These experiences shape who I am today

These experiences shape who I am today


The most challenging task to me is the integration into a new culture after attending an American high school. As an international student, I have a burning desire to know the ways American people think and further immerse in the local life here. There were three steps I took to overcome this challenge.

The first step was to overcome the language barrier since I barely had a chance to speak English in my hometown. Unfamiliarity with the rules of pronunciation, fear of being laughed at my weird accent, and limited friends were all things that I needed to overcome. I started to listen closely to the ways teachers pronounced and repeated words in my mind over and over until I could mechanically articulate. It took me nearly five months to be fluent in exchanging ideas in English with those who were around.

Then I took my second step by finding extracurricular activities which I was curious about and interested in. I joined a bunch of different groups, inside and outside school, to test out what suited me the most, and strived to integrate myself into those selected.

The last step was learning more about American thinking patterns from those activities and people involved. I managed to build a wide network by sincerely making friends of different backgrounds and giving best effort to the shared goals of the group. As a result, I have felt a sense of belonging to this community.

These experiences shape who I am today, not only socially, but academically. I no longer struggle with the language so I can focus more on the knowledge. Thus, my class performance has gradually been improved and my grades have been ranked top. I am grateful to be able to combine the effective learning skills cultivated in Chinese education and problem-solving ability developed during American life. Trained in diverse activities, I am also able to realize my strengths and interests for my future undergraduate major, and I am definitely fearless for whatever is ahead of me.


Zhicheng (Johnny) 🇨🇳
exchange student from Chinaa
living with the Whalley family in Ridgecrest, California