Patience and Passion: An Unstoppable Pair

Norma and Linda embracing

After looking for a concrete way to create impact in her community, long-time Boulder County resident Linda registered to volunteer with Intercambio. “I signed up to teach, and they, thank goodness, paired me with Norma. We’ve been together for five and a half years,” she says.

A former nurse in Mexico, Norma began taking English classes with Linda and has been promoted from cook to supervisor in the kitchen of a local hotel. While she says her classes are difficult, she enjoys these sessions with her teacher: “I love Linda because she’s patient. I told everybody I have the best teacher in the world. Nobody has patience like her.

Unlocking Opportunities for Students and Teachers

Norma began to study English at Intercambio to be more involved in her daughters’ education, get a better job, and communicate well in her community. Linda signed up to help people like Norma achieve their goals and did not realize how simple it could be to teach English. She says, “They make it very easy for the teachers. I’m not a teacher, but Intercambio has developed a system that makes it straightforward for people like me to be able to teach, even though I don’t have the background for it.

More than an English Class

When asked to describe her teacher, Norma says, “She’s the best person I know in the United States. She is my friend, my teacher. She gives me hugs like my mom: so sweet hugs. When I lost my dad three years ago, my God, I feel, her hugs is so nice for me. It’s everything.”

Linda echoes similar gratitude for her student. “I’m so lucky I have this student who has become my friend, and who has had so much courage in her life. I deeply admire how quickly and fiercely she speaks up when someone is treated unfairly.” She continues, “You know, there’s just this integrity about her. Her commitment to her family and her love for her family and what she does for them. She inspires me. I sometimes think, ‘Well, what would Norma do in this situation?’”

Life-Changing Skills and Connections

Norma has “more confidence in herself” at work and in her community thanks to her improved English skills, a confidence that makes it easier to stand up for what is right. After she was promoted at the hotel, Norma noticed that a group of customers from Mexico were being treated differently. Prepared to quit over the issue, Norma handed in her resignation. Luckily, “[my manager] changed everything. Now it’s different,” Norma shares.

A Glowing Recommendation to Join the Intercambio Community

When asked if she’d recommend Intercambio to others, Norma looks at Linda and says with a big smile, “Oh, yes. If Linda teach everybody, I recommend 100%!” Linda is also happy to refer others: “I always mention Intercambio to people — how Intercambio makes it straightforward, and easier than one would think to do this work. And how rewarding it is to work with people, make friends with them, and be more a part of my community. I recommend it to people all the time.”

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