There are many people that I am grateful to have interacted with, but this time, I want to thank some people that I have helped.
Recently, there have been many international students, especially Chinese students, that have come to my school. Seeing the struggles and challenges these 60 students had to face, my classmates and I helped found a club at my school to specifically help them. Every week, we would dedicate an entire lunch to help any students that came into our class and asked for help. We translated and answered.
Gradually, fewer and fewer students came. Then we started wondering why these students were not seeking this free help. One day, while walking past the cafeteria, I saw some students I had helped before. I soon asked them, “Why aren’t you coming to the meetings? Do you not have any questions?”
And they replied, “Of course we do!”
After chatting a bit more, I found out that they indeed needed help, but they lacked confidence speaking English in the classroom and also felt intimidated by some of the volunteers’ attitudes. Further into the conversation, I realized that these students had many extremely admirable traits, as even the act of coming to another country speaking another language and being submerged in an entirely different culture was already a tremendous challenge. And they were trying to do even better.
With this realization, I pushed the club to change its modus operandi and proactively help the students, like helping in course selection and supporting two students’ successful campaign to the school government.
My experiences helping international students has opened my perspective and made me more compassionate, all things that I am grateful for.