The periodic seminar presentations that all students are expected to give is both frightening and rewarding. I am someone who was has had issues with stage fright. Add an alien English accent and lack of fluency in using that language, my fright was compounded many times. Yet, the resilience and hard work I put in to conquer this fear has proved psychologically and socially rewarding. My public addresses to an audience have firstly removed a longstanding mental block from my psyche. Secondly, it has showcased my talents at research and presentation to many fellow students, making me quite popular in class. I was able to gain the confidence and trust of even those American students who kept aloof in the early days.
Just as my time spent within the campus has been extremely enriching, I gathered equally valuable life experience outside the academia. During the weekends, when I would go out with my hostel mates, I would renew my love for Hollywood by watching the latest blockbuster on show. I slowly started to feel very comfortable with American culture, thanks in large to my exposure to Hollywood. Visiting exotic restaurants and trying out different kinds of food is a hobby I developed in the weekend journeys. I’ve discovered a newfound love for French, Mexican and Indian cuisines.
The fact that I had to stay away from the cozy comforts of a home and learn to get along with people from diverse backgrounds in the hostel made me grow as a person. I learnt how to sacrifice certain comforts for the sake of politeness and solidarity in a team atmosphere. There is also the sudden lack of counsel and protection that my parents used to provide. Although telecommunication has kept me connected to them, there is no compensation for the geographic separation.
In sum, I would describe my experiences in the United States so far as very instrumental in my development into an adult. The odd setback I faced (for example, rare instances of ethnic discrimination) has only helped toughen my character. I would suggest to all other foreign students who are new to the United States, that they may find it discouraging during the early encounters with American culture and early exchanges with American people. But this discouragement comes out for irrational feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem, which one needn’t entertain. Based on my own experiences here, I would counsel that through perseverance and by adopting a relaxed mindset, the initial travails would be overcome. After that, staying in the United States is largely going to be enjoyable, educative and enriching.