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Posts Tagged ‘education’

This past week was International Education Week (Nov. 12-16)- a week dedicated to demonstrating the importance of studying abroad  and going international.

International Education Week means a lot to me because going abroad changed my life and I do not know who I would have been today had I not gone abroad.  With that said, I highly encourage everyone to study abroad at least once in their lives- you will learn so much and open your mind.

Every day, I am thankful to CIEE, The Korea Foundation, NSLI-Y, iEARN, YesInternational, and the Department of State for giving me the opportunity to have the experiences of a lifetime.  Without the support of these organizations, I would not have been able to go out of my bounds and into a new and unfamiliar culture.

The impact of my experiences is beyond words.  I started out going to South Korea because of curiosity and desire to go somewhere, ANYWHERE.  But that changed within a couple of days of being in South Korea- I quickly became interested in the culture and the people.  By the end of my stay, I had fostered a passion for learning about the relationship between the North and the South.  The second time I traveled to SK, I was prepared to study and learn everything about South Korea- I hoped to gain a true understanding of the country.  And now, I continue to study Korean on my own.  Why?  So that I can help defectors.  I will talk about this in a separate post because the issue deserves its own… but that’s my ultimate goal.

Can you believe that curiosity turned into compassion?  THIS is the impact of my study abroad.  Everyone will have different experiences and meet different people… but these will shape who you are and open your mind to a new level that you do not know you are capable of.

So… do it.  Study abroad and go international.  After all, the celebration of this week is to encourage more people to think beyond by opening themselves up to the world out there.  You will be impacted differently from me, but that’s what makes each and every one of us unique.

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I moved back to school about 2 weeks ago (omg time flies) and I can already tell that this semester is going to drive me nuts- NUTS I TELL YOU.

The first week I moved back was filled with PA training from AM to PM.  Seriously… everyday was training, eat, sleep… training, eat, sleep… etc etc.  That was miserable- and then I had to help move-in freshman… let’s just say that move-in left bruises, body aches, cuts, and blisters.

This past Wednesday, THE FALL SEMESTER STARTED.  omg- I think it just hit me that I’m taking 18 units this semester.  And all my classes seem pretty hardcore- no joke.  I’ve been assigned so much reading already… and the semester just started… I’VE ONLY BEEN TO MY CLASSES ONCE EACH… and I have so much reading already.  I don’t know how I’m going to do this-

Plus, I just found out that I have an internship too- so… that means my schedule is super packed this semester.  I AIN’T LOOKIN’ FORWARD TO THIS.

Basically, I’ve realized that my semester boils down to nothing else but read, sleep, study, eat, shower, PA duties, and work.  Dude… what did I sign myself up for.  ((O_____O))

It’s probably going to get worse from here on… so better start crackin’ the books now than later, huh?

OH and I hope to continue blogging throughout the semester- but I feel like I won’t have enough time.

*sigh*  PEACE OUT, I’m going to go do some of those readings that I was assigned to do…

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One thing that I suck at is making decisions.  But once I make a decision, I am very firm with my choice.  It’s just the process that eats at me.

As of this moment, I am near the Canadian border visiting Niagara University.  I’ll be honest, this school was nothing like I expected.  This school is more amazing than I thought it would be.  Basically, I spent the entire day touring the campus and figuring out what I am going to do with the degree I get for my major from this school.

Aside from the issue that’s been tearing me apart, between San Diego and Niagara, the school is absolutely what I am looking for.  Though it was quite chilly today with the light snow and heavy winds, the environment and air feels comfortable.  I don’t feel stuffed up at all, which is good because I love the constant feeling of fresh air going into my lungs.  Come on… it’s upstate NY, who doesn’t like the relaxing, isolated feel for a getaway?  Okay, it’s not an exotic location, but it certainly allows you to reflect… kind of like Uppercross for Anne in Jane Austen’s Persuasion.

Originally, from the photos of the school that I saw online, I didn’t think NU was going to be anything spectacular.  Let’s face it, the school is pretty damn old and the buildings looked like they needed to be washed pronto. But after being here and seeing the campus first-hand, I’ve realized that the oldness is what makes this school special.  Maybe the architecture of NU is not Spanish Renaissance style like it is at San Diego, but this old brick style is unique here at NU.  Walking around campus, I felt like I was living in some old European town.  In a way, the isolation here, the gated campus, the old buildings, and the nice people gave me a feeling of being “at home.”  Also, I wanted to elaborate on the nice people.  The nicest people award definitely has to go to this school.  Even before coming here, the attention and attitude that I was given over the phone was absolutely amazing.  These staff members really know how to convince people to come to their school.  Once here today, I found these people just as, maybe even more, kind than over the phone.  I felt like everyone in this community wanted, from the goodness of their heart, to help others.  Getting lost?  Questions?  Just ask.  Anyone on campus is willing to answer your questions and direct you to where you need to get to.

