If you knew me when I first studied abroad in Canada, you would be surprised that since I came back from Canada, I have studied abroad in Ireland for a year and now am in Washington DC, doing the internship. I studied abroad in Canada because I wanted to change myself. I was the kind of person that always compare myself to others and got disappointed with myself. My mom was worried about me and suggested that I study abroad and see a totally different world.
I remember the day when I met my tutor Emily for the first time. That was my first day of school in Canada. Emily was a school assistant and became my tutor because at that time I could not speak English and I needed academic help. I was fortunate enough to have great teachers and a host family, but I felt like nobody would listen to me because of my bad English. For the first couple of months, I was always alone in class with nobody to talk to.
Initially, I thought that Emily was going to give me a lecture, but the first thing she asked me to do was call her by her first name. I met with Emily every day and instead of her giving me English lectures, we read books together as well as finished my homework. Sometimes we even practiced how to start talking to classmates, too!
I told Emily that I was very scared of talking to someone. What if people reject me? What if people make fun of me? I always hesitated to ask questions and talk to people because I thought nobody wanted to talk to a person who had no confidence in English like me.
One day we were reading a book about Martin Luther King and after we finished reading, she said to me, ” Even though you feel like nobody listens to you, if you keep telling your thought and your story with your own words, there is always someone who will listen to you and stay by your side.” She made me realize that I didn’t have to be perfect. As long as I tried to tell my story from the bottom of my heart, there would always be someone who would listen to me and cared about me.
Whenever I needed help, Emily was always there for me. Her words of advice kept me going.
“Never think that you are not good enough to try. Everything you achieve comes from something you attempt, so make the attempt.” That reminded me why I came to Canada and made me think what I have to do to change myself.
After a lot of meetings with Emily, I joined some sports clubs such as basketball and dance at school and started to talk with classmates and my host family. As I started talk to them, I noticed that they were really friendly and always happy to talk to me. I spent such a great time with my friends and host family while I was in Canada.
At the end of my stay, I received a student of the month award as well as an outstanding performance award for the international students in Manitoba. The impact Emily has had on me as a tutor will forever be something I am grateful for and my stay in Canada would never have been the same without her.
I want every child to have someone that they can trust and rely on. It has been four years since I left Canada, but I still keep in touch with Emily. When times get tough and I need someone to talk to, I always ask Emily for advice. Now, I want to give something back to society. Thinking back on my life, I have never done anything for my society or country. All the things I have done are for myself. In the world, there are a lot of children who do not have access to education. I want to do something for those kids who need help just like Emily did for me. That’s how I connected to DC Tutoring & Mentoring. Sometimes things get tough and I wonder if I am good enough to make a change in the society, but I am reminded of what Emily told me: Everything you achieve comes from something you attempt. I strongly believe that if I want to change the world, I have to be the change that I wish to see in the world.