Making It in New York City A Macaulay @ Hunter "Peopling of New York" Seminar Project: Spring 2013

Literacy and Opportunity

How does one make it in New York? And is the knowledge of English necessary to do so? To approach this question, we explored the Chinatown Literacy Project as a case-study. The CLP offers free English lessons to Chinese immigrants in the Lower East Side, providing them with a valuable learning experience that many of them would otherwise not be able to afford. We approached different members of the organization – students, teachers and volunteers – in an attempt to comprehend the complex mechanism of learning a new language and its social implications. Why did these New Yorkers choose to learn English? And what role does the CLP play in the Chinatown community? Upon conducting our interviews, we learned that different people have extremely different motives for learning English; everyone is simply trying to make it in their own way.

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