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February 29, 2012

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Difficult first year with afantastic finish

NIGHTMARE - this word describes exactly how I felt through the first year at an international school.

The first impression of placing myself in an English speaking environment was "this is not what I expected" because the ideal vision and the real situation are completely different. My ideal international school student figure was Gabriella from "High School Musical" because she seemed to be fulfilling her life while interacting with her friends, studying and in a relationship. I highly expected myself and all the students to become like Gabriella at school, but the reality did not correspond to my vision. The memory of my first year at an international school was filled with negative impressions because of my unsatisfactory English ability. I spent the first day of school on my school bus thinking about how my life was going to be. A girl, who sat next to me on the bus, talked to me in fluent English

"Are you a new student? Are you nervous?" she asked with a smile.

"Yes..." I said.

She probably thought I was unfriendly because I only replied with that one word. I wished I could say something else, however, I could not, because I was anxious and my nerves were broken down. As we continued, I tried to prepare some answers in case she asked something else. However, she just listened to her iPod until we arrived at school. I was disappointed that she did not say anything else to me on the bus. I realized this was the reality - people would not talk to me because they thought I could not understand English very well. I questioned myself "Will I ever be able to speak English like the girl does?" From the first day of school, I felt devastated because of this one simple conversation.

At the end of the first year, I suddenly understood English in class. I previously felt students were speaking a different English because they spoke fast without any accents. However, after a year, when I watched "High School Musical" again, I understood every single word and the story deeply. I finally could speak the same type of English as the other students. The first year was a nightmare but it was worth struggling through because I could speak and write English.

(Yurina Shimbori is a Grade 12 student at SCIS.)


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