My life so far has consisted of living in two different countries, three different houses, and going to three different schools. I was five years old when my family and I moved from Cameroon, Central Africa to Cincinnati, Ohio during the summer of 2007. For a while, culture shock was all I experienced. I didn’t speak the language, and I didn’t know the customs. I didn’t even know how people greeted each other. I was a small fish lost in the depths of the blue sea.
Once the summer was over, I enrolled in a school focused on foreign languages. The first two years were the hardest two years of my educational life. I was learning English and trying to adjust to this new environment—this new country I would be living in for the next eight and a half years.
The second time I moved was during the summer before my second-grade year. Thankfully, by that time, I was already speaking fluent English. But, I still had an incomprehensible accent. From second through seventh grade, I lived in the same place and stayed in the same school system.
My seventh-grade year was my first year in a magnet high school, and, like many other schools, it was very “traditional.” When I use the word traditional, I mean a school that teaches students by the book—literally each grade level has a different textbook for each core subject, and the students are expected to take notes based on what is written in the book.
After learning English, I actually looked forward to going to school. I loved learning, and I was not at all bothered by learning from the book. That was the norm for me for the last seven years.