An accomplishment that I am most proud of is my ability to learn the English Language and succeed academically. I came to the United States from Korea in the 11th grade. Though I had learned some English words and phrases, I could not communicate very well with others. …
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They often fail to recognize the challenges in communicating and making friends. Though language can be learned and cultures can be studied in advance, it is never the same when finally arriving on foreign soil. Customs that are important to youth and young adults are often not those that can be learned by reading a textbook or watching television. This is significant, as teens in the US have their own way of speaking and using language, which is very different from that of their parents. Often teens group even those in their social circles by specific categories. At first, I had no idea of the meaning behind many of the terms or categories. I attracted quite a bit of attention, though I did not know whether this was a good or bad think, until I began to learn how social groups worked in my age group. Even though most teens seemed to accept me, there were some that seemed unfriendly. Perhaps they were reacting to the ideas of foreign students that the learned at home. Maybe they were afraid they would not be able to communicate properly. It took me a while to realize that some racism does exist, though most teens and young adults are very accepting. Many are curious as well. Having never visited a foreign land, they find it interesting to meet a student who did not grow up in the US....
some sort of crime without knowing. I also had a fear that I would offend others, by
saying something that I did not quite understand. This can happen quite easily when one
does not understand the particular terms or meanings in teen phrases.
I was fearful when I first began to make my own purchases. Even though I learned
the meaning of various monies, I was always on the alert. There are those who will take
advantage of others, if they think it is easy to do so. I found myself always counting
money and adding my purchases several times before paying for them. At times, those
behind me in line would become irritated, even making comments that were not so nice.
American culture is different from that in Korea. Although academics and home life are
much more structured in Korea, American life is lived at a much faster pace. This can
explain the impatience of some.
Learning in a new academic environment was the most daunting. Because my
understanding and mastery of the English language was not yet complete, I found myself
working harder. I had to stay focused on academic studies, while learning to speak
appropriately at the same time. This is when I learned that speaking becomes more
formal than in social groups. Teachers do not care for the manner and slang terms that
teens use, though sometimes they try. School assignments require the use of proper
grammar and English, which is often not used among teens in social settings.
I am proud to say that I have learned to speak and write English fluently. My first
Few months in the US were spent in observation. I watched how teens and young adults
Interacted. I watched how teens interacted with adults. I watched
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