I opened my eyes to life in an educated family; mom and dad are both engineers, uncle is a radiologist, and family members of every possible profession such as doctors, journalists, dentists, and attorneys. This pattern set the tone for me to be ready for a great education. What I didn’t realize as a child was that education could take different forms. My family moved to the USA when I was 18 years old, and who was a doctor there is nothing here! It’s a new experience and education that took a new role, it was not only about learning the language but also the culture, this was a big shift in my education life.
I can relate to the author Chang-rae Lee in his essay “Mute in an English-Only World” as my mom had similar experiences that Lee’s mom had. I also experienced the language issue myself, even though I came young to USA; however, my accent is evident. In the car driving to school, my little 6 years old daughter told me “Mom your English is silly!”. Now my whole family has moved to the US and over and over again I see the struggle of the language. Who was a doctor once back home can’t even say word now here.
After 16 years of living in the US and dealing with people from across the world, from different cultures, I learned to not judge people by pre-assumptions. It’s important to really take time to talk to them and give myself a chance to listen and understand. Cherokee Paul Mcdonald nailed it in his essay “A View From TheBridge.” He didn’t take the time nor was patient to understand that when the kid asked for help to find his Shrimp, it’s not because he was not responsible nor silly; however, it was because he’s blind!
To live in translation! Such great words, I couldn’t have ever expressed myself in a better way than how Marjorie Agosindid did in here essay “Always Living in Spanish.” Despite all the effort I do to write in English, still Arabic words awaken my senses and touch my heart more. The problem of being an immigrant is that you get lost between cultures and you don’t belong anywhere. Now after spending 16 years of my life in the US, which almost equals the time I spent in Syria, my sense of identity to the use of language is lost. As I can’t express myself in Arabic any more nor in English. For the first 5 years of my life in the US I lived in translation, everything needed to be translated to Arabic in order for me to understand. When I speak, I tend to think first in Arabic then translate to English. To make it worse, even when I write I would use the translation of Arabic expressions, which made my writing horrible. The following 5 years, I stopped using a dictionary to translate as by then I knew the words; however, I would still translate them in my mind! After 16 years of using English, I can’t write a full essay in Arabic any more, and writing in English does not satisfy me.
Throughout the years, education took a new form. Learning the language was my daily practice. Education was by listing to Audible books, exploring different subjects was through college. Branding, programming, and project management were self-taught. Self-understanding comes as I grow up. Education has taken so many new forms in the past 10 years, especially after the revolution of internet and social media. Now education is truly at our fingertips.
Lee, Chang-rae. “Mute in an English-Only World.” Across Cultures. Eds. Gillespie & Singleton. 8th edition. 2011. Print.
Mcdonald, Cherokee Paul. “A View From The Bridge.” Across Cultures. Eds. Gillespie & Singleton. 8th edition. 2011. Print.
Agosin, Marjorie. “Always Living in Spanish.” Across Cultures. Eds. Gillespie & Singleton. 8th edition. 2011. Print.