My Life in the U.S. - The UOS Times
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My Life in the U.S.
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[0호] 승인 2006.06.08  
트위터 페이스북 네이버 구글
Hwajeong Kang
Freshman, Michigan State University

When I was eighteen, I moved to the U.S. to study. I lived with my aunt’s family in New Jersey at first. This change of surroundings made me so nervous because it was the first time that I was separated from my family and to live with people other than my parents and siblings.

The different language also gave me difficult time and made me confused and nervous. However, while I tried to overcome the difficulties from those changes, I was able to raise an independent spirit and rethink about my life. Also, I could learn English and gain special life experiences.

After moving to the U.S, nobody actually forced me to study or to do right things as my parents did in Korea. Even though I was living with my aunt’s family, they didn’t really care about my matters because they were busy with their own life.

I was free. At that time, I was disappointed in their indifference towards me, and that made me feel like I had freedom and could do anything that I wanted to do. However, as time passed, I realized that I had my own responsibilities. At that time, if I did just what I wanted to do and did not do what I had to do, such as study, I could have ruined my life.

After that, I tried not to waste my time, but instead concentrated on the important things, such as studying for my future. When I first arrived in America, all I could say in English was yes and no. I was really nervous when I went out and bought something. I was afraid of talking to Americans.

However, almost everything around me was English. Whenever I turned on TV and went outside, I saw and heard Americans speaking English, and all books I had to read were in English too. I should not have been afraid of speaking in English and I soon realized that I had to study English to survive in American society and to compete with American students in school.

I soon focused all my interests in improving my English. I read many books and watched a lot of TV to improve my English. I think my English improved significantly during that period, and attending language school also accelerated that improvement.

In language school, I made friends with people of many nationalities like Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese, Venezuelan, Turkish, and so on. We talked about each other’s countries and languages. It was an interesting experience. However, making friends with other races such as Caucasians (Whites) African Americans (Blacks) was more difficult than with my own race (Asian).

I thought it was because different races had rare common things such as cultural and physical similarities. I moved to Michigan from New Jersey for my new schooling. I experienced dorm life in that school and could break stereotypes that I used to have against other races. My roommate was an African American and at first I was very nervous because I had a biased view against them.

I thought that African Americans were dangerous and always used bad English. However, that was not true. My roommate was very kind and friendly. She always tried to help me and tried to be nice to me. I realized that judging other people without really knowing them is very wrong.

And I also realized that distance between races was not really the matter of cultural or physical differences, but the wrong stereotypes. In the early mornings, I used to wait for a bus sitting on a bench on the road lined with trees. Fresh air, the wind rippling leaves on trees, and beautiful streets made me feel like I was some kind of heroine in a movie.

I always thank my parents for my situation when I have a peaceful break during a busy day. I am satisfied with my present life in the U.S because I can concentrate on studies in peaceful surroundings.
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