My first year in the US.

When I was in China, I decided to take an «adventure» and plan the United States into my future. When I was about to go abroad, I was so excited that I thought everything would be easier than in  China. But in fact, it took me a long time to adjust to American culture, which is completely different from Chinese culture. But I have to say that I have gained a lot from my years in America. 

When I set foot in the United States on the first day without my family, I felt some panic inside, but fortunately, I had a few friends with me to go along. The first trouble happened when I was preparing to transfer to Detroit.  My friends and I went to a restaurant together for dinner.  We would put the luggage…the luggage was missing.  When we went to the airport management, someone explained to us that they had suspected there was a bomb in the luggage because nobody was managing it.  So, they gave our luggage to the police.To make matters worse, we were about to board the plane and my English was not very good.  I thought about giving up my school bag which was worth $4,000, but my other two friends chose not to board the plane either so they could help me navigate the airport and the police.Fortunately, I got my luggage back and there was one last flight to Detroit. We were able to change our tickets. This incident made me realize that friendship is indispensable in life because when we are in trouble, true friends will step forward to help us get out of it.

During this time, I also felt culture shock after the different cultures I was exposed to. It seems to me that the purpose of education in Chinese and American schools is completely different. In China, the huge population base makes students face a lot of pressure and students have to become exam machines so that’s why Chinese people are better at math than other countries because they remember the formulas very well, but in my opinion, the American learning culture is more fascinating and I think the purpose of American education is more like the belief that everyone has a skill and can choose the course you are better at or like more. But this was very difficult for me when I first arrived in the U.S..  Also, at first I was late…until I became familiar with my schedule. I also found it very interesting that we went to the teacher’s classroom, whereas in China we had regular classmates and teachers for each subject. There were a variety of activities in American high schools that were not available in traditional Chinese high schools, such as Homecoming. I gradually became more confident and knew what I wanted in my American education. For example, I can talk more confidently with others about my views on some things and seek help mainly from friends when I am in trouble.

Similarly, in my first year in the United States, I made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot from them. The most profound ones for me were absences and homework assignments, because in China if one gets good grades on midterms and finals, one gets a grade similar to an A. I thought the same thing my first semester in the U.S., so I missed a lot of classes and did not turn in homework assignments, and at the end of the semester, I got a C in math, which I thought was the easiest, even though I got an A on my final exam. Just being good on a test isn’t feasible, you need to work on your progress throughout the semester so that you deserve a real A.

I think this «adventure» is not as simple as «I just came here», as Mr. Yu Guangzhong said: “it will make people look long term, I will see that different people have different habits and find that not everyone lives in the way I understand. I will see that different people have different habits and find that not everyone is living in the way I understand. For me too, I can be exposed to the culture of different countries and feel the charm brought by the culture shock. The purpose of travel or adventure is to discover new and good things and incorporate them into my own body”.

Cite:1. 余光中. 余光中精選集. 九歌, 9 Nov. 2002.

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