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The Quill

The Quill

ENGLISH, I’ll Never Relinquish


As a new student transferred from an international school in China, I want to share with you how English has shaped my life.

Five years ago, I graduated from a public elementary school in China and enrolled at BASIS International School Hangzhou (BIHZ). Due to the language barrier, my first year at BIHZ did not go well, as I was not used to learning almost all subjects in a relatively new language. In elementary school, English was just an ordinary subject for me, and we learned it by memorizing words like “summer”, “picnic”, and “ski.” I found it hard to accept that I went from being a straight-A student to someone who sometimes even struggled to comprehend the questions on a test. It wasn’t long before I got a perfect score on my Biology exam for the first time. I was ecstatic when the teacher announced this, but I now look back on that day with nothing but bitterness because the three boys sitting across from me thought that I had copied from my deskmate, who also got a hundred. I didn’t understand how they could say something so malicious in such a playful way. I repeated over and over that I did not cheat, trying to let them know that it wasn’t funny. However, my English wasn’t good enough for me to articulate the anger I felt, and I never got the apology that I wanted. 

It took me about a year to be able to confidently raise my hand and ask questions in English. Later, English enabled me to participate in international competitions, including FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America). It was the first time I had flown to a foreign country by myself, and I struggled to find where to check my luggage during layover. Luckily, my English was sufficient for me to resort to the security guy. Before getting on the plane, I thought I was in trouble when the CBP officer said seriously that he was going to ask me a question. To my surprise, he just asked me my age and said “it’s a very young age to travel alone.” I did not fear or retreat, as I knew that this journey would only make me more independent and closer to my goal—to become a more courageous person. After I successfully arrived in Atlanta and found my Uber, I conversed joyfully with my driver, who told me that my hotel’s AG Restaurant was fantastic, which I later approved of. On the shuttle bus from the hotel to the Georgia World Congress Center, I met two students who asked if I had panda pins to exchange with them. I didn’t, but they still gave me their school pins. Before the exam started, I waited for a long time due to internet issues and met a girl who was willing to lend me her charging cable. I don’t remember what she looked like, but the smiles we had when we said to each other it was nice to meet you are still vivid in my mind. I am very glad that I did not give up on improving myself in the moments of discouragement back then, so that I could have the opportunity to be on a broader stage, meet more sparkling people, and become more adventurous. 

Here I am at BISV, constantly challenging myself and meeting many people who have made my journey more colorful. I am fully aware that my life is full of uncertainty, but there’s one thing I’m more than sure of: the world is my oyster.


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