All international students, especially Chinese students, may share the same trouble as me. When we’re studying abroad, we want to make friends not from our own country so we can polish our English and enjoy different cultures. But things turn out to be not that easy. As there are a large number of Chinese students here, we can communicate with the language that we are familiar with, so many of the Chinese students tend to make friends from China, even from the same province.
I was one of those students in the past, so I do understand their feelings. But now I have to say, they really miss out on a lot.
I have been in Sheffield for more than three months because my language test didn’t reach the requirement of my course. Initially, I was embarrassed with my English because my listening was not good, and I didn’t know whether local people could understand me, or whether they would feel uncomfortable with my accent. What was even worse was that almost all the classmates on my language course came from China, so I felt quite happy getting along with them, and became more embarrassed to speak English.
But I knew that was not the life I wanted, so I decided to change the situation.
About a month ago, I noticed an activity called Sino English Corner. I ‘forced’ myself to participate in the activity although I was still not confident enough with my English. It soon became a fantastic experience for me. I met people from different countries, sharing food and chatting with them. Indeed, sometimes it was difficult for us to understand each other, but all the people joining in the activity had strong willing to communicate with others, so under this circumstance, language could not be a barrier any more. Google, gestures, and even eye contact could help convey our ideas.
I still remember the first time I had courage to talk to a someone from another country. I thought making friends from other nationalities could be a challenge for me due to the language barrier and the cultural gap, so I convinced myself that I would get frustrated. However, things went far beyond my expectations and I kept chatting for more than an hour with a local guy, and the content of our chat varied from life and study to literature and films.
I have now made many friends with different genders, ages, majors, and nationalities. And the most important thing is that after attending Sino English Corner several times, I become more confident with myself, even though my English is still not perfect. I realize that, during the process of communicating, the language barrier could be overcome, and cultural gaps could be bridged, only if you are sincere enough to listen and express.
Now, I also have courage to write such an article with simple words and sentences to share my experience. And I know you will see what I mean.