Nonfiction essay from Pauline Pang

I really enjoyed coming to California, and became a multilingual person. I speak three Chinese dialects, English and a bit of French. When I first came here, I was homesick due to not understanding the language. ABC [American-Born Chinese] kids were racist against me, but I was used to it since Chinese teachers were racist against me too. Even when I was in elementary school, my English level was that of the level of a two year-old. But I told myself that I would learn the language, and I would be proud of myself.

So I spent that was twice as hard and set goals to learn English. Then, they treated me with such respect, because they were surprised how good my English is. Later I had more friends, because my English is so much improved. I can finally be treated with more respect. I like the teachers here, for one thing they never made fun of me, or put me in the spotlight for not being academically challenged enough.

I realized even people who were born here need my help on their English essays, which made me feel very worthy. I love to help anyone whose English is not so great. I also understand homesickness and learning a new language is not easy for Asian international students- it’s never easy. But I’m very happy to help them out, because I can relate to them. It’s especially not easy for them to leave their parents, and live with others or live as a university student by themselves. Asian students learned how to be independent, instead of interdependent. Right now I teach Mandarin, I always told my students not to give up on learning a new language. Being bilingual is very fun.