Study Abroad Essay Contest Winners: Opportunity Given to Me

Kim Daon, Second Place Winner of the International Student category

Everyone has a moment that he or she never forgets. For me, the moment came to me on July 3rd, 2011. It was close to the afternoon. When I was preparing lunch with my dad, my phone was ringing. Without a second thought, I picked up the phone and a lady announced that I had been accepted as a pre-pharmacy guarantee seat student at Wilkes University. When I heard that announcement, I could not say anything immediately because I was too happy to speak. After hanging up the phone, I rushed to my dad and shouted, “I made it!” and my dad and I went to a Chinese buffet to celebrate the day. On July 10th, 2011, I visited Wilkes University to participate in the First-Year Student Summer Orientation. After I arrived, I went to the university gym to start exploring the school where I would now spend my youth with academic activities. This was the starting date of my new journey at Wilkes University.

Studying abroad through Wilkes University provides me with many advantages. If I list all the advantages I have had from studying abroad, I would not be able to write it all down. Therefore, what I tell you in this paper are only small parts of entire advantages I could have. Before I came to the United Sates, I had English classes for the whole of my middle and high school years in my country. After I came to America however, whenever anyone asked me something, I could not answer his or her questions because I did not understand what they were saying. I would know what they said if they wrote down a question but, the American people’s accents and pronunciations are quite different than from I had what listened to in my country. Honestly, for the first year, I only said, “Yes” and pretended I knew what was being said if somebody asked me something. I did not say, “Pardon me?” or “Excuse me?” because I was afraid people would make fun of my English speaking level. However, as time went on, I have learned that many people are kind and understandable to foreigners. Because of these people, I can have confidence and do not hesitate when I ask for words to be repeated. This confidence accelerated my learning process and now I can have better communication with Americans than I could before.

Another advantage I had from studying abroad is learning new studying styles. My country’s education system is focused on memorization. In contrast to my country, America’s education system is focused on critical thinking. Therefore, during the first couple years, I could not have done well in school. However, as time passed, I began to know how to apply critical thinking when studying. Actually, I am still stronger at memorizing than having a critical thinking. However, knowing how to apply critical thinking is a great learning experience for me in life.

Knowing and understanding other cultures and people are also great advantage I could have. At Wilkes University, I have many opportunities to communicate with different races. Through communicating with them, I could indirectly travel to many countries by knowing their cultures and thinking. Some conversations corrected my misunderstanding on several countries and led me to the right view of them. Now, when I get back to my country, I will be able to go to people who misunderstand some cultures and let them know the truth. This is great because it somewhat means I can be an unofficial diplomatic officer and contribute a relationship between my people and my friends’ people. It is something I am very excited about!

Studying in college is not easy for all students. Of course, studying in college is even harder for people who have English as a second language. However, we all know that it is not impossible. Fortunately for those who are studying abroad at Wilkes University, many faculty, staff and students are willing to understand and help their foreign neighbors. I have never been sent away from professors or other people when I go to ask for help. Currently, I am the one who is getting help from others but, I do believe that if I keep working hard, I can be the person who can help others. I also believe that this is the best way I can pay back the people who have helped me.

– Kim Daon


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