The first time I went to the Beijing International Airport and said “Bye-bye” to my parents, I knew it was the time to start a new life. I turned around, and my tears dropped quietly. I cried not only because I was leaving but because I was afraid. I was afraid of my new life. I was going to the U.S, which was a totally different country. Before I graduated from high school, I had never been to any other country, so this was a big challenge for me. There were a lot of thoughts that crossed my mind when I went through Chinese Customs. I thought about my parents and the happiest time I spent with them in my life, my grandparents and the delicious foods they cooked for me, and my best friend and all of these times we spent together. All of those thoughts came across my mind at once. I was very upset during the first couple of weeks in the States, and I did not want to talk to anybody, even my roommate. I was always hiding in my dorm in Davis Hall, listening to sad songs and staring at my family photos. There was a photo that was taken during the spring at a farm where my parents and I went to visit my grandparents. In the picture, I was looking at the warm smile on my mom’s face; she was smiling about me and the kitten, which I had in my arms. My father and my grandpa were standing next to my mom; they were discussing how to build a new house for the youngest cat in my home. My grandma stood at the left corner of the photo; she looked at us, the people who stole her heart, quietly and peacefully. I looked at the photo like a puppet without a soul. I screamed in my heart that I wanted to go home. I talked with my family once a week and I always cried. My mom was extremely worried about me, and she tried so hard to persuade me to be happy, but being happy was just too hard for me.
However, things turned out to be better in the second month when I made my first group of friends. They were very friendly to me and helped me any time when I needed them. I talked with them and told them my vexations; they enlightened me and shared their sad experiences with me also. Once, one of my friends talked with me about her studying experience in Venezuela. She told me that as an international student there, she was totally controlled by the government in Venezuela; the government also tried to deprive the U.S. citizenship from her because her grandma was a Venezuelan. I was totally shocked by her story, and I started to think about my own “terrible” life; I asked myself if my life was really that bad. Later on, I got the answer from my heart, which was “No.” So I started to blend into my college life, and I really enjoyed it. While with my friends, we did lots of fun things, like going to Dollywood. It was a warm Sunday, and we had a lot of fun on the way there. We played almost all of the games and rode all of the rides there. My favorite was the roller coaster because it made me think about my life. Those up-and-downs on the roller coaster were the same as all of the happy or sad moments in my life. So if I could enjoy the roller coaster, why could not I enjoy my life changing? I laughed all the way when we came back to campus from Dollywood, and my friends said they have never seen me this happy. Meanwhile, my mother noticed me changing. She knew that I was happier than I was when I first came. In addition, my English had improved a lot by having English conversations with my friends and classmates. I turned back to that happy girl again, just like when I was in China.
Last summer I went back to China and everyone who saw me said that I seemed different; I seemed more confident than before, and I was not that shy and timid girl anymore. I was more confident because I opened my view in the States, and I learned how to express my feelings and thoughts; these things were what I could not learn from colleges in China. From my life experience, I think people need to open their views and minds to replenish their lives. They also need to try more things to enhance themselves; for example, I got the ability to express myself from my international studying experiences. No seed can grow-up to become a big tree without any sun and rain; sometimes an opening view or a fighting heart can be the key to a meaningful life. Overall, I am really proud of coming to the States and starting a new life here; otherwise, I would just have been a normal college student in China and have learned nothing new from my life.