Killeen: Hungarian soldier learns English to join US ranks
April is English Language Month- a time to celebrate all those working hard to learn our lingo.
One student is giving us a glimpse into what it's like to master the language with the ultimate goal to serve her new country.
Meet Aniko Farkas.
“I was kind of scared to use English at all, so in the beginning, I really didn't pick up the phone,” she says.
Born in rural East Hungary, she served in the Hungarian Armed Forces for nine years and rose to First Lieutenant.
She later deployed to Egypt where she met her American husband.
He is now an active duty soldier on Fort Hood, and for Farkas, that meant starting over in a foreign land.
"I couldn't just look in the past and cry about it, so I had to move forward, and I had to figure out what I'm going to do here," she says.
Farkas decided to crossover into the U.S. Army, which meant she had to learn the language plus the abbreviations.
After one semester, she tested out of Central Texas College's year and a half 'English as a Second Language' course.
She then enlisted in the Texas National Guard.
She's currently enrolled in the ROTC program at Texas A & M Central Texas and majoring in history.
"She's very self-motivated to do the best at everything she does," says military science instructor Bryan Evans.
"She's one of the top performers in the class," adds history professor Jerry Jones.
"There's no shortcut for that- it's hard work, but the work pays off."
That work ethic continues to carry over into other challenges, but Farkas still says learning English has been the biggest hurdle.
"Especially the text messages!" she smiles.
"In the beginning, I would really have to ask what is 'LOL'?"
Farkas plans to pursue military intelligence after graduating next year.
"Here, Google is your friend," she laughs.
But for now, she's taking it one word at a time.
Her skills also continue outside the classroom. She recently competed in and finished first in her category in New Mexico's Bataan Memorial Death March.
That requires carrying 40 pounds over 26.2 miles.
Next, she is hoping to represent her school at the Army Ten-Miler Marathon in October in Washington D.C.
Any interested sponsors should contact the A&M Central Texas's Advancement Office at 254-519-5744 or email Karen.Clos@tamuct.edu.