I have always been the perfect student back in my country, Kuwait. Since, I was a kid I dreamt of going to the United States of America to study there, and complete my bachelor’s degree. Right now I have been awarded a government scholarship to go and study in the United States of America. This has had a great impact in my life because since then, I have been excited and I know this is an answered prayer. Regardless of the excitement, my life has taken a different twist because in a way, I felt like I had lost a part of me, the part that belonged to Kuwait, to my family and also to my friends. In a nutshell, I feel that my personality has greatly changed.
When I got here, I just realized that my spoken and written English was not as good. This is so because it is not my first language. I found myself among people who used English as their first language and who were very good at it. I believed I was good in it because of how competent I was back at home until I got to the USA. It dawned on me that I was getting almost everything wrong. This led me to ask myself a lot of questions whether it was only me who had a problem with my English or there are other people that we share the same experience with. I found comfort in the words of one writer, Don Larson “Language is more than a tool for understanding and being understood. It helps us maintain health and well-being. Without it we imprison our minds and lose control of our emotions. Slowly, but surely, we die a social death”. According to him, without language our social life dies. And many people believe that without language, they cannot communicate and this is not true.
But now I understand that language is a communication system. It is true that we use language to communicate with others. However, language is much more than a communication system. People can use other means to communicate and a good example is the use of signs and the body as well. Music also is a tool of communication and it goes beyond the use of words and language. It can make a person understand another.
All in all, since my arrival in the United Sates, so much has changed about me. The change has gone beyond my personality up to the things I do and how I do them. A good example is how I address different people to the way I eat. A new place and a new country can change a person completely. There are things about me that have changed positively. I cannot say that the change is good or bad but the bottom line is that, I am no longer the same.
Even amid all these challenges, I try so much not to use difficult words that might confuse me when am talking the Native Americans. Sometimes when I say them, I do so incorrectly and this makes me feel embarrassed. But the one thing I have come to learn and appreciate is the fact that language is a powerful tool and it goes beyond spellings and pronunciations
In conclusion, learning English language did change how I see things and think but it has not really changed who I am. It has made me a better person because I have learnt to appreciate other people and I am proud to say that other people have also learnt to appreciate me and my flaws. Language is a powerful tool that speaks to the heart even in signs and other forms of communication (Sandoval 23). Therefore, no one should be afraid of saying the wrong things, with experience and time, this changes as they perfect their skills. It is true that learning a new language can be hard, but language can help you change the way you think and makes you see life from a different perspective. Language is a great tool to communicate and English has become part of the tools that I use to communicate.
Larson, Don. Guidelines for barefoot Language Learning: An Approach Through Involvement and Independence. Bloomington: Indiana University. 1984
Sandoval, Emanuel. The Importance of Learning a Foreign Language in a Changing Society. Bloomington: iUniverse. 2005