Tag Archives: american

Communicating in Two Languages

By Jessleen Dhaliwal

My mother and I speak two different languages; she speaks Punjabi and I speak English. We choose to speak different tongues. My mother asks a question in Punjabi, and I answer in English. Even though we communicate, the truth in our words is lost.

I never understood how our words lost meaning until I read Amy Tan’s novel The Joy Luck Club. Tan describes language as a key factor in the cultural gap between Chinese mothers and their American daughters. In each story, there were misunderstandings because neither the mother nor the daughter understood one another. After reading The Joy Luck Club, I wanted to understand why my mother and I spoke different languages. Was it my limited knowledge of Indian culture? Or was it my mother’s fractured English? How could we speak, yet not understand each other?

When I finally asked my mother, she replied with a simple answer. In Punjabi, my mother said, “That is the way it has always been.”

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A Guide to Self-Care

By Jackie Kim

Whether at USC or any other American university, many international students have a tough time adjusting to not only American culture but also college culture in general.  As an international student myself, I was able to experience firsthand how it felt to come to a completely new country without any prior exposure to the new culture that would soon engulf my life. Thankfully, I went through this change at a young age and had a strong support system to guide me through the difficulties. I hope to be able to provide this same support to other international students at USC, especially those who recently had to go through the big move.

One of the things I wish I had realized earlier when I moved to Singapore (and then to America) is the importance of self-care. I realize now that I was so caught up in making new friends, adapting to the challenging curriculum, and getting used to the change of scenery that I lost my motivation to take care of myself. I often skipped meals and didn’t get enough rest; I was left feeling lethargic and unable to extract the overseas experience to which I had previously looked forward. Being a firm believer in always showcasing the best version of myself, I constantly challenge myself to reach my full potential, and this denial of my basic needs was hindering my ability to achieve this goal. I needed to switch gears and really dedicate time to self-care. Here are some tips that I currently abide by in Southern California to make my USC experience as great as possible:

  • Equip yourself with a water bottle: I’m used to the warm weathers of Singapore and the changing seasons of Korea, but I never knew how parched I could get until I found myself walking around the vast USC campus on a daily basis. There are a lot of water fountain stations on campus at which you can fill your bottle, and being hydrated is the key to energy when studying, exercising, and socializing!
  • Exercise as much as you can: Although walking around USC is an exercise in itself, people who board or bike around campus don’t get nearly as much exercise as those who choose to walk. Taking full use of the exercise equipment and classes at the Lyon Center or joining a sports team (club, intramural, Varsity) on campus is encouraged for a fresh start to the day. Even a quick walk or jog can immediately lift your mood!

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Embracing the Tater Tot Casserole

By Laurie Sample

With Christmas being only a few short days away, I know I have a treat in store – visiting the in-laws! One of the things I love most about visiting my fiancée’s American family is knowing that they will, without fail, introduce me to a new and interesting dish. As a seasoned foodie, I never consider my stay in any country to be complete until I have tasted as many of its national dishes as possible. My motto in life, especially when it comes to food, is to be open to trying anything once. My future mother-in-law, an excellent chef who loves feeding people, is always more than happy to indulge my passion for unfamiliar cuisine. It was thanks to her efforts that  I had the pleasure of trying a dish known as the Tater Tot Casserole.

As you have probably gathered by now, I am not an American. I hail from England, where casseroles exist, but not of the tater tot variety. Actually, I had never even heard of tater tots until joining the in-laws at their Huntington Beach home earlier this semester. Fortunately, my fiancée was more than happy to share her knowledge of this American tradition. Tater tots, she explained, are a sort of miniature hash brown, a fare that is typically produced from the leftover potato shavings of manufactured French fries. Once balled together, these potato lumps are frozen, bagged, and sold to be microwaved at home. Though not a particularly appetizing image, tater tots are a staple amongst Americans and a special favorite for children of all backgrounds.

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