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I cannot believe how hard and complicated it is to study in a foreign language. Before starting the Advertising program at St Lawrence College, I’ve never imagined that I was going to face problems and difficulties such as the ones I am facing now, especially, the first week. I have been fully aware that any advertising program is mainly based on speaking and presentation skills, communication and persuasion abilities and a high level of intelligence, creativity and flexibility. However, I’ve never imagined myself being silent and disabled in a class, while everybody is participating, contributing, discussing and giving their opinions and points of view. Indeed, it feels very disappointing when you realize that you can’t use the skills and abilities that you got when its about other language not your first language.

I actually spent my first week at college just listening and taking notes and sometimes asking questions individually with the professor after class. Otherwise, if I want to participate or answer questions, the barriers of language and fluency shows up in front of me and prevents me from going ahead and speaking. Even though, in some cases, I feel that I have a better answer or point of view. When I try to overcome the barrier of language and move ahead attempting to give my opinion, and this usually happens after a long time of deep thinking, another barrier suddenly appears and prevents me again from speaking. This barrier is the barrier of hesitation and uncertainty. I stop for a while and start talking to myself about what would happen if I try to pass this barrier and move ahead, and just before I make my decision of breaking the barrier I see another barrier coming from afar; a barrier that I am used to and I had many experiences with it especially in my childhood. This barrier is common and widespread in everybody’s lives; it is the barrier of stress and anxiety. After great efforts and after exploiting all the skills and capabilities that I have I succeed in breaking all the barriers, and just when I intend to give my opinion to the professor and the classmates I realize that everybody is discussing another idea.

Almost, the majority of my first classes have known the same scenario, but two classes were really the exception and gave me confidence and enhanced my self-esteem. The first one was the MCOM12 class with Kathy when I presented my self and talked a little bit about my life, and the second one was the MCOM5 with Frank when I talked freely about my plan for the future. The comments and encouraging support of my professors and classmates after those two classes made me very comfortable, enthusiastic and excited about the future. And certainly I am going to do great this year.


About makpha

My first experience with blogging in English. View all posts by makpha

3 responses to “Barriers

  • Tanya

    Very well done mustapha! Your vocabulary exceeds that of most anglophones I know. I’m sorry to hear that you were so uncomfortable the first week of school=[ I admire the ambition it takes to study abroad. Like I have told you before, I wouldn’t have been able to do it! Remember, we’re all here to learn. No one is judging. If anything, we’re impressed!

    • makpha

      Thank you so much Tanya, and honestly, you and Chad helped me a lot in overcoming that period. and because of you, I am feeling more comfortable day after day. I am really grateful 🙂

  • teachingteacher

    Mustapha, after the bridging exercise in Week One, everyone in the class knows that you are an intelligent and articulate speaker. And I’d bet there aren’t three people in the room who speak a second language as well as you do.

    We want to hear from you, Mustapha. We want to hear what you think and how you feel. I, especially, want to hear from you.

    Let me say one thing from experience: When you do decide to open up in front of your peers, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it long before.

    When you are ready, we’ll all be here for you, Mustapha.

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