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What Its like to Be a Student in Usa - Personal Experience

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"It's Like..."

I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Both of my parents came from Vietnam in hopes to pursue the American Dream. Vietnamese was my primary language prior to pre-school and kindergarden. In my pre-school class, the only person I could converse with was my cousin Anastasia, who is a month and half younger then me. Everyone else in our class was either of caucasian, chicano-hispanic or African-American decent. I do not recall playing with anyone else but her. It was difficult communicating with my teachers and peers because of the language barrier. I remember how my teachers would usually let Ana and I sit in a corner of the classroom and work on special projects catering to our language barrier. Even so, I do not remember having any altercations or bad days that I can write about. For the majority of preschool, I was happy just knowing that I was now a "big girl" and that my best friend in the whole world, Ana, was there with me the whole entire time.

Kindergarden on the other hand, was a whole different story. Before I started kindergarden, my family decided to move an hour out from Chicago to a small town called Libertyville. The demographics of this town were similar to that of Chicago. Again, I was one of the few Asian-Americans at my school. To be exact, there were probably six Asians in the entire elementary school, two of which include my little sister Clara and I. The difference here, was that I no longer had my cousin with me. She lived in another town about an hour over. My first day of school was one of the scariest. I guess now I realized how much of a security blanket Ana was to me. I remember holding my mom's hand walking into my kindergarden class worrying about who I would play with now. As soon as my mom left I had the urge to cry and scream, but instead I held my anxieties inside in fear that the other kids would think I was a crybaby. As soon as I sat down the girl next to me introduced herself and said "Hi, I'm Amber what's your name?" At this point, I felt as though I had watched enough television shows to comprehend and speak english well enough to communicate with others. I was surprised at how endearing this blond haired blue eyed girl was and quickly replied, "Hi, I'm Therese". Little did I know, that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Although I was not completely foreign to English, I was put into ESL. ESL is a special program my elementary school had to help kids who had "English as a Second Language" transition from their primary language to english. The lady who taught the program was white. In our sessions she would usually hand me a bunch of flash cards with basic english vocabulary on them along with a picture to represent the word and we would go over them. These sessions usually lasted thirty minuets to an hour. By the time I reached second grade, I graduated from the program and was put in all of the same classes as my peers.

As far as the rest of my elementary school experience went, I felt as though I really enjoyed it and did not encounter any problems with any of my loving teachers. Once in a while I would wonder why there weren't that many Asians at my school. I would wonder why all of my friends looked nothing like me. I had no asian friends. Of the Asians that I knew, my peers usually thought they were "uncool". I actually remember an incident that traumatized me for the rest of my elementary school experience. I was about eight years old at the time. I was sitting in my usual seat on the school bus towards the back while I was saving a seat for my best friend Amber who lived across the street from me. I had my body turned towards the back of the bus while I was talking to one of my peers in the seat behind me. When all of a sudden I felt a hard hit on my head accompanied by a loud "MOVE!!" In pain and awe I turned around to find that Eric Lee, the only Asian boy I knew had taken his unopened coke-can and slammed it against my head as means to bully me out of my seat. Right then and there I felt



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