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A Step Towards New
Yujung Kim
July 9th 2012
Professor Nigel Brooks
When I was in sixth grade, my father told me that he would be attending a business conference
in New York. He said that he will be living in New York for one year. He did not want to leave my family
back in South Korea, so decided to bring all of us with him. Living abroad has strengthened my selfconfidence through learning a new culture, getting to know new people, and learning how to survive on
my own.
First, cultural shock made a huge impact in my life. Since I was accustomed to Asian culture, I did
not know how to accept western culture. When I arrive in The U.S., I realized that western restaurants
use forks instead of chopsticks. Also, when I sneezed, people would say “god bless you,” I had never
heard this saying before. When I would see western people visiting their neighbors, they never took off
their shoes. I was very shocked because in Asian culture, people show respect by taking off their shoes
whenever they go to someone’s house.
In addition, living abroad gave me the opportunity to get to know new people. Meeting western
people was pithy task for me. Since I was a foreigner in U.S.A., I was very afraid that I would not
understand what people said, even though I learned English when I was young. When I realized that
people spoke English very fast, it made me nervous. Even though people understood me very well, I felt
bad for making them repeat what they said to me. People even tried to speak slowly for me, but it was
still difidult for me to communicate with them.
Finally, I had to know how to survive in a foreign country. Since my family had to live inThe U.S.
for one year, I had to attend middle school. I had to learn how to get to my classes, where to eat, and
what my class schedule was. My parents were worried that I wouldn’t catch up. However, once I made
new friends at school, they helped me to adjust. Some were international students, like me, and they
immigrated to The U.S. when they were young. If it were not for them, I would have had a difficult time
in school. When I came home, I had to take care of my brother, and we were told to never open the
door when a stranger knocked.
In conclusion, living in a foreign country made my life more interesting by teaching me survival
skills, communication skills, and a different culture. By having an experience in a foreign country, I
became an open-minded person, rather than believing the stereotypes. Also, I feel that experiencing a
different culture gives a different perspective to what is important in life..
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