While my friend Kimberly used to study at Deep Springs College in her junior year back in 2010, I recall how she narrated to me about her experience with an immigrant. In their class, there was a girl called Lian who had migrated with their family from China to the United States. The reason behind their migration to the states was grounded on the fact that the father had been offered an employment opportunity in the United States as a software designer. As a result, Lian had to continue her education in the US, which was a completely new environment.
When Lian joined Deep Springs College, all students in Kimberly`s class where Lian was admitted could tell that the incomer was experiencing a variety of challenges. Lian was the loneliest girl in the class as she found discomfort in making friends with other students. Often, when not attending any learning, she would go to the park and read her favorite books, or spend her time on the phone talking to her friends left back home. Moreover, other girls would take advantage of Lian out of her calm nature and would ask her irrelevant questions about her original background, and sometimes make fun of her accent. In the end, she was only able to make friends when she joined the school's basketball team towards the end of the term.
Lian was struggling with her self-esteem. Having come to a new geographical area with a different social fabric, she felt inferior as compared to native students. Every time she felt as though all eyes were on her. When joking with the few friends she had made, she used to take it personally and display her emotions. In one instance, her friends teased her concerning her ethnic background. Afterwards, a fight ensued leading to the intervention of the school district principal who had to advise the student on cultural diversity.
However, even after making a few friends, Lian had difficulty in expressing herself to not only her friends but also to the teachers. Nevertheless, in class, she avoided questions from instructors in light of escaping the embarrassment of speaking inappropriate English language and poor pronunciation. As a result, she consumed most of her time in the library reading literature to become conversant with the English language. It is evident that Lian was undergoing a language barrier considering that although there were other immigrants in the high school, they were not from her country of origin. Considering her description of how they would use symbols to write back in her country of origin, it was evident that she was finding a hard time adapting to the new language.
Lian also experienced a different culture that was not present in their homeland. The foods were different from what she was accustomed to. She would be forced to go to Chinese restaurants to get her meals as she was not used to the famous foods. It was very hard for her to go to her classmate`s party for the fact that she wouldnt have been able to eat any food offered there. Moreover, her choice of music was somewhat reserved to her culture. Similarly, her dress code was respectful of her native culture.
However, as Lian was turning for her second year, different girls joined in her list of friends including Kimberly. Lian shared with the girls about her culture by teaching them Chinese dance. Later the dance was performed at the prize giving ceremony in the college. From then onwards, Lian was full of glamour and she began to fit comfortably in the American culture.
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