Vivian Cheung is a junior student studying visual communication at University of Washington. She is an outgoing person, who loves making new friends and learning new languages. She is fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin, English, and now she is learning Korean.
She is from Hong Kong and she immigrated to the U.S. with her family when she was 12. She shared the story about how she adapted to the entire new environment when she first came here. She still remembers her first day of school in the U.S. Language barrier is a big challenge, and Vivian talked about how she overcame it and stepped out of her comfort zone.
Hi, I am Vivian. I came here when I was 12, so 2010. And I’m from Hong Kong.
I remember my first day of school, I was super nervous because the education system is so different.
I remember.... I didn’t know… like I couldn’t speak English.
For the whole day I had six classes, but three of them are in English.
When I go(went) to other classes, I just didn’t know what was going in the class, but I knew that I had to take those classes.
And I ended up crying in front of the class, coz we had to do a project and we had to pre… do presentation.
And I wasn’t feeling really comfortable. So I cried in the middle of the presentation, and I went to the bathroom without saying anything.
So the teacher had to send someone else to check on me.
And I felt really embarrassed.
As time goes by, I was really… I felt really insecure.
I always wanted to like… just stay at home and then make up like different excuses, that “I don’t want to go to school.”
And then, I remember… I… um…I... like, during lunch, I went to the cafeteria and sat there in the corner by myself.
And then a group of people, like two other girls came over and invited me to join them.
And that was when I felt… like … super comfortable going to school, coz I actually made friends and then there… they actually made me feel like I belong… I belong somewhere, instead of like just sitting in the corner and eating by myself.
And that was when I stepped out of my comfort zone.
And then I looked for going to school coz I loved hanging out with them.
And then for the next two years that I spent in middle school…
I made more friends, and then, by talking to my… to the friends that I made, I improved my English.
So I felt like this is a place for me to stay.