Discovering the American dream

Published 11:11 am Tuesday, October 20, 2015

It is still raining outside when I open my book slowly and carefully. It has been about one month since I came to America. 

I am feeling stress and disappointment in myself because I think I cannot study very well. I always ask my teacher to repeat the point of classes because I often cannot catch what he or she said. I cannot make lots of friends because I do not know what I should talk to them about. And, I cannot help other people because I do not know what they need.

My mother told me, “If you do not feel happy in America, it’s OK to come back to China.”

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I know my mom does not want me to feel stressed, but I do not want to give up. This is what I have chosen. On the other side of the ocean is China, the place that I used to live. But now I live in Farmville with my host family as an exchange student.

To be honest, even though I am still adjusting to my new life as a student in Virginia, I’m so lucky that I can study in this school.

I can do things that I am really interested in. I joined the Fuqua School Cross Country team. One of my friends said, “It’s no different from before and now. The only thing different is sweat when we finish the running. But it is fun, isn’t it?”

While I was running with my teammate, she told me, “Actually on this team we are a family. We will help each other. So, if you have some questions, you can ask us. Do not be afraid!”

Whenever I finish my running, everyone will say to me, “Good job!” It is very heartwarming!

My schoolmates also explain lots of things that I do not know about the school and how to study and live well. They help me a lot.

The teachers in school always support me when I feel down. They are patient and enthusiastic. I ask questions about math every day. My teacher, Mrs. Meshejian, doesn’t become impatient with me. She accompanied me through some of my hardest days. My host mom, Mrs. Wiles, is really kind to me too. She supports me and lets me know that I’m not by myself.

Many people have asked me the same question: “Why do you want to study in America?”

I want to study in America for my dream. I believe in America, and I can write my own destiny. I can make my own future! I can make my own film before I am 35 years old. I can make the people that I love feel happy. Therefore, I need to practice being myself.

So for now, you see, in me the tiger sniffs the rose.

Qiu “Alice” Zhong is from the Si Chuan Province in China. A sophomore at Fuqua School, Zhong has been in America since August. She is a member of Fuqua’s cross country team and enjoys art and calligraphy. She can be reached at