All for a Better Me by Ting Guo

mascotNever before have I found that expressing myself is so difficult. Turning on my computer and staring at the screen, I have so many words to type and so many feelings to express. My experience in America as an international student at North Carolina State University is so colorful and rewarding that I can’t summarize it in two or three pages!

I‘d like to mention that since I began to study in the College of Education, I have learned a lot of new educational theories and concepts as well as some teaching techniques. Some of them are so practical and effective that I am really eager to try them in my own classroom.

I also noticed that I’ve been doing a lot of reading, flashcard-making, and studying in and outside of class, which has definitely been working to my advantage: My English skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing have improved quickly. And what is more, I have had a better knowledge of the world. My enlarged knowledge will be destined to improve my personal quality and my teaching in the future.

Here I want to show my sincere thanks to Dr. Spires, Dr. Marshall, Dr. Maher and other professors too. All of them are pretty amiable professors, and since many of my classes are made up of multicultural backgrounds, they know how to talk to us and make us comfortable. There were some times during the first month that I did not think I was smart enough to grasp a complex concept, but I always had professors who believed I could. That belief is the thing that continuously inspired me to try again and eventually grasp whatever it is I was struggling with.

sunsetApart from my academic achievement, what I have gained most is cultural experience in American society. Thanks to my American friends, a group of well-educated and honest young people who always treat me as part of their family, I have been able to participate in a variety of activities to deepen my understanding of the United States of America. When people asked me about my life in America, I always replied “Wonderful! Everything is perfect—my school, my friends, and almost everything!” That is for real. I believe we will become life-long friends.

Meanwhile, I have made several presentations to give back to this learning community and to help American people with a better understanding of China. In each presentation, besides playing a 20-minute video about Chinese history and some traditional food and festivals, I also used my own PowerPoint slides to show what an ordinary Chinese city, family life, and school look like. During the Q and A session at the end, I answered all the questions raised by my audience about some subtle issues such as capitalism and socialism. Easier said than done. Much research regarding histories and cultures in both countries had to be done before I confidently made my presentations. Not only had I searched the Internet and books I read, but also I had drawn on my own experiences. I was glad to find that after each presentation, some of my American audience seemed to have an increasingly better understanding of China and more reasonable views about Chinese issues.

golf-courseMoreover, as another way of learning, I traveled a lot around North Carolina since I arrived. I truly believe that I can see more of the world and broaden my horizons that books won’t provide. My visits to the Great Smoky Mountains, Wilmington Beach and Charlotte City have allowed me to appreciate the landscape of America, whether it’s natural, artificial, or combination of both. I also appreciate American lifestyles that feature a balance between life and work.

Many changes have taken place in me as my friends predicted before my arrival in the U.S.A. I have overcome some difficulties in the first month, such as homesickness, occasional loneliness, after I succeeded in meeting some challenges, I do think I become more capable and have more confidence in myself to achieve higher goals and to live up to the high expectations of my professors and my school principal Mr. Wang.

In widening my view to the world, In a word, I will say to myself and all the people who want to know my experiences at North Carolina State University that after a year studying in college you’ll find a better me! I feel so blessed to have the chance to go back to school after working for several years! I’ll cherish my moments in America to wonder more, learn more, do more, and become more!