English: A Never Ending War


flickr image by russell davies licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Wenxin Chen, Cub Writer

Could you ever imagine one day, you wake up from bed, and your mom tells you that you are going to a new country, for example America? However, you only speak a little English, because it is a subject in your school in your mother country. How would you feel?

Maybe you feel happy, but the real problem comes when school starts.

Chelsea Battad (photo taken by Kimberly Flores)

You don’t know anyone in the school, you only speak a little English, you don’t understand what the teacher says because they speak too fast, and you don’t know how to do your homework because you don’t understand the questions…

Now, you’ve been through the first day of school, and you feel bad because you didn’t understand what the other people said and you didn’t say anything during the day.

You might cry at night and swear you will never go to that school and talk again, but tomorrow will come, and you need to go to school.

Chelsea Battad is an A-TECH freshman who came to America from the Philippines when she was about 5 or 6.

“I later found I was pronouncing English words wrong because I had a slight Filipino accent,” she said. “My classmates in elementary school started to teasing me.”

As time passes, you start to speak English with your classmates, but you worry that you will be teased by your classmates because of what you heard from other people.

“I felt uncomfortable when I was speaking English with people because of my accents. Sometimes I was even scared to talk to people,” said Augustin Cruz, an A-TECH sophomore who came to America from the Philippines in 2013.

Augustin Cruz with his friend Ramon Perez. (Photo taken by Wenxin Chen)

“It felt like I have an accent and people don’t understand me,” he added.

This was exactly how you feel. Learning a new language and speaking it with people is hard for you; everything compared to your mother language is different: spelling, grammar, vocabulary, even the way it’s written and spoken.

“It just different than Chinese. The words in Chinese has different sounds than English, that kind of messed me up a while,” said Raymond Wu, a freshman who came to America from China when he was 4.

You start to become shy, shyer than you used to be. You used to be the vivacious kid that liked to talk all the time at school. In this new country, you changed, especially when other people told you that you have an accent.

This problem gets worse when your teacher asks a question. You don’t understand what the teacher is saying or you understand it and you know the answer but you don’t know how to say it in English.

Raymond Wu talking with his friend Allison Clark (photo taken by Wenxin Chen)

You stand there until the teacher asks you to sit down, and you feel shame. You feel the shame of not giving the answer. You feel the shame of just standing there in front of everyone. You are afraid people might laugh at you.

You don’t think anyone in the school can understand you, even the teacher. You feel like you are alone all the time; no one cares about you. You don’t have any friends because you feel that you can’t fit into their groups.

Maybe you don’t care, maybe you like to be alone…

But you know that’s not true.

You cry when you get home, and you feel like you don’t want to go to school tomorrow because you are afraid that people will think you are weird.

“I had a friend who was an outgoing girl, and she accepted me and helped me a lot. Because of her, I am not as shy as I was back then” said Battad.

Maybe someone will come and help you just like Battad’s friend, maybe you will talk to your parents, maybe you just left it alone and let it go…

However, your life will continue whatever happens.

People don’t usually know how hard it is to learn a new language and speaking it with people, but to you, it’s just like a never ending war that you need to fight and win.