English Setback

Evaluate a significant experience you have faced and its impact on you.


While my classmates were eagerly participating in a discussion of The Grapes of Wrath, their hands constantly raised, I looked down, avoiding eye contact with Mr. Colgate, and pretended to jot down notes. I wanted to say something, but my mouth would not open. Trembling, my hands became cold and my heart started beating fast. "Will people understand my English pronunciation?" I sighed, nervously, thinking, "will I say something irrelevant because I misinterpreted the question?"

During my first year studying in the United States at Loomis Chaffee, transition to life in such a challenging educational atmosphere was harder than I ever expected. Like many other non-native speakers of English, I had found the expectations of English at my previous schools undemanding, allowing me to perform well without much pressure. At Loomis, however, I faced a major challenge with the language barrier.

Though I had been studying for four years at schools where teachers taught in English, I realized quickly that my language skills lagged behind those of my peers at Loomis. I felt lost every time the teacher spoke too quickly or used sophisticated words. The sound of his voice flew by my ears; rarely was I able to translate or...

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