My Best Experience So Far in My Life
Pei Chun Shih, Division 3, College junior #ws16e-s1d3

    No one could have better capital than gaining a lot of new experiences every day. However, there was one exhilarating experience I had that I prized over all the rest. Five years ago, I went to Queenstown, New Zealand unaccompanied. As a sixteen-year-old girl living in a new culture, I somehow felt more alive, because I was excited to learn about their beliefs, attitudes and feelings. At that time, I stayed in a homestay family and studied in a language school. Also, I kept a diary every day in order to collect every touching moments I had there. For instance, I saw a French boy kissing on a girl’s cheek. Later on, another girl came in and he also kissed her. I was shocked thinking that he had two girlfriends. Nevertheless, I realized that is how people greet each other in France. Moreover, the days staying in my language school revolutionized the way I think and communicate with others. Due to the reason that I had the chance to meet people from different nationalities, I was able to share amazing ideas with others. Moreover, seeing that language is not only a tool to communicate with people, it creates a unity for our world.
Accordingly, the experience made me focus on studying English much more than before. In summary, I will illustrate the reasons as mentioned above to see why I think it is the best experience for me so far.

     For the first point, I encountered culture shock in seeing diverse gestures and behavior in greetings. Although many people think that meeting culture shock can be done even without going to other countries, it is all possible through reading and watching programs on televisions. Nevertheless, I believe that we might be more surprised when we really see a certain situation personally which is very special from our own beliefs. In addition, thanks to the experience I had in New Zealand, I also learned other greetings in other counties. For example, people in Thailand, press their palms together. In Switzerland, people shake their hands firmly. Maoris, the indigenous people of New Zealand, bent their heads, close their eyes and press their noses twice. In short, the experience taught me to view culture shock respectively and to know more the world as it really is.

Going to my next point, taking classes with people from different nations help me refresh the way I think. For the reason that I found out my classmates all shared different characters, it gave me new perspective to build the bridge of global understanding. Before I had thought that differences might pull people apart, but I realized that the differences among countries helped me expand my view. Moreover, during the discussion I had with my classmates, I appreciate more the bright side of their countries, and I am also proud of what I have in my nation. In the nutshell, I was inspired be others but also I was grateful for what I had.

     As to my final point, the experience made me pay more attention to the disciplines that matter in my life. I began to learn English when I was five years old. In consequence, English has always been my favorite subject in school. Yet, not until the experience I had in New Zealand did I realize how my potential is. I told myself that someday I will teach others that language is not only a gadget to link our world, but also it brings a unity for us. After I went back from New Zealand, I made more effort to polish my English ability. I participate in several kinds of competitions and I got a lot of language certificates. What’s more, I even chose to be an English major in college. Throughout these years in college, I have completed numerous activities like being the director in a Shakespeare comedy play, helping educational company as an interpreter, and doing internship in an English cram school. As a result, without the adventure in New Zealand, I would not be able to clarify what my future goal is.

     In conclusion, the experience traveling to New Zealand motivates me a lot. Firstly, the lifestyle in New Zealand was totally different from what I had in Taiwan, and I was really delighted to have the chance to broaden my horizon and culture perspectives. Secondly, I understood that English has become as an ideal language for me to express my feelings, and appreciate the beauty between countries around the world. The last but not the least, after the brilliant experience, I decided to be a professional English teacher and I tried to bring on more challenges for myself. Therefore, I realized that the experience in New Zealand was the best turning point for me, because I learned to explore, to experience, to discover myself as an individual.
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