Honestly, I just can’t express how much I love it here at NU.  I recall yesterday, I was nervous about the visiting today.  I kind of didn’t want to visit… speaking that I thought that I had already made a decision with San Diego.  But I figured I might as well check this place out since my parents already drove me here.  Little did I know that seeing this school would greatly impact my decision.  I’m not saying this is definite yet, but I mean, now NU and USD are on the same level.  What do I do?  At one school, I will pursue the MBA, at the other school, I will pursue the MS- the only difference between the schools.  If anything, visiting this school just made my life that much harder… because now, I have to make a decision… one that will impact my future for the next 5 years (at least!).  I wish I could visit San Diego… or I wish I could have a sign telling me what to do.

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“Growth means change and change involves risk, stepping from the known to the unknown.” – Anonymous

A small, hairy monster with one tooth and a pitiful face stared right back at my four year old self.  I could not help but wonder what the ugly creature was.  As it turned out, it was the famous Little Critter.  Aside from its hideous face, I was not willing to open the book to learn more about the critter.  I was afraid to leave the comfort of the language I had spoken since my first words, and open myself to a new world where new tones, sounds, and vocabulary existed.  To me, the English language was the Little Critter, unknown and intimidating.

Kindergarden and first grade were the most difficult years of my life.  Every single day, I struggled against my language barrier.  I knew I had to learn English.  I mean, I lived in America, how could I not learn the national language?  Yet, I was more comfortable with speaking Mandarin Chinese.  It was the language in which I automatically spoke.  I dreamed, I sang, I babbled in my native language.  With English, I had to dig through my brain for the right words.  How do I tell the teacher that I want to get a drink of water?  Or when I needed the toilet. I need to borrow a scissor, but how can I ask my classmate? My thoughts were locked in my head, unable to come out and sprout.

Do not get me wrong; I tried very hard to communicate with my fellow peers and teachers.  But what came out was gibberish, a mix between English and Chinese, or simply Chinglish.
“You talk funny!”  “What’s the matter with you?”  “Are you mute?”
The worst of my fears came true.  Embarrassed, I stopped talking altogether.
In class, teachers thought I was “slow.”  They never said it to me, but I knew from the way they looked and spoke to me.  To them, I was different because instead of being the typical garrulous child, I was taciturn and withdrawn.  As for school work, with the exception of math, I could not participate in any of the activities because I did not understand what I was supposed to do.


Essentially, it was ESL, or English as a Second Language, that changed my life forever.  At first, I did not speak to the ESL teacher or any of the other ESL students.  I thought I was going to be judged by my progress in learning English.  But, sitting in the room day after day proved me wrong.  Everyone there was just having a good time- talking, eating, playing games, etc.  Slowly, but cautiously, I joined in on the daily conversations to the best of my ability.  It was in ESL that I made my first friends, the first people I met who understood the feeling of being held back by words.

Time flew after I became more comfortable with the English language.  Though I was still shy outside of ESL, I began to use some of the English vocabulary that I learned in ESL.  In some ways, I felt relieved to be able to free my thoughts and have people hear me.  I also grew to be more confident in myself, learning to be open-minded.  English, as it turned out, was not as scary as it seemed.  At least not as scary as the Little Critter.


As a sixteen year old now, I have come a long way from kindergarden and first grade.  I still remember when I had to choose another language in eighth grade.  Many of my fellow peers complained that languages were easier to learn as children.  But I know that learning is difficult no matter if a person is five or thirty-five years old.  Maybe a child is more likely to absorb stimuli from the environment than a teen or adult, but the first step in learning something new is never easy for anyone.  In my case, I took the big step out of my comfort zone and entered a whole new world through language.

My experience in learning English has never left me.  When I am introduced to a new concept or lesson in my classes, whether it is science, math, English, or social studies, I remind myself to be patient and open-minded.


As a child, I never understood the meaning of my experience.  I did not think that I would be where I am today.  As a five year old, imagining what I have now would have been a distant dream.  In this way, I greatly value my grades, my education, and my opportunities- the things I had worked for with my blood and sweat for eleven years.


