Sunday, October 24, 2010

Thai Describes Her American Education

My son was finalizing details on his project and planning on studying for his tests the next day.

I listened to him complain how he will have to stay up late. I told him he needed to go to bed.  This bring back lots of memories for me. 

When I first came to the United States, I did not speak any English.  My way of  communicating was using  my English/Vietnamese and Vietnamese/English dictionary.

My everyday routine  after coming home from school was help with the chores, have dinner with my family and do my homework.

I would have to use the dictionary to translate any reading material I had for my homework.

This could take several hours, until all the words translated and carefully penciled in on top of the word. Then I would go back and try to read the chapters and answer the questions.  Even after all this hard work I still could not understand much of the chapter. It did not make much sense, but I did my homework anyway. 

Months later, when I was able to know English a little better,  I realized that words I tried to translate were not necessarily the same meaning of what was in the chapter or a sentence.  My realization made me frustrated.  I would rather not know that and just do my homework the best  I could understand. 

With this realization I became discouraged, not wanting to study anymore, and yet I had to spend more time into the night trying to do my homework.  I knew that this was the only way for me to succeed and gain education in this country.  If I wanted to live here and have a future here, I HAD to learn the language.

There were times when my mom peeked into my room with worried eyes because it was so late in the night, but she left me alone.  She knew this was the only way for me to better myself.  With this memory in mind, I told my son I loved him and goodnight.

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