The Challenge of Learning English and Values I Acquired from the Experience

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Without a doubt, one of the greatest challenges I have encountered is learning to speak English from scratch when I arrived in the United States. Looking back, I am proud of myself for working to overcome this language barrier. After spending my entire life in China, I had come to the United States when I was in the fourth grade, I vividly remembered walking down the carpet-covered halls to my classroom and being greeted by my teacher who introduced me to the rest of the kids in my class.

As she spoke, I only understood the one time when she told the class my name I remember the embarrassment and awkwardness of not being able to talk to the kids that crowded around me, asking questions and talking to each other. Later on, that same day, I sat in a math class, looking cluelessly at the whiteboard — what used to be my favorite subject feels like it has become an unknown language thus, I determined to overcome this challenge with all my energy.

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My first move was to talk to my English Learners teacher: with what little words I know, I conveyed to her that I wanted to borrow some books from her to read she gladly accepted. At home, I opened up these books and read, the problem is that I did not have a translation dictionary on hand nor a computer to translate with. Feeling helpless, I turned to a neighbor who had welcomed us a few days before he allowed me to use his computer to look up English words and translate them into Chinese Stumbling step by step, I started learning the language.

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I made flashcards of English words with the corresponding Chinese Characters and made a pact with my mother to study English for two hours every day feeling motivated, I made a schedule of how many books I would read every week and stuck to it.

In my free time, I watched English television shows like Full House and noted words on the subtitles that I did not know Over the period of a year, I made a leap from reading books like The Cat in The Hat to reading the Adventure of Huckleberry Finn and started writing essays that received a star sticker on top that said, “Good Job.” As a culmination of my efforts, I graduated from the English Learners program in the sixth grade, achieving a perfect score on a reading exam meant for native speakers. Overcoming this challenge was the source of endless confidence and valuable lessons for me. It taught me the skills of speaking in English and communicating with my peers and teachers. In terms of soft skills, it had taught me organization, time management, communication, and work ethic skills It has taught me priceless lessons and values.

Values I learned from this experience include perseverance, as I never gave up on pursuing and striving to learn, even though it became difficult for me to keep pushing on I knew that in the end, I would be much happier if I kept on going. I knew that reading a translated version of the book or typing an essay in Chinese and translating it wasn’t going to cut it 7 I knew to keep on practicing English even ifl am confused and stumped at times. Determination and drive were other values I learned from overcoming this challenge, as I motivated myself to work hard in achieving my goals. Perhaps most importantly, the value that I learned from overcoming this challenge was patience and commitment. This experience helped to illustrate that I was capable of committing to doing something, which I didn’t know was I was capable of before. Through learning English, I learned many things which allowed me to become the person I am today, and I am so glad that I was able to overcome this challenge.

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The Challenge of Learning English and Values I Acquired from the Experience. (2023, Feb 21). Retrieved from

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