Academics is a very difficult area to succeed in.  There is no such thing as “talented in academics.”  We begin on the same page and where we end up depends on the amount of effort we put into our studies.  Overcoming obstacles gives us perseverance, no matter where we are in our lives.

 

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It’s a funny thought that at this time of next year, I will be enrolled in college.  I’m surprised that 4 years flew by and I did not even notice.  I mean, I was constantly thinking “when is high school going to be OVER already???” but I never really kept track of the time.  And it’s not that I love or hate high school specifically, but I just want a new environment.  I’ve come across the good and the bad at my high school and I really desire for new people, a new setting, a new beginning.

Right now, I’m trying to enjoy my senior year.  After 3 years of working my toosh off, I think I deserve a break… like I’m going on my first field trip since the 5th grade!  wooo~ lol it’s crazy, but true~ hehehe

Any who, I cannot help but wonder where I am going to be at this time next year… am I going to be upstate?  in Kansas?  in Washington?  or Korea?  Who knows, and the mystery of it all attracts me.  I look forward to college so much because it is the time to be independent and learn about myself.  I bet my college years are going to fly by as well, but I hope to have fun… the kind of fun that sticks with you.

I am done with my college applications… now I just wait *tick tock tick tock*… this is the most painful part because the wait… is unbearable.  Worse than the stress of filling the apps out, waiting takes a toll on the mind because the thought of acceptance and rejection fill the mind.  I don’t expect too much, but I do hope to get at least 50% scholarship from each of the schools that I applied to.  It’s going to be nice to have choices to make a decision on, but I think that can also be a problem- what if I can’t choose?  O.O  O dear… it’s not even like this decision is miniscule… this decision will be long-term and will affect my future.  That pressure isn’t something I like to ponder about…

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Well, it’s 2 weeks away from the March 13th SAT, which I will be taking.  Of course, I’m getting jittery and nervous… kinda in that “zoned-out” mode, you know?  I mean, all I’m focusing on right now is work, work, and more work.  To some degree, I guess it will pay off, but I don’t want to end up going mad either!  From what I’ve seen, studying too much can drive people up the walls… so to prevent that, I will begin blogging more often in these 2 weeks to calm my nerves and keep my mind in check.  But then again, after the SAT is over, I’ll have to start studying for… dun dun dun…. AP EXAMS and SAT II’s.  For now, I won’t worry about that yet…. just the SAT is enough to make me feel queasy.  ((O.O))

Anyways, even though the thought of the SAT is argghhhh… I have to admit that the preparation has brought me… okay don’t get mad at me… some joy (eek!).  LET ME EXPLAIN~!

Okay, so studying is always a dread, blah blah blah, I can totally relate because wouldn’t life be so cool and relaxing if we didn’t have to move a muscle to live comfortably?  Yes.  But we do not live in Utopia… unfortunately, we humans are stuck on Earth, where we have to work for what we want.  And so, I want a high score on my SAT (definition of high score: a perfectionist’s perfect score).  Being that I’m human and live on Earth, I have to work for it by default.

At first, prepping was so so not fun.  I hated the thought of the word SAT, you think I could handle actual preparation?  Barely, I was hanging on a string.  But after completing 6 practice tests, I’ve grown an odd liking to the exam.  Why?  I can’t tell you… but it’s the satisfying feel I get when I am finished and see my score that I am addicted to.  It’s like a race.  For about 3 hours and 45 minutes, I am running a strenuous track, bumping into other runners and tripping over my own feet… At the end of the race, as I am crossing the finish line, I become satisfied with what I had completed.  It’s a rewarding experience I have to say!

The Breakdown:

Critical Reading-I know I know… the critical reading sucks… Pointless passages and lots of questions following the long readings… BUT, remember, some of those passages can be quite knowledgeable.  I mean, so far, I’ve learned about women’s rights, sleeping, yawning, etc…

Math-Math is the section that is most likely to be thought of as easy, but ends up screwing people’s scores up the most.  Why, you ask?  Probably because people breeze through it too quickly, a slip of the finger might punch in the wrong number resulting in a miscalculation, etc.  However, I find math o so fun~!  It’s like a puzzle waiting to solved and you are the only one in on the secret who has the ability to unlock the truth.  HALT!  I’m not crazy or anything, just that I love math…

Writing-The easiest section of the three and the one a majority of people do well on.  It’s grammar, the only way you can fail this section is if you do not speak English.  That’s all there is to it.

