Mu-An Chiou

It Was Not You

19 Feb 2014 - by @muanchiou

At 19, I moved to the UK to get my bachelor degree. I scored 108 out of 120 in TOEFL; for a high schooler this score was very high, usually master programs ask that you score above 100. But, it meant nothing after I landed in this strong-accent-English-speaking foreign island. – I was in Birmingham.

I struggled to understand the words coming out of my classmates’ mouths, struggled to keep up, and struggled to form any responses. Even when I barely understood and replied, they seldom got what I was saying.

It was very frustrating. It got more so when I started to double, triple check the words I was using, and the grammar of every single sentence, to no avail. Even when I thought I said everything right, they still did not understand me.

Was it my non-British accent? Or was it that the English ability I was proud of simply wasn’t enough?

Then, I met people who understood me, people who’d help explaining what I said, and point out that it wasn’t me.

They said, actually, there was nothing wrong with my English. They weren’t exceptionally good at guessing broken English. It was because the people who didn’t understand me had it in their mind that my English will not make sense, so it didn’t.

It was at that point, I started to see, it was probably not my problem most of the time.

There are just people who are convinced that I can’t do certain things because of the way I am. So even when I did them, they’d still find a way in their mind to reject or ignore the facts. They are not bad people, probably, it is just the way things are for them.

So, until I can prove myself again, again, and again, til they notice, or until there are other people who’d help convincing them, they will keep on rejecting me.

 

No, it was not you.
What a nice thing to know.

 

So I stop gearing myself up for these pointless battles. And I was relieved.