During the pursuit of education, individuals are faced with the varying challenges. These challenges include the inadequacy of resources such as money and time, balancing of school engagements with the work, family, and language barriers. The language barrier has been prevalent with the regard to those students who belong to the minority groups and have English as their second language. As much as the American institutions avail the opportunity to utilize the 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, 2010). 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. This is especially in case when the said individual happens to be a student. This paper explicates my personal experience as a student from a minority group. It basically focuses on the challenges that I experienced from having English as a Second Language in a country where most of the students/citizens happen to be native English speakers.
A significant number of parents perceive a graduation from a prestigious college or university to be a facilitator to good life as it could land one on an esteemed employment. In this regard, they save a lot of money for the purpose of sending their students to good colleges, even when these colleges are located in the other countries. I am a foreign student, and English is my Second Language. I came to America to take the advantage of the advanced facilities that are available in the institution as well as to have an 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 happened to be supportive and careful in their choice of words, the gap between me and the native speakers could not be effectively bridged (Polakow, 2004).
English is the medium of communication, and having an insufficient level of skills on this subject could, actually, derail the endeavors to conceptualize the ideas being explicated in the classroom. I had a difficult time while learning mathematics and this was attributable, in part, to the inability to comprehend the concepts like the rest of the students. Although the tutors were supportive of the ESL students, they could not proceed in a snail’s speed; they had to be a bit quick in order us to complete the syllabus. Even so, we couldn’t complete the syllabus and this, coupled with a challenged perception, appeared to compound the difficulty that I had to experience as a student from a different background (Andres, 2005).
Being an ESL student affects my participation in other activities like dancing. For instance, there are a few examples when the tutors have to reschedule classes for one reason or another. 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 resulted into time wasting and futile hurries. Even when we attended 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, a situation which even prove challenging to make friends (Andres, 2005).
In conclusion, although having English as a Second Language is not illiteracy; the ineffective communication can challenge one’s capacity to acquire knowledge (Kozol, 2008). I believe there are other foreign students who face similar challenges, especially with the regard to the language barrier. Despite having the advantage of studying in a country whose colleges are equipped with the advanced learning technologies, we still face the difficulty of keeping in pace with the rest of the students.