and connect community members in Flint & Genesee County.  Recognizing the experiences of families and individuals in our community reveals the complex experience of Latinx Life in the United States and in our local community. Somos Latinx drives civic engagement and awareness.

The following is a conversation between Latinx Flint Media and Sheyla Mclain: 

Where are you from? 

Costa Rica. I was born in a place that is on the Pacific coast, it is a port and it is called Puerto Golfito. That place was built by a company from the United States. They built a bowling club, a movie theater, a club with swimming pools, and houses just like the ones here.

Did you go to university?

I was there until high school and then I moved to the city to go to college. And I stayed in Heredia and then I started working. I studied preschool and bilingual education, but I took two semesters because the prices were very high and I could not pay, so I decided to study preschool only. After I finished my degree I started to work, but in my country preschool education was not official, so in each school, there was only one group. I called the office and they gave me space to work in primary school. I thought that I did not have the exact education for that so I went back to university and got primary education. I finished and started working in the ministry of education in my country and I was working doing the institutions and all that. In Costa Rica, we have a recruiting service for teachers and I thought I wanted to compete to have my property with the government, so I went to the university again. At the same time, I was raising my children. For personal reasons, I had to leave the ministry of education to take care of my children. I stopped working full time and then I had the opportunity to work in private schools. I got a job at a school that paid in dollars and was bilingual. The students were from the United States, Canada, Europe, Italy, France. It was a very nice experience.

Why did you choose preschool?

I chose to study preschool because I was a mother before studying and I did not know what to do. And I wanted to give my daughter a good education. So I thought that if I went to a university and prepared myself and learned how to do it, then I could help her and other children. And I liked children. I felt that I had patience because when I was studying I liked to teach others so that I could improve my grades in the exams. And my family are educators too.

Bridging language & cultural barriers para una comunidad saludable!

Why did you move here?

When I was working in the bilingual school I was teaching in the afternoon. I would teach parents who did not know how to help their children with their homework. So the parents would come to me for Spanish classes to help their children. One of those dads was an Italian and he knew my husband so he connected him with me. After a while, he (my husband)  told me that he wanted to learn Spanish so I started giving him Spanish classes. And we started talking more and more and more and then he said he wanted to marry me and we got married and we came here.

What do you miss about Costa Rica?

My daughter, the children, the warmth of the Latinos, the parties, the family. I was always an immigrant. I began to emigrate from my place where I was born to another city and moving away from there I began to process what it felt like to feel alone, away from family, away from friends. So I have lived in many places and I have had to assimilate quickly.

What was the hardest part of coming here?

My daughter. I miss her and the children. I have two grandchildren.

Happiest moments of your life?

The happiest moments of my life have been when I met my children. For me, the happiest moments represent when you meet a person you love very much.

What has been an obstacle you have overcome? 

One of the obstacles has been the language and understanding the culture. That, I think, has been the biggest obstacle because at the beginning you don’t know anything and you have to start learning how everything is done here. There are still things that I don’t know how to do.

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Marcia McGee

This is such a great article.