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New country arrival - QuestBridge-Personal Essay

Nguyebui 1 / 2  
Sep 25, 2023   #1

factors and challenges in your life that have shaped you

We are interested in learning more about the context in which you have grown up, formed your aspirations, and accomplished your successes.
Please describe how the most influential factors and challenges in your life have shaped you into the person you are today.

The day I arrived in a new country was a life-altering experience. It marked a turning point in my personal journey, creating a clear boundary between my life before and after this pivotal moment. On October 20, 2018, I embarked on a new beginning. Life on the other side of the globe, a whole hemisphere away from my homeland, was a complete mystery to me. Yet, for others, it represented the "American Dream," a land of opportunity and prosperity.

The moment I stepped off the plane into this new world, my trepidation was palpable. The air felt different, the people looked alien, and the language sounded strange. Here is the United States, my new homeland from now on.

The beginning of my life in America felt familiar, almost like home in Vietnam. I was surprised to discover that the language spoken within the neighborhood was the same as what I was accustomed to, Vietnamese. This was out of my expectations and gave me a false belief that Vietnamese was also the primary language here. As I settled into my new surroundings, a sense of comfort initially washed over me. However, this fleeting feeling soon dissipated when I started school and was confronted with the reality that English was the primary one spoken in this country, neither other languages.

The realization hit harder when I noticed those around me did not fully understand my saying like I could not understand them either. The lack of language was a difficult one to bear. This barrier profoundly impacted my life and made me feel isolated and disconnected from the world. It was like being a foreigner in an unfamiliar place, unable to connect with the people and culture.

Truthfully, learning a foreign language can be a challenging task that requires a lot of time and effort for many people, and I am no exception. I faced numerous difficulties that often left me feeling stressed and helpless. As a result, my once talkative and friendly personality slowly transformed into that of an introvert, timid, and losing confidence in myself along the way. During a night full of depression, I asked myself if I could succeed in math, which I was not naturally good at, but why could not do so with English? Ultimately, the answer was simple: I needed to work harder. I had not pushed myself to exceed my ability, stepped out of my comfort zone, and was not fearless enough to face the taunt of making mistakes.

When I acknowledged my problem, I finally decided to step out of my comfort zone. Instead of being silent and working alone as usual, I started basic conversations with my classmates, which I had never done before; I was not speaking well and predicted they might feel annoyed. However, in contrast, my classmate was not annoyed at me; they tried their best to understand my words and talk back to me, advising on my way of using words. As the teacher strolled past our desks, a look of excitement illuminated their face as they observed me engaging in conversation and actively seeking their aid. In their eyes, I see their willingness to help, and I realize the taunt I was afraid of all the time before did not exist.

During my time at school, I was fortunate to have access to various resources that helped me grow and succeed. The caring and dedicated teachers always offered guidance and support, allowing me to improve my skills and knowledge. Additionally, my classmates were always willing to lend a hand and practice with me, creating a positive and collaborative learning environment. Whenever I receive support from others, it feels like a spark that ignites a fire within me, driving me to strive harder and surpass my limits. Their encouragement and belief in me give me the strength to persist and never give up, even when faced with challenges.

After years of hard work, I can proudly say I am fluent in English. I have developed the confidence to engage in conversations with people, something that I would have considered daunting and unthinkable in the past. I am grateful for the opportunities that have come my way and the people who have helped me improve my language skills. As someone who struggled with English in the past, I am now in a position to help others who face similar challenges. Everyone could learn and have the improvement, and I am determined to do my part in making that happen.

Looking back on my experience in America, I remember a place where challenges and opportunities were intertwined. Living here presented me with numerous obstacles, however, along with many opportunities for self-improvement. I knew that giving up was not an option and that success was always achievable if I worked hard and persevered.
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 14,430 4691  
Sep 26, 2023   #2
This is not a story that will leave a remarkable impression on the reviewer. The topic you have chosen is a tired, old story that is hyper common among the Questbridge applicants. You will not stand out using this story, which is the same story every other immigrant student applicant will be presenting to the reviewer. You can still use this prompt, just not the same presentation.

Try to use a different approach. One that is not too similar to this topic. Surely you have other references you can use. Why not consider using the context of the way you were raised in Vietnam instead? That would show a better context of how you were raised and would also help you meet the other discussion requirements of the prompt.
OP Nguyebui 1 / 2  
Sep 26, 2023   #3
Hi, thank you for your feedback!

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