tirsdag 1. april 2008

Foreign Language part 2

So in 4th of July, 1996 I flew to USA to continue my study. Just in time for high school. I remembered the date so well because my flight arrival was delayed due to fireworks (4th of July is the national day of USA, also known as Independence day). At least this time I can understand what the pilot was talking about. So it was a good thing.

I didn't get my shock until my entrance exams to a private high school (at that time it wasn't sure if I can enroll in a public high school despite the fact my aunt/guardian is a tax payer). The result shows that my writing skills is equivalent to a 6th grade student while my oral skills is equivalent to a 5th grade student. Basically, I have a long way to catch up.

Luckily I was abled to enroll to the local public high school (saving my parents a few thousand dollars a year) and the first day of school arrived. Everything seems normal except the school system is different. Students go to different classrooms for different class instead of the teachers moving around. That is not a big issue for me, and I soon adjust to it.

Although someone claimed that my English is 3 to 4 grades behind (I start school as a 9th grade student), I was able to understand what most teachers talk about and a couple of friends were nice enough to help me out (I am always blessed to have friends who helped me out in the transition. Joakim, Knut Erik are my two friends who helped me out in Norway, whereas in USA, a friend name Nima helped me out a lot). Although I can understand my teachers, but my English deficiencies shows in a couple of areas:

Interaction with fellow classmates, biggest problems I have was slangs. It took me awhile to realize that the term "It is bad" actually means "It is good". Plenty of street language that I would never learn in books are introduced to me.

Shakespeare, I actually have to read "Romeo and Juliet" in my 9th grade English class and act out a couple of scenes. I was totally clueless what he was saying. Honestly I didn't improve too much over the years since when I read "A Merchant of Venice", I was still pretty clueless.

My English didn't improve too much over the years of high school except for communications with friends. The breakthrough came in my 4th year when I joined the Constitution Debate class. For preparation they filmed me talking thus I can hear myself talking and then find out my weaknesses. At the same time I get to practice to speak in front of other people. It was then my oral English begins to improve significantly.

I have friends of different races, my best friend is from India, a group of Russians I hang out with and of course, friends from Hong Kong and Taiwan as well. I notice in terms of oral English, people from Chinese speaking countries are worst. It isn't surprising since Chinese students seeks out other Chinese students and would only interact with them with Chinese. In this environment, it would be impossible for their English to improve. So to all students out there, if you would like to improve your English, you must find ways to use your English. Learning it in classroom is useless. Living in an English speaking environment is the best way to learn English.

There wasn't much English to learn in university since my major was CSE (Computer science and Engineering), but after 11 years in USA, my oral and written English is considered native and I achieved that by having friends of different races, and not being afraid to speak out and get embarrassed.

6 kommentarer:

Angel Asura 天使阿修羅 sa...

Good guy, you're so hard-working in blogging:)

So you went to US in 96 & came back to Norway in 07 after 11 yrs! Guess you may have cultural shock within these 11 yrs.

When i was in San Fran, my friend's friends (Vietnamese, Malaysian, Taiwanese etc) thought that i'm a local citizen despite my friend said "my friend coming from HK" ... oh, i miss the days in San Fran!

Desertfox sa...

Yeah, cultural shock, but not during the 11 years but rather after I moved back to Norway.

Shocked to see how US culture have invaded Norway. Shock to see Norwegians are dying for sun and would do outdoor activities whenever it is not raining. Shock to see they still eat cold meals for lunch (sometimes even for dinner).

I was at a colleague's house for dinner and all we had was bread, shrimp and white-wine.

San Francisco is nice to tour around, but horrible if you are driving. I still remember the steep slopes and the expensive parking :(

Angel Asura 天使阿修羅 sa...

tks for giving me this chance to learn "Norweigean"! Does "Leff ... komment" mean "leave your comments"?

that's why i imagine i've IMMIGRATED to USA when i was a kid w/family if my Dad dared to make a big move in 70's!

i enjoy my short trip in SF where my friends took me to drink at warehouse(u know i've a good tolerance), have sushi, go to Napa Valley for wine-tasting, but no time to go skiing in Lake Tohoe!

i could imagine yr "cultural shock" from US back to Norway! which part of US actually?

laulong sa...



Desertfox sa...

I lived in Fremont, California (right in between Oakland and San Jose) for 4 years of high school before moving to UCLA for 4 years. I have stayed in Los Angeles until I move back to Norway. I have always wanted to go to Napa valley for wine tasting except I can't find people to go with me. It is much easier to find people to go to Lake Tahoe and Reno Casino :)

Angel Asura 天使阿修羅 sa...

cool fox, a UCLA grad! Yep, i like SF, Napa Valley, though i went to Reno (the smallest gambling city in world?), don't like it ...

OK, let's go to Napa Valley one day, i want to own a vineyard one day, to name my bottles of wine!