By Firdevs Aydin
My name is Firdevs Aydin and I am from Turkey. Before coming to the U.S. I was studying for my master degree, which is International Trade and Monetary Management, in Istanbul. I would like to become a professor. I think learning a different language is one of the important necessities to reach the information and become a good academician. Also, I like meeting new people and learning their cultures. It has made my world colorful. I am so glad and excited to share my experiences about learning English and living in the U.S. with you.
First of all, it has been a wonderful experience encountering new cultures and meeting new people in San Francisco where I attend the American Language Institute (ALI) at San Francisco State University. Actually, I could not expect that I would have many friends and would be able to express my feelings in English. Learning English becomes easier when you adapt to a city and have friends. The beauty of the city and all the amazing activities opens these doors to you.
Making a decision about studying abroad is so difficult, yet it is not impossible. I was thinking about studying in the U.S. when I was a high school student; however, I was not brave and ready enough to do that and leave all of my family and friends in Istanbul. I had dreams, so I gave up being nervous about studying in the U.S. and then I started looking for a language school in San Francisco. The first week was not easy to be here and understand what people were talking about. However, I found out people are so friendly and they always encourage me to keep on speaking English. When you do not understand, they will be patient to explain it to you one more time. Do not be shy! Ask again and again! Nobody looks down on you here about how you speak.
This city keeps you awake, so you do not have any time to stay at home because San Francisco has a lot of festivals, concerts, free events and more activities than you could expect. In addition, volunteering helps improve your English and have new friends. For example, I volunteered to collect donations at free summer concerts at Stern Grove. I met local people and I had a chance to get to know them. Getting into the conversation is one of the easiest ways to practice your English when you are sitting at a café or waiting for a bus because people in San Francisco like small talk. Also, there are many places to explore around the city and to get more speaking practice with people. Do not be nervous when you are lost in San Francisco; trust me everyone will help you to find your way. Day after day, you will feel you belong to this city, and one day you will find yourself giving directions to strangers because you are not a stranger anymore.
|Baker Beach and the Golden Gate Bridge
Walking on Pier 39, watching the Golden Gate Bridge from Baker Beach, riding a bike along Golden Gate Park, being lost in Chinatown, riding the Cable Car are amazing activities that I have done. Moreover, you will have a lot of friends to do that together. Watching Warriors basketball games will make you addicted and you will find yourself spending enjoyable time with people. If you catch Halloween, you will see a lot of marvelous costumes and parties. Also, you will see that you have had one more family in San Francisco on Thanksgiving Day. It doesn't matter if you have a religion or not because this day brings people together. There will be a long table to eat together and share feelings about whatever you would like to express. If you have a chance to be here on New Year Day in San Francisco, the fireworks will impress you and you will not remember how you began your first day of the year.
Fireworks over the San Francisco Bay
As I said, you can learn English by enjoying life in San Francisco. Spend your time thinking positively and laugh more. Do not forget that everything is step by step. I have been living my dream; learning a new language, exploring different cultures and meeting new people has helped me become who I am. My California Dream makes me happy. You do not have enough time to be indecisive, so come and join us.
|At Ocean Beach|
Firdevs Aydin is an international student from Turkey studying English at the American Language Institute (ALI) at San Francisco State University in San Francisco, California.