My point is, have fun with the SAT.  It sounds weird, but really, I’m telling you wholeheartedly.  If you do not try the least bit to enjoy it, you’ll be putting yourself through Hell.  It’s a stressful exam, but hey, ease the pressure where you can, no?  And remember, I’m still worried myself whether I will score high and have what it takes to get into a good school.  But anything to lessen the pressure on my back, I’m willing to do. 😉  Good luck everyone~

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We all love to talk.  As humans, we are naturally attracted to interaction and communication.  And it’s a great thing to be socially active!  However, with the introduction of something called the computer, the definition of “social interaction” has changed.  In other words, chat rooms have entered the picture.  And even more recently, video chat has been gaining popularity.

Most of us usually just enter chat rooms with our friends and just… talk.  It’s kinda like the old-fashioned talking on the phone sort of a thing with several lines, only in chat rooms, sounds aren’t being used to express thoughts or feelings, fingers are.  And it’s totally okay because talking too much on the phone can cause cancer.  So maybe a computer is somewhat of a better alternative to phone chats for hours.

But anyways, sometimes we get tempted to enter chat rooms with… strangers.  The question is, is it safe to socially interact with strangers online?  I mean, before computers existed, people made friends by talking to strangers as well.  Only people saw one another in 3D, not just a 2D photograph that could be fake.  When you’re online and chatting with strangers, you don’t know who is really behind the screen.  This becomes a huge issue and inner battle for a person sometimes because let’s face it, you can have a great connection and so many shared interests with a person you meet online, but you aren’t sure of whether it’s all real or not.

From my personal experience, I have chatted in chat rooms with complete strangers.  About mid spring last year, I joined a site called WorldWideAsianz after my sister introduced me to it.  And wouldn’t you know it, there was a chat room for users.  Out of curiosity, I joined in on the chat fun (it did look fun, really).  Honestly, I got addicted to it because it was so… different than talking to people I knew.  In the chat room, I felt at ease because the people didn’t know me and I could be anybody I wanted to be.  At first, though, I was very cautious of what information I gave out because I did not want to be stalked or anything.  You hear the news about girls getting raped and killed by some guy they met online and it kinda freaks you out, you know.  And on WWA, there were certainly some fellows that got a little too personal.  But on the bright side, I had met some really cool, new people, people that went on to be my Facebook friends.  Plus, even though I am no longer a user of WWA, I still talk to these people via FB.  In a way, I’ve extended my social network, no?

Of course, some people aren’t as lucky and not as cautious to who they speak to and what information they give out.  So what I’m trying to say is that chat rooms are a great way to open your mind and meet new people.  But join one with caution.  I mean, I don’t chat in chat rooms anymore, but for some people, it’s their thing.  Thus, I recommend that chatters don’t get too personal, like don’t share email addresses or phone numbers and such.  Even though I love my new WWA friends, I’m still not comfortable vchatting or talking on the phone (or texting for that matter) with them.  What’s online, stays online.

As for video chatting (vchatting)… I know there are many sites/programs for that, like msn, google, ooVoo, and stickam.  I’ve never tried vchatting with a bunch of strangers.  If you ask me, that’s just setting up danger for yourself.  I’ve only vchatted on google with my sister and that’s the way I want to keep it.

So yea, is chatting online with strangers OK?  I think so.  But only if precautions are taken and the chatters involved don’t get too involved or close.  Chatting online with the unknown can either be good social interaction therapy or your own poison.  Remember, I repeat, what’s online, stays online.

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I don’t know how much you keep up with the news, but I LOVE reading the news… especially from nytimes.  I started reading the nytimes when I was in 8th grade and then when I stopped subscribing to the hard copy, I read my news online from their website.

Unfortunately, I just found out that the NYTimes will be charging online readers to read articles sometime in 2011.  Do you know how much this disappoints me??????  It’s not fair to be limited in how many articles I can read before I have to pay for unlimited access!  I understand that this is for economic purposes, but I do not want to be charged to read articles, especially since I am a very loyal reader of nytimes!!!!!!!

I’ve stuck with nytimes news because I feel that their news is written in a very professional manner, that the articles bring about good points, and that I actually enjoy reading what they have to say!  With the online site, I can pick and choose what articles from what sections I want to read.  For this reason, I unsubscribed to the hard copy!  Dammmnnnn now all the hardcopy subscribers get to read directly from the paper AND unlimited access to articles on their site!  Ughhh I guess I’ll just have to choose wisely what articles I want to read from now on.  This sucks. XP

One more year and then I am off to college.  I think when I get to college, I’ll just subscribe to hard copies of a newspaper of my choice (perhaps NYTimes, perhaps  Wall Street).  We’ll see what happens, but for now, I really dislike NYTime’s decision.

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