My name is Ziling Xie.
"They gave me confidence: 'Dude, you can do this, we trust in you! We are your backup!'"

Shanghai, China

Seattle, Washington


From China to USA, From West to East, From High School to University

One day, I came back home from Middle School, my mom was cooking dinner and asked me: “If there is a chance for you to go study abroad, will you go?” “Hum m…sure~” I answered without thinking. At that time, I thought my mom was joking, or talking about something about my far-off future. I wanted freedom and wanted to leave my parents. So, I answered without thinking. My life has changed from this point. A lot of challenges were waiting in the front and I had to get through all of them.

The next coming year, when the new semester was about to start, I was standing in the USA territory, waiting for my high school to begin. Studying abroad was like a dream to me. In the past, I could not even think that I will study abroad one day. But now I made it. I am now standing in front of my high school in America, where I spent four years. I can tell that studying abroad is really a challenge.

At first, I was scared. This is a totally strange environment to me. Luckily, I lived in the dorm for international student only. I certainly met some Chinese friends. But the problem is, none of us were good at speaking English. None of them had enough confidence to communicate with native American speakers. So, I knew I had to be the communicator. Because it seemed like I was the “best” English speaker among them. They gave me confidence: “Dude, you can do this, we trust in you! We are your backup!” And they also gave me pressure: “Dude, if you can’t do this, we all gonna die! My stomach is starving!” I know they were joking, but I had no choice but stand out to “save” them (like a hero? Humm, maybe…)

It became my “responsibility” to communicate with other Americans. I was also scared. I am afraid of making mistakes. When I started speaking, I felt I learned nothing but words in China. All the grammar, the pronunciation, listening, and all my English knowledge were gone. They just disappeared in my head. I couldn’t even make full sentences while talking. I can only speak word by word. I was so frustrated and embarrassed. But the young man that I was talking to was a really nice. He listened to me patiently and corrected my mistakes. And with his help, everyone got what they needed. Since then, I talked to others more and more often. I began to have many foreign friends, not only from USA, but also from Korean, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and many other countries. This made my high school life had full of awesome memories.

After I finished my high school, I came here at Salem State University for further study. I am new to Salem, and new to the East. I can tell there are many differences between Salem of Massachusetts in the east and Seattle of Washington in the west. I love Starbucks, but I had to accept Donkin Donut instead of Starbucks every day. There used to be 3 Starbucks in 15 min walk from my dorm. And here? Donkin Donuts are everywhere. I threw away my Fred Myer supermarket reward card, and got a brand new CVS reward card instead. I bought a lot of clothes that keep me warm instead of raincoats and umbrellas. So many things changed and I had to change some of my habits. But America is no longer unfamiliar to me. It is not that hard for me to make these changes. Still, I feel sad about some changes. I miss white chocolate mocha every morning.

When I meet a student that is new to here, I will help them as much as possible. I can to help them with their difficulties. Not just because I want to be helpful and friendly, moreover, they are like me in the past: new environment, scared to talk. I wanted to have a person that would help me when I was having trouble communicating with others, and now I want to be that person to others.

I love the life now in America, but still, I miss my family and my friends back in China. Living in USA was a huge challenge for me. But I did go through it. I believe there will be more difficulties in the future, and I have confidence to go through every challenge.