United Speakers provides learning opportunities for Congolese immigrants

Senior Megan Kraus, President of United Speakers has an obsession with foreign languages. She said it began at the end of her freshman year of high school because of a song called “Jueves” by La Oreja de Van Gogh. She said she spent the next year finding out the exact words and the meaning behind the lyrics, and from there she realized other countries had similar stories and emotions.

“I kind of really like how language opens doors to completely new places,” Kraus said. “It’s kind of a way of meeting new people, and you learn so much about a culture, about people and their language. This is just for me personally, but grammar just kind of makes sense.”

For two hours every Sunday, Kraus and other members from United Speakers can be found teaching English skills and culture to the Congolese population in Kirksville.

Kraus said many of Kirksville’s Congolese citizens came to the United States through the diversity visa, which is a visa for people from countries who don’t often immigrate to the U.S. She said it worked through a lottery system, so once they’re 18 and have received their high school diploma, they’re able to enter into the lottery system. If chosen, they can get a visa to the United States.

Kraus said it is important to continue teaching the Congolese population because it’s not likely they are going to go home soon because of the diversity visa. She said it is important to learn about their situation.

Kraus said it is important to be aware of immigration issues, not just in Kirksville, but in general. Given that immigration is a topic of concern in the news and there a lot of people with strong opinions, it’s best if the teachers are up to date on the situation, Kraus elaborated.


For more information about Truman students’ relationship with Kirksville’s Congolese population, pick up a copy of The Index on March 8.