A Thing That I Will Never Forget

Yongdan wang2 international student voice magazine
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I’ll never forget the first time I cried in America. As a new international student, arriving in the U.S. can be stressful. Read more.

I’ll never forget the first time I cried in America. Unlike most international students, I arrived in America in advance to adapt to the life using English and then participated in a summer intensive language program organized by The Ohio State University. Before coming to campus, I went to my uncle’s home in Austin, Texas. As a result, I needed to transfer from the Los Angeles International Airport to Dallas International Airport on my own. Before I left my parents from Shanghai Pudong, I did not feel depressed, sad, or anything negative. Instead of that, I was eager to complete things on my own and would like to prove whether I was independent enough as the adults who can take care of themselves. Even though I found that I was really bad at speaking English fluently, I succeeded in arriving in the destination finally.

Arriving in the Dallas, Texas airport
Arriving in the Dallas, Texas airport


However, good things did not last forever. After arriving in America, I felt overwhelmed that I cannot understand Americans’ conversation at all, and I even cannot figure out their topics or themes. When I went to the Microsoft store, telephone store, and even restaurants, I acted like an illiterate who was not able to understand their language and was afraid of talking to people in English. Plus, sometimes I even got confused when my cousin who was only six years old said something in English. I mean her pronunciation was perfect and spoke almost like domestic kids. I began to feel unconfident and sad about my poor listening and speaking. More importantly, I felt homesick when I saw my cousin’s colorful childhood, harmonious family, and meaningful education. I started to wonder why I had to go away from my family and study abroad. I was at a loss about why I came here because I liked spending time with my family and apparently I was not good at English. When I kept thinking about all these things, I cried hysterically and wildly without any control. However, I think this is a normal thing for everyone who will leave home for a long time.

Eventually, I calmed down about my situation and understood what actions I need to take after crying. I would like to seize the initiative to talk with Americans, like consulting workers in the office and people in the front registration desk, dealing with the problem of my debit cards and becoming more active than before in the SILP class. In fact, what I need to do, and what  everyone else needs to do, is just be ourselves, trying our best, and never putting too much pressure on ourselves.

Submitted to ISV Magazine by:

Yongdan Wang

The Ohio State University


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