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Life in America

by Jin Park

Late in October 2014, it was cold, dark and raining, when I landed at Dulles International Airport with my family. Everything seemed to be new and unfamiliar, including buildings, people, foods, roads, cars, colors, houses, cultures, and even trees. But I felt the most different and hard thing was the new language. This was the beginning of my long English journey. I studied English for more than 10 years in Korea, but surprisingly, I couldn’t understand one bit when people spoke to me. When people were talking, my mind was busy trying to figure out what they were talking about. Communicating is the most important thing in our life. Speaking a language is the first method used in humans’ communication. Language is powerful. What doesn’t change over time is the power of language. Language is connected to everything socially.

As you may know, there is a story about a boy. He was abandoned, and a married couple discovered him deep in the forest in France. They brought him to their place and taught him their language and culture, but he couldn’t learn how to speak the language. This was the basis of language education and early child education. This means that learning a new language is not easy, especially for older people. I was not talkative, but if I couldn’t let people know what I was talking about, I would be frustrated. The biggest problem for me was my communication style. Most Koreans speak very directly, but Americans speak smoothly and vaguely. I can read English well, but I had a difficult time understanding what they were talking about, and I felt ashamed. Since that time, I have been stressed out and under pressure. So, I studied English again from the basics, and I was more focused on speaking and comprehension. I focused on details and listened carefully. I didn’t want to make a mistake again. Since I have arrived in the U.S, I’ve never stopped studying English. This is my life in the U.S and I will keep going until I die.