Born in Vietnam, I came to America 2 years ago. I was a little lost but anxious to find my place in the wild city, New York. It made me feel so small. Once I set foot in Manhattan, an Indian woman with the map in her hand asked me for directions. I was speechless, flushing red with shame. I shook my head and walked away. It was not only because of my poor English but because of my lack of confidence. Also, the way I sounded while speaking English was a painful reminder that I had not yet fully mastered this new language. All those negative feelings made me feel more determined to study harder and be the person I knew I could be. I did not want to tell myself I was a quitter when facing obstacles because if I did that, then quitting is all I would do for the rest of my life. That would have been foolish and would not have accomplished anything. I braved the uncertainties of a complex, new environment to overcome all of the obstacles that were preventing me from attaining my goal. I decided that I needed to change myself to become a stronger and unyielding human being in this new way of life. Above all, the language barrier was the biggest issue to me. For the first few weeks, I was like a breathing statue who could not speak. I realized that mastering the English language would be my first step to my academic achievement in the United States. Hence, I started to practice day by day. On the first day of school, I could not understand the lectures. Then the next day, I began to record all the lectures and kept repeating them over and over again at home in order to understand them properly. I took days and days to complete my English papers and to read the books before every exam. Unquestionably, I was encouraged to engage in speaking with others so that I can further my experience communicating. Presently, I was paid back. A simple word is not enough to describe how I feel when I see that English keeps improving day by day substantially.
Besides the language barrier, as a side effect of the dramatic change in environment, I suffered from the nostalgia and depression. I missed my friends in Vietnam so much, and my days used to start and end with deep sighs and tears. For as long as I remained stuck in my negative thinking, I remained burdened with negative feelings that produce our detrimental behaviors. Once this circle began it seemed virtually impossible to stop. However, as this pattern continued, I came to realized that I must look at my challenges as an opportunity to grow and development. I discovered some strategies which helped me cope with my