America culture is made up of foreign cultures. Some say America is a “big melting pot. ” All foreign cultures melted In this “big melting pot,” and created this unique culture. However, these foreign cultures, the people In fact, need time to melt and dissolve. Ironically, there are people who do not even melt at all. People who live in China Town, for example, never have to speak a single English word, and they live Just fine. On the other hand, some foreigners have to interact with others who speak English. They need time to fit in. They need time to be familiar with English. The learning period is not yellow brick road.
It is rough, especially for the young ones. Coming to America probably the parents’ decision. They want their children to have better education. Immigrant kids who study English In schools have high expectations from their parents: the parents might not speak English at all. These kids cannot receive help from their family, and bear the heavy expectation to success. They have to pick up English, word by word, while speaking a different language at home. Immigrant students struggle between two worlds, their countries and America, ring their best to adapt the new language and culture, and at the same time malignantly their own.
When foreign students flirts set foot on America soil, they will notice countless of customs and slang that seems natural to Americans’ eyes. Feeling surprise and interest will probably be the first reaction. Just as a baby new to the world, full of curiosity, the newcomers find interest in everything in this new land. Because the impression of the first few days feels more Like a vacation, there Is no worry. However, the students will soon realize they are here to stay. It will not be too long for them to eve their culture shock. One of the major struggles that a non-native student may experience is culture shock.
The overwhelming of the never-seen-before things proves that they do not belong here. The alienation felt by a new foreign student is inevitable. Poor ability to communicate in English plays a part of the alienation. As Amy Tan stated in her short essay “Mother Tongue”, “my mother’s ‘limited’ English limited my perception of her… That her English reflected the quality of what she had to say. ” (454) With poor communication skills, a person cannot fully be respected. For example, students who raise their hands to answer questions and share ideas are considering good students because they are active and aware during the class.
Yet, it does not means those who do not raise their hands, like the foreign students who are not comfortable speaking in English, are any less of a student. Non-fluent speakers start to pick up English by trial and error mostly. The first time they are greeted with “what’s up,” they probably do not know how to reply. It will take time for them to learn the day-by-day language. Depends on the person ability to learn, some will take longer time to become familiar with English, but they all have a period of time when they speak what Tan called “broken” language, an incomplete language.
A person might have brilliant ideas in the head, but “broken” language can limit the ability of the person to express and share ideas. Perform vocally in presentations and verbally in essays. Broken language is a major disadvantage for the foreign students. “Compared to math, English could not be considered my strong suit,”(455) Tan believes that school misdirects non-fluent students to avoid English subjects, while subjects like Math seems simpler. The fact, however, is that the ability to learn in Math classes is equally depended on English as learning in English classes.
All subjects taught in America are taught in English. Math is no exception. Math textbooks are written in English. Math teachers lecture in English. Knowledge in America is not as easily obtained as people might think. Knowledge is “coded” in English. For a foreign student to learn in subjects like math, the student is required to “crack the code” and adopt English. Just as expressing with English verbally, a student is expected to be able to read and listen in English. Many schools have set up English as Second Language classes to help new foreign students develop their English skills.
It seems to be a very nice class that will help foreign students a great deal, but it also serves as a prison. Much like the Japanese camp in America during World War II, E. S. L. Exile all foreign students for English classes and prevent them to advance in English. In E. S. L. , students are divided in two kinds, those who cannot speak English well and those who speak only their native language. A student is either practicing English with another non-fluent student, or arming a sub group with the same naive language.
In De Anza, in order to take required English classes, like WRIT IA and PHIL 03, a foreign student has to go through a series of E. S. L. Classes. Foreign students are closed to the option of taking those four classes, and must take E. S. L. Classes, a total of more than ten classes; in order to take the same require English class. Native students, however only need to take four classes to fulfill the pre-requisite of require English classes. In their personal lives, English might not be a necessary language for all foreign people.
An immigrant families use their native language at home. Parents do not want their child to lose their original culture. Some send their children to special school, like Chinese school, to study and keep in touch with their first language. Normally, people want to be with people like themselves, and the same goes for immigrant students. They are more eager to make friend with people who speak their language and hold similar values. They are more comfortable with people who celebrate the same native holidays. Thus, English is rarely used in an immigrant peer rope.
Their families, who spent most of their lives in the original culture, will continue the way they lived before. Their parents watch news, read newspapers, and go to church that use their language. It creates an environment for the students to keep attachments to their original language and culture. There are exceptions; there are those who adopt English, and use only English. Like those who are born in America, they talk in English with everyone, even to those from their countries. Because of this, they are alienated from the immigrant students.
Students from another world are put in a disadvantaged position in America when they are forced to learn English from scratch. It creates unnecessary stress and work students have o use their native language with their peers and family. It is very difficult to be bilingual, using two languages consistently. It is a social problem that needs to be address more thoroughly. There are those who cannot manage and give up academically. Many fail out of school because it is too much to handle. Hopefully their families and schools will realize these kids need support and find ways to reduce the difficulty of foreign students.