A Journey to a Different Planet 

            Being different is lonely. No one
tells us, but it is true. One can be in a huge group of people and feel like a
complete outsider, especially speaking a different language.

            I walked around unsteadily all day. Surrounded
by unfamiliar territory and uncomfortable weather, I tried to search for any
signs of similarities with my home country. This was my first day in the United States of America.

A few months before all of this, I was happy with my life in Egypt.
Because I lived there for sixteen years, I was not looking forward to any
significant changes, although my parents told me earlier this year, we would be
moving to the United States. They told me the reason was for a better
education, but I was not listening at that time. When I almost finished my
sophomore year of high school, I knew that moving to the United States and
changing my school was imminent. But before the last week of school, I went
home and my mom tried to casually tell me, “Mohamed, we are moving in July. We
are going to the United States.” At first, my reaction was somewhat neutral, not even panic. I did
not know how to feel. I did not immediately realize the effects that this major
change would have on me.                                                     
                                                                                      As soon as we arrived in the United
States, the culture shock that we experienced was truly inevitable; however,
the most important and consternating challenge was finding a job for my family. Adding to that challenge was the new
language that we had to learn. Even though I knew that the main reason we came
here was for a better education, I never knew that the obstacles that we had to
face would be so burdensome. As generic as it may sound, the language barrier
was easily the biggest challenge and hurdle of my life. I had great difficulties understanding English because all I had was fundamental
knowledge of the language, but that did not stop me.                                                                                                                                                     A month passed since we arrived in the United States, and it was already the first day of
school. That day, I walked into that huge building not knowing what was waiting
for me. I slowly walked forward as I started looking at all the other students.
Most were in groups, laughing and talking. I felt very small, like I was an outsider
or an alien who had just landed on planet Earth. I wanted to go back to Egypt,
but that was not possible.                                                                                                                                                   However, it was these challenges
that provided me with the determination to work hard in school and establish
myself as an ambitious person. I
started reading mountains of books, learning some new vocabulary. Eventually,
the transition between Arabic and English became easier. I started to be able to comprehend
the English language. Climbing this wall reaped a great gift as well: the
ability to speak two of the most spoken and useful languages around the world. Meanwhile, I started
making good friends, and felt that I could fit in the mainstream culture. My
demanding work started paying off. Today, I am no longer worried if people can
understand me. I have found a way to break the language barrier and still enjoy
myself. I welcome the challenge and have discovered this characteristic within
myself in many other situations such as fighting stronger people in a Karate
fights; I do not enjoy the easy way out; I challenge myself everyday, whether
I’m writing an essay or fighting in a karate championship. If there is a
language or culture barrier, I will always build myself a ladder and hop over













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