When I was 13, I first came to the United States and San Francisco was the city I visited. That was the longest vacation I ever had because the only relative who came with me was not familiar with me and I could not speak English well at that age. I attended two summer sports camps which were volleyball and bowling. I spent my time with some local kids but they rarely wanted to talk to me. That’s why I had to study abroad again, so I came back to the states. I seldom felt homesick, maybe because I grew up or something, I don’t know. I found that I am a good adapter who could integrate into each society soon after I went in.
Back to China, I was an English major student in Xi’an Shiyou University. I was not satisfied with the university I went to because I did a bad job in College Entrance Exam, which takes place once a year and determines where college high school students would go. Although I did not like my major and university, I had a good time back there. When I just decided to study abroad, I was not willing to tell my friends because we would all be sad. However, every place is my place. I meet Yang when I just arrived in Duluth who is now my best friend.
It was an ESLI program which gave me the help and confidence I needed to become a well-prepared international college student. During ESLI, I learned how to write a college-level essay and how to communicate with professors. My first formal semester in UMD went on pretty well. In the first few weeks, I could not catch the professors’ words. Several weeks later I found myself getting better and better in class. I also got a job as a food wrapper in Fresh Works at the UMD Food Court. So far, I really like the working atmosphere and the people there. This is the first job I have gotten in my life. From this job, I find myself growing every day and learning every moment. It has been a very good opportunity to know something which cannot be learned in the classroom such as names of aliment. Sometimes when I work, I have done a bad job picking food or wrapping food for customers but they never blamed me, which made me feel good.
I think that coming here is a great choice I made. Duluth is such a beautiful town and people here are so nice. I already have fallen in love with this lovely school and town.
Written by Yushan Li, ESLI Alum