The Student News Site of De La Salle Institute

The Victory

Around the World: International Student, Struggle and Comforts

Yucen Han

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“How am I going to ask this question?”

“Will the teacher even understand what am I saying?”

“Will he be impatient about my Chinese accent as I try to say this in English?”

Ruoxuan Pang stood up and waited in the line of students at science teacher Mr. Evans’ desk with her question. She practiced saying it in English over and over in her head.

Pang is a sophomore and an international student from China. This is her second year at De La Salle, and her comfort with the environment is finally starting to show. However, she still remembers the excitement and nervousness when she walked off the airplane as she arrived in Chicago from Beijing.

“I was so excited about getting out of my parents’ control,” Pang said. “At the same time, it was scary for me to even think about facing a totally strange country by myself. I remembered I was so nervous that I couldn’t fall asleep the night before school.”

It is not easy for a shy 15-year-old girl to be in a foreign country alone. Homesickness is the biggest struggle for international students. It is harder to get over that than the difficulty of learning English. Pang does not like to share this with her family because she doesn’t want them to be worried about her.

“Sometimes loneliness will suddenly become so intense at night that it makes me want to talk with someone to release my feelings,” Pang said. “But because of the time difference, all my friends in China are busy in school when I feel like talking.”

Not only does she have to take care of herself without her family, she also has to study everything in English, with which, at first, she was not comfortable. A computer, translator, and textbooks are all piled up on her desk. It’s already 12 a.m., and she’s still previewing the textbook and translating the complicated vocabulary. As an international student, Pang has to double the efforts to get a good grade point average.

“De La Salle does help me a lot. I met a lot of nice international students here and we help each other,” Pang said. “American students are much nicer than I thought and, they always help me with understanding teachers’ requirements. Teachers are all so patient and always explain everything to me slowly to make sure that I do understand.”

The Student News Site of De La Salle Institute
Around the World: International Student, Struggle and Comforts