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Sunday, June 26, 2022

We must show compassion to our English as a Second Language learners

By Chantale Jimenez

 CSMS Magazine Staff WriterYoung Yun Kim, an immigrant student from Korea, writes about the experience of being intercultural. To her, it is not about forgetting about one’s original culture, but about learning from others while enriching one’s own.  Being intercultural means learning to adapt and adjust to different ways of life.  Kim states that one major factor in being completely intercultural is individualization.  One must reach a point in this journey in which one feels certain about his/her place in this world.  Trying to fit in to one culture while trying to hold on to one’s original culture can become very stressful. At times, one may feel out of place. By finding one’s own identity and feeling comfortable with it, it helps one to create an alternative lifestyle that doesn’t have many limitations.            Once a person finds his identity and he is content with his place in this world, it is almost certain that he will be able to experience intercultural activities in a different way.  He will be able to grow and be a part of a world that demands a lot from an intercultural being.  He will be able to reach universalization, which treats humanity as a whole and which is capable of understanding and accepting all cultures. Once that happens, compassion and sensitivity for people who are different will take hold.  This leads to personal freedom, which allows one to participate in others’ worldviews. Some people may find the intercultural experience stressful, but at the same time find it easier to integrate with other cultures in a personal and social level, while others may have a more difficult time.            Ringo Ma, another immigrant student, describes his experience as making him to have a blurred cultural identity.  It was hard for him to remain part of his original culture while, at the same time, working to pick up from the other cultures that he was exposed. He didn’t feel accepted by none of his peers, and he felt a barrier in communication. A lot was expected of him, and throughout his journey, he felt frustrated and alienated. Despite all of his frustration in trying to fit in with all the cultures, in the end, he realized that being intercultural was being able to use all of his past experiences and knowledge to teach others.  His multicultural identity and bilingual skills became priceless assets that not many people could take advantage of.              All ESOL students feel the stress and frustration of having to learn to adapt to a different culture while at the same time not letting go of their original culture. To teach these students, one must first help them to find their own identity. We need to show compassion as we help them find their place in this world. By making them feel comfortable and not alienated, it will be easier for them to be integrated with the rest of the society.  If they are respected and encouraged to use their knowledge of the different cultures, both the students and the teacher will definitely accept or at least tolerate cultural differences.Also see Indian Culture: Vibrant and thought-provoking

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