Profile headshot of Aileen

Standing on a Small Island Alone

Aileen, Marriotts Ridge HS, Class of 2020

Coming to a new school, with new students and teachers, in an new country is a daunting proposition, especially when you don't speak a word of English.

Video Transcript

In August of 2016, I landed on United States, leaving all of my old friends, my dog, my school, everything to learn English. The sky was very high and clear and I could feel the hot sunlight giving heat to the air. The weather was nice but not to me. Everything came to me with fear.

It was just two weeks before going to school and I was already freaking out.

I was nervous day and night, had no appetite, and couldn’t stop thinking about bad situations that might happen. I tried to think positives thoughts but it didn’t work. I was afraid that everyone wouldn’t like me because I’m an asian who can’t speak English. After waiting 2 stressful weeks, it was the day, the first day of school. I knew it would be very difficult for me and it was.

I spent a day staying still in each classrooms full of students I don’t know who speak my second language, English. I sweated and breathed so hard all day. I started crying when I talked with my parents eating dinner. I kind of blamed them for bringing me to America. I told them I want to go back and I miss everything in Korea. However, there was no going back. I knew that and realized that just crying like a baby will not help me.

I decided to stay strong which is really hard to do.

The several first weeks of school just felt like standing on a small island alone with no supplies that will help me to survive. Later, I got used to the environment around me. Also, as time went, I met good friends and teachers who are helping me so much that I feel always thankful for them. Overcoming this situation, I got to know that there is always a way out from the problem I have and nice people who will help me find the way out so all I have to do is trying my best and staying strong.

Related Stories

Profile headshot of Ekta

The Burning of my House and my Fears

Ekta, Long Reach HS, Class of 2020

Near devastation and an understanding family allowed Ekta to learn to overcome fear.

Profile headshot of Alexandra

My Journey to America

Alex, Wilde Lake HS, Class of 2020

Moving from Cameroon to America presented Alex with a frightening array of challenges as well as an abundance of tremendous friendships.

Profile headshot of Molly

Battling Anorexia

Molly, Marriotts Ridge HS, Class of 2020

I remember watching a movie about anorexia and thinking 'I wish I had that.' My little twelve year old mind wanted to have an 'attractive' body so badly that I actually wished for a mental illness. Unfortunately, by that point, the onset of one had already begun.

Profile headshot of Azmeena

The Way I Chose to Battle Hateful Prejudice

Azmeena, Marriotts Ridge HS, Class of 2020

Experiencing hateful prejudice and discrimination can stir up a broad spectrum of emotions - from sadness to anger and even helplessness.