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During the pursuit of education, individuals are faced with varying challenges. These challenges include the inadequacy of resources like money and time, balancing of school engagements with work and family, and language barriers. Language barrier has been prevalent with regard to those students have English as their second language. As much as the American institutions avail the opportunity to utilize advanced learning resources, these resources have not and cannot be effectively utilized unless the students and tutors are able to communicate and understand one another precisely (Center for Student Opportunity 12-16). In its contemporary setting, the American society is fast paced and, as such, it demands of an individual to have the capacity to comprehend ideas quickly so as to keep in pace with the colleagues. Especially, this occurs when the said individual happen to be a student. Jonathan Kozol in his work, The Human Cost of An Illiterate Society, argued that a democratic society is the one where individuals have equitable abilities as per their skill attainment capacities (Kozol). This paper explicates my personal experience while undertaking studies in America as a foreign student. It, basically, focuses on the challenges which resulted from having English as a Second Language in a country where most of the citizens happen to be native English speakers.
A significant number of parents perceive graduation from a prestigious college or university to be a facilitator to a good life as it could land one on an esteemed employment. In this regard, they save up lot of money for the purpose of sending their children to good colleges, even when the said colleges happen to be in other countries. I am a foreign student, and English is my Second Language. I came to America so as to take advantage of the advanced facilities that are available in the college as well as have access to an international accredited college education. Before I could become an integral part of a class consisting of native English speakers, I had to pass the ESL test. Additionally, I had to attend English language classes for half a year where I was taught English for beginners. In the end, I had to pass the TOEFL test, which, as indicated earlier, was not easy. Though the tutors in the East Los Angeles College happened to be supportive and careful in their choice of words, the gap between those having ESL and the native speakers could not be effectively bridged.
English is the medium of communication, and having an insufficient level of skills on this subject could, actually, derail the endeavors to raise the literacy level in the country. I had a difficult time learning mathematics and this was attributable, in part, to the inability to comprehend concepts like the rest of the students. Although the tutors were supportive of the ESL students, they couldn’t proceed in a snail’s speed; they had to be a bit quick so us to complete the syllabus. Even so, we actually didn’t complete the syllabus, and this, coupled with a challenged perception, compounded the difficulty. Although I did manage a C, I have, actually, come to dislike math as I find it unnecessary with regard to my educational career, as well as the dancing profession. I am, actually, a dance student (Andres 12).
Being an ESL student affects my dancing classes too. There are instances when the tutors have to reschedule classes for some reason. In such a situation, I find myself left out since much of these alterations are communicated via the email. The communication has, in some instances, been difficult to comprehend, and this result into time wasting and futile hurries. Even when we attend these classes, my communication with the tutors as well as the rest of the staff members, has been challenging. Although I am proud to be a dance student, some of the classes are discouraging as I cannot really comprehend the instructions. Some of the speakers communicate fast that create a situation, which even prove challenging to make friends (Andres 12).
In conclusion, just like Kozol argues, being illiterate undermines one’s capacity to participate in the society or a class. Although having English as a Second language is not illiteracy, ineffective communication can challenge one’s capacity to acquire knowledge (Kozol). I believe there are other foreign students who face similar challenges, especially, with regard to the language. Despite having the advantage of studying in a country whose colleges are equipped with advanced learning technologies, we still face the difficulty of keeping in pace with the rest of the students.