Obies Using Languages: Xiaoqian Zhu ’18{0}

Xiaoqian Zhu, a 2nd Year student who majors in Politics, shares her thought and understanding of studying English and using English as a native Chinese speaker.

Language is the gate to culture. It builds connections among different people. Therefore, being bilingual means getting me exposed to a more diverse group of people and ideas that I would have not otherwise. Studying a second language also helps with my ability to adjust in general, as I have came to a deep understanding of another culture in the process of learning the language.

Being an international student studying in the U.S., I realize that utilizing a foreign language is not simply a challenge—from having class discussions, making friends, to even just ordering food; it also compels you to re-identify yourself in a multi-cultural context. I have found out that the languages I speak also speak for me: Chinese means home, comfort and familiarity to me while English reveals my ambition, desire for adventure and cross-cultural exchange. Both have grew into me as I use them to converse, read, write and think, and they have became the lens through which I learn about the world.

It is not easy to master a language.The studying of any language requires hard work, patience and consistent practice. But the process is enriching itself as one would gain the ability to think cross-culturally, and to see both the world and self from a different perspective.