Snow Roads

Snow Roads

By Clover Nguyen, CIS Alumni, Student of SUNY Albany, New York, USA

Here is your visa! Good luck in your next journey of life!” said the visa officer with a smile when she was giving me my visa receipt to the United States of America. No word can truly describe my feeling at that very moment. A feeling that maybe only people who crave for freedom like me can understand. From now on, my book of life turned to a new page!

In my imagination, USA is heaven! And I, a teenage girl who was nearly 15 back then, would continue my learning at a city nicknamed “the Big Apple” or “the City That Never Sleep”. I dreamed about the place I would live in for the next few years, about a life of freedom when I can go anywhere I want and do anything I wish under no family’s supervision. And when my friends asked, “Hey, where are you studying now?” I could proudly say: “New York!”

New York, truly a city that never sleeps. The NY citizens seem to find happiness in being busy and only need around 4 or 5 hours per day of sleep. The working fever in this city is like a black hole which uncontrollably sucks up all time and energy. Yet it’s also like a mighty gravity that attracts millions of people around the world to this very city for either work, study or simply a chance to take dozens of pictures of the endless lines of huge skyscrapers that seem to be everywhere.

By Clover Nguyen, CIS Alumni, Student of SUNY Albany, New York, USA

My high school at that time, the Education First International Academy, is a private boarding school located on a scenic hill at Tarry Town, one of the most beautiful towns in New York State. Even though Tarry Town is only 1 subway-hour away from the centre of New York, I rarely visited there, since most of my time is occupied by studying at school, assignments and homework, extra-curricular activities and, of course, sleeping to recharge my energy after all the hard work. The freedom of decision I have when studying abroad in the USA is absolute yet with a heavy price: countless nights of tormenting homesickness. I had to tell myself again and again: “Come on, don’t you dare to cry! You can’t be that weak! You made your choice! You can only go back once you succeed!” As I said above, I spent most of my time studying new knowledge and participating in many clubs and music performances... at school. In the USA as well as other developed countries, having good grades is not enough and it’s not acceptable if you participate in just a few extra-curricular activities. It’s because the advanced education aims to a comprehensive development of both knowledge and life skills for a capable generation of future leaders. As for me, I’m lucky enough to have one less trouble with studying curriculum not in my mothertongue language. In comparing with other Vietnamese students studying abroad in the USA, I have trouble with the language barrier, since I used to study by English back at CIS. This advantage helped me easily understand lessons, be more confident in communication and quickly make many friends in my new school.

Living here is not as all fun and happy as I used to think. It’s a life of loneliness when you have no one but yourself to lean on. You have to get used to days of terribly missing the family’s warmth that you used to take for granted back home. You have to take care of yourself when some illness suddenly pays you a visit. And you have to endure the bitter cold of the winter season that is so foreign with tropical-born people like us. During winter, there is always an inner fight within myself every morning about whether or not I WANT to step outside, facing the snowy roads and the cold hard winds to come to school, which is only 700m away from my dorm - a pieceof- cake distance in summer, yet a troublesome challenge in winter for me. Still, with each day crossing those snow-filled streets, I become stronger and stronger. It taught me that the future may hold many obstacles however it’s never an impossible task and always a rewarding one. 4 years have passed since the day I first came to the USA.

4 years of countless cold and lonely days which I defeated to proudly become a student of the State University of New York at Albany (SUNY Albany). For me, it’s a signal, not of a successful ending but a challenging beginning of a brand new future worthy to fight for!