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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

America is Heaven

One of my friends said, “America is like heaven,” and added, “Don’t miss the chance to enjoy that heaven.”  Like many other international students, I’ve had beautiful dreams of living and studying here. However, that beautiful dream was ruined during the first few days after I left Viet Nam for America. Besides barriers of language, the cultural differences may be the biggest difficulty for international students. The American style of living is one of high competition and independence. Most young Americans leave their parents for an independent life when they become 18 years old. In contrast, young Asians prefer staying with their parents and siblings to having a separate life, out of respect for traditional family and community values. This difference makes it difficult for international students to integrate into the American lifestyle.

After hearing so much about how heavenly America was, I was shocked to find that it was no way near what I had imagined when I arrived in Boston. Through the introduction of a friend, I stayed temporarily in a basement of a building close to Boston University for 10 days before I could find a new apartment for myself. This new life did not seem to be the rosy picture of my dreams. My first three days alone in that basement, far from being Heaven, were more like Hell.  Homesick, loneliness and illness brought me down. I wondered whether I was right or wrong when deciding to come to a new country far from Viet Nam, halfway around the world. I found myself asking if it was really worth it to come here. I had to sacrifice so much in order to come here to study. I am far from my family and friends who are very dear to me. Now I must get used to a new environment and a collaborative life where communication skills and social networking are necessary to sustain and develop.

People said that America is a country of “Freedom”.  If you never come to America, you may misunderstand the meaning of “freedom” here. American laws are very strict and clear. You can do what you want but it must be within the limit of the law. No one cares about your private life, your age or your married status, but you are not allowed to enter bars or stay in bars after 11 pm if you are not 18 years old. This law is strictly enforced by the bars.

The strength of American law is also exhibited clearly through a typical government tool: the 911 emergency system. Whether you are rich or poor, whether you are white or of color, whether you are an American citizen or an international student, you will be treated fairly. American law brings fairness to every citizen as well as makes people respect the law.

To live and study in the U.S. is an opportunity and a challenge for international students. This is a multicultural environment where you must be dynamic to show your value as well as your ability. You may be a “prince” or “princess” in your homeland. You didn’t know how to cook a simple meal for yourself. You have never touched a laundry machine. All of your individual activities were done by your mom or your maid. But here in the States you must do everything by yourself. The difficulties of this new life are tough enough; but tough as that is, it cannot compare to how lonely and homesick you feel. You sometimes feel as though you live on an island alone. However, happiness will smile on you if you know how to face these challenges. You will be rewarded for your efforts. You seem to be a new person who is more independent, confident and decisive. My mom told me, “America helps you to be mature.” My father is also proud of me, seeing that his daughter is able to do “small chores” when she used to say, “Chores are just for maids.”

Do you know what really made me proud? He said, “My little girl is growing up.”