International Student Experience Essays
Broward College's English Language Institute Program molds students from all over the world into quality English writers and speakers. Read the experiences of the following students from Haiti, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela and Belarus for an idea of the advanced writing techniques we teach, and a glimpse of the unique experiences of international students at Broward College. These essays were submitted as part of the course work for the Advanced Composition I class, EAP1540C.
An Unforgettable Experience by Chrislene Journal (Haiti)
My unforgettable job experience in the United States has taught me to be persistent, independent, and patient. My first job experience in the United States was as waitress during my senior year of high school. I was barely fluent in English. I was so scared and nervous. I did not know what the outcome would be; however, I went for the job interview anyway. My heart started beating so fast, my hands were sweating, and I was shaking at the same time. While I was interviewing, the employer asked me several questions, but I didn’t know how to respond to her. She told me not to be nervous and to take my time to answer the questions. I took my time and answered her questions. The job taught me not to be afraid of anything in life and just go for what I believed. I learned to be a more independent person and to be more persistent. My first day on the job was unforgettable. One of the customers told me I had given her the wrong order. I was panicking and thought I was going to be fired. I apologized for giving her the wrong order. I told her that I would make sure she got the right order. The next day, my supervisor asked if I was ok; I told her I was fine. She knew of my language barrier, so she was checking on me. While on the job, senior citizens taught me a lot of things; one of them is patience. They knew I was from a different country. They were so happy to meet someone from Haiti. As I was working with the seniors, my English improved. I started making jokes and interacting with them. Indeed, this experience taught me a lot of things about life in the United States. Now I can boldly say that I am more persistent, more independent, and more patient in everything I do.
My Good-Bye Party by Diego Mosquera (Ecuador)
The day before I came to the United States, my friends threw me an emotional good-bye party. The last night that I stayed in Quito, I thought that nothing interesting was going to happen, but I was totally wrong. My friends of my neighborhood made up a surprise party for me. As always, everybody got a pack of cigarettes and bottles of beer to celebrate the new adventures that I would be facing in a new country. My friend Gustavo brought a guitar, and we started to sing the saddest songs ever. In this moment of nostalgia, everybody was joyful and exited because of this unforgettable moment. As the night passed, it was time to leave. I said my last good-bye to all my friends wishing the best for them. When I left Quito the next day, I realized that I had so many good friends, and no matter the distance, I will never forget them.
Coming to the United States by Esther Guerro
Losing my job opened the door to an unexpected new life in a new country. I had a very nice job in Peru, but unfortunately the casino where I was working closed down. Suddenly, I found myself unemployed and desperate because I had bills to pay. After a couple of days of being depressed, I put myself together and started to look for a job. First, I went back to the company’s office to get my last check. That was when my luck changed completely. The president of the company, who was American, had arrived from the U.S. with excellent news. He was looking for a group of dealers to operate a casino boat in Tampa, Florida. He asked for the list of the best employees. My name was on that list, and that is how I got hire to work in the U.S. The company arranged everything for me including the visa, airline ticket, and the accommodations. Once here, I couldn’t believe my luck. I was very excited. However, I was very scared as well. Everything was new for me– new friends, language, work system, and customs. I missed my family, friend, and my country a lot. As everything in life, the beginning was the hardest part. I had to get used to this new life. Because of the type of visa that I had, my life had to be entirely on the boat though I was allowed to be ashore for hours while the boat was at the port. I have always tried to see the best in every situation in my life, and this case wasn’t any different. I tried to study English by myself in my cabin, I gave my best at my job, and I made a lot of friends from different countries. I learned a lot from different cultures that taught me to understand people better. After ten years of living on board, I won the American Visa Lottery.
Thanks to the fact that I had to live on board all this time, I saved money, so I could buy an apartment and a car. I still work for the same company and try to enjoy my American Dream as much as a can. For this reason, I truly believe that when God closes a door, He certainly opens a window somewhere, even if it’s in a different country.
Latin-American Protocol in the United States by Michelle Carusi (Venezuela)
When I first came to the United States, I thought I was prepared to face cultural differences, but there was something that surprised me. I did not know how to interact with those who look physically like Latin-Americans but are definitely Americans. One day, I was walking through a narrow hall at my work place and came across a Puerto Rican coworker. Of course, I said, “Hello” and kissed him on his cheek. When I stepped back, he was stamped to the wall and looking at me as if I had made an ‘Indecent Proposal’. I apologized immediately, but we felt really bad. After that, I tried to keep at least a 6-foot distance from him when I met him, but he kissed me as Latin-American friends do. When I understood we had learned different social procedures, I realized that he did not want to be rude, and I did not take his reaction personally. Furthermore, I understood that there is not a unique Latin-American protocol in the United States.
Coming to the United States by Siarhei Miadzuezhanka (Belarus)
Although people may usually have a hard time adjusting to their new surroundings when moving to a new country, it was quite the opposite for me. My story begins twenty three years ago, when I was born in Gomel, a medium-sized city in Belarus, located in the center of Europe. Growing up, I realized that although I like my hometown, I would not want to live there my entire life. Once I finished my technical university, I decided to move to the United States because of limited opportunities in getting a job for a young specialist like myself. Living here for about a year now, I have already fallen in love with this area because of the beautiful nature, friendly people, and the excellent climate. I cannot help but notice that there is truly a big difference between the culture in Belarus and the culture in the United States. While walking in the streets, going shopping, and taking classes at college, I see people from difference nationalities: Indian, Japanese, Mexican, African-American, etc. At the same time, 90% of the population in my country consists of Byelorussians. I really enjoy having this chance to meet new people and make friends from various backgrounds. In addition to the ethnic variety, I enjoy living in the United States because of all the various opportunities I have for my future schooling and career. Summarizing, I must admit that I did not have culture shock when I came to the United States. Furthermore, the transition from living in Belarus to the U.S. was rather smooth and painless.