For the first time, I study abroad.
When the winter semester of my original university finished, I lived
in my dorm, lonely, for a week. Thereafter, I stepped on my journey
to America. Spending two hours on taxi, one night on a train, three
hours on the bus, and eighteen hours on a flight, I arrived in
Chicago. At the O’Hare International Airport, there was Mr.
Jonathan, Prof. Bing, my schoolmates Michelle, Belle, and Jason
waiting for me. Another four or five hours later, Mr. Jonathan drove
me to Lincoln College.
It was just three days after arriving here, the spring semester
begun and I had to force myself to work hard to adjust this new
atmosphere. I knew I would have many unexpectable challenges, but I
had no time to think about them. The only thing I could do is moving
I have selected five courses, including English Composition,
teaching by Mrs. Reiners, Intro to Fiction, by Mrs. Cortelloni,
American History, by Mr. Keller, Public Speaking, by Mrs. Mott and
Music Appreciation, by Mr. Dyar.
Initially, I was an English major student before came here. To
choose courses like English writing, reading, and speaking is my
duty. Subordinately, in this fancy journey, I could not miss the
opportunity to experience more about American Culture. Hence, I
selected American History and Music.
I love all of my courses, for I have been liked writing and reading
since I was young and I enjoyed the atmosphere in history, speech
and music class. Composition and Fiction courses improved my English
to an academic and standard level. Also, they taught me how to
appreciate English literature comprehensively. I like Mr. Keller’s
teaching style and class design. It makes history not dread and
tiresome. Rather, it became funny and interesting, engaging my
curiosity about American history and teaching me how to think about
history more critically. Speech class encouraged me to speak more
and make friends. Listening to different people telling their
stories, I felt my distance between others was shrank. Mr. Dyar
taught his course very diligently. We have talked together for
several times. He opened a novel and complete world of music to me.
Moreover, student life here is colorful, particularly for me, a
foreigner. Compared with my university, this college is smaller, but
delicate, having everything completely. I like the abundant food in
the cafeteria as well as the various entertainment devices in the
student center and exercise devices in the fitness center.
I am good at ping pong, pool, and video games. They all seem
interesting to me. I often run in the fitness center. Even now, I
still insist on this habit of running, not in there, but outside.
Besides running, I also prefer swimming. But unfortunately, I cannot
go to the swimming pool as usual under present circumstances.
Running and swimming are my favorite sports. Because of the schedule
of the swimming pool and my course, I could only go to the swimming
pool every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. And I could only swim for
one hour there each time. However, it was not a problem for me.
Nothing can decrease my enthusiasm for swimming.
Except for my personal activities, I have attended
several student activities in the meantime, including Fundraising
Luncheon, Martin Luther’s Day, Black Museum, Valentine’s day, et
cetera. When you come to a new world and meet new people, it is
important to push yourself out to participate in a different life,
only then, can you experience what life could be like as them.
[to top of second column in this letter]
So, why I chose to come here? You might not be able
to believe if I said I came here just only for friendship with my
schoolmates. Though, it does, as one of the reasons. The other
reason is that I want to make a breakthrough to myself. Sometimes, I
would have a feeling of great vanity, for I thought my life was
boring and valueless. I did think so. I did not achieve anything at
the age of twenty, including family, friendship, love, and career.
Solitary and melancholy occupy my life, making me feel that I was
like an antelope on the African savannah, who is always waiting for
the wisp of daybreak and then blindly run to everywhere she can
arrive at just for survive. I could not bear that depression
anymore. Thus, I chose to come here to make my life different.
Out of my expectation, when I [explained]
this program to my parents, they did not say anything against my
will. I had prepared several reasons to persuade my parents to gain
their economic support. Whereas, they did not say anything except
this, “You do your best of your choice and we do our best to support
you. That is our duty as parents.” I seldom talk to them since
senior high school. Because I do not think I am supposed to seek
their help when I was coming to become an adult. I always suspect
that I am not a good son, for I concern my parents too less.
However, this time, they claimed to support me without asking for
any reward and pay. How should I face them when I return back to
China? To be honest, I still do not have an answer. But I will try
to do what a son should do for his parents.
Till now, I am living on campus, having a long-distance running
every morning and then begin my work. Last year, I read 39 books
when I was in China. During the period here, though my reading speed
was slowed down, I still finished reading nine books (They are
Chinese, sorry). Reading is also one of my greatest enjoyments.
Facing the virus, I am not sure when I can back home. But utilizing
this time, I thought something again and got a clearer answer. I
remembered a man who I met in the swimming pool. One day, I came to
him and introduce myself at first. After knowing my story, he told
me, “I envy you because you have the chance to go abroad and
experience a different life. I am old now. I spend all my life here
and did not go anywhere else. You are young. You will have more
opportunities to make your life full of meaning.” I suddenly
understand what he wanted to tell me. And I will not regret my
choice of being here.
For the first time, I study abroad.
And also, for the first time, I want to make my life different and
full of meaning, by opening myself more and giving more concern to
others, or thinking more deeply about myself and creating something
for others like what I am writing down now. Despite what way of life
I will choose, I feel that I have become more confident.
Eventually, please permit me to deliver my blessing to everyone who
is reading about this. The spreading of coronavirus is threatening
everyone on this planet. In this particular situation, keeping
optimism to the efforts that have been made to overcome the pandemic
would be the best medicine. Let me quote a sentence from “The Great
“Tomorrow, we will run faster, stretch our arms more further… … and
then, a fine morning.”
students share learning abroad in Lincoln during a global pandemic
May 21, 2020]
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