Alghanim 1

Majed Alghanim
Rebecca Agosta
UWRT 1101 - 008
15 February 2015
Literacy
Since I was young I have developed a desire for learning and expanding my
horizons. As a native Arabic speaker I have never had any problems learning but I always
wondered how it would be like to understand other languages to rise above the norm and
the dullness of my culture and open my mind to something different and new. So, I set
my mind to devote my time and my effort into learning languages and I decided to start
with the English language.
English always was a fulfilling and a charming language for me and I always
enjoyed English literature and poetry. When I made the choice that I would start to learn
English, a lot of people told me to go to some widely known big name institute to have
them teach me the basics of the English language. Unfortunately, I was never able to
pursue it because no one really cared or thought that it was a passion of mind and a
necessary skill to obtain in my culture. (passion of mine, or a necessary skill) So, I have
turned to the “institutions” that were free and open 24/7, the great institutions of
literature poetry television and the World Wide Web.
I have fond memories of the summer of 2007 and remember it like it was
yesterday. I completely ignored my friends and my family members and did not pay any
attention to anything or anyone that would stay in my way, or was not present in that
small screen, in that book, that piece of paper, or web site that I choose to find the

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recourses I needed to expand my horizons and satisfy my hunger for knowledge with(this
sentence in too long so try to make it into two sentences). I would spend hours reading,
researching, watching television and memorizing information while holding a pen and a
paper. The entire time I was trying to write as much vocabularies and phrases down as
possible. Surely, back then I did not care very much about the correct spelling or the
grammar, but as I evolved as an English speaker and as I developed an understanding of
the English language it helped me “guess” the spelling of certain words and I ended up
guessing correctly.
I was and I still am the best English speaker in my family and the most devoted
and open minded one. Most people in my family are more comfortable and settled with
speaking our first language “Arabic”, but I for one am more comfortable speaking
English. After all I started being curious and learning the English language since I was in
kindergarten. I like to think of my self as a native English speaker, although, it was not
my first language growing up as a child.
After a long and agonizing battle of trying to convince my family of my physical
departure of my beloved country, (because by that time I have grown sick of it and I have
already detached myself of it emotionally) the best day of my life happened. I have
finally arrived to the home of the brave, the land of the free, the home country of
Hollywood, The United States of America.
I thought after this long obsession and love that I have for this country, and my
understanding of its cultures, it was about time to start my new life in the United States of
America. I started to make American friends as soon as I arrived at the airport and still
know them today. Unfortunately, as soon as I arrived I experienced a cultural shock and I

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started to grow quiet and introvert. I was not able to talk or express my self openly, even
if I knew how and felt comfortable enough to open up, because I was too scared and
intimidated. I thought that I would make a mistake that would lead to rejection by my
American friends or people in general. I thought that I would give the impression of
being a fresh native immigrant that only surrounded himself by people of his own culture
without trying to adapt to learn and to appreciate the new culture and new society that I
chose to live in. I didn’t want to be like some fresh, “off the boat” foreigner. I was on the
crossroads to either fail and fall into a deep depression or evolve and adapt to my new
environment. So, I did. I evolved and became a part of my new community.
I turned to reading, researching, memorizing and browsing the web for more
information and recourses. I started with reading mystery, fiction and horror books,
poetry and literature, browsing the web for information, articles and subjects that would
attract my interests. I thought it would help me to expand my horizons and keep me
going because I did not always invest my time into reading and researching and evolving
towards a higher level of knowledge. I started reading English literature like Shakespeare
and Hemmingway and fiction like Robert Anton Wilson. Until, I found my favorite book
and source of inspiration a true eye opener “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” by my favorite
philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. This book has changed my outlook on life it has
widened my horizons and helped me to grow up, to mature and understand life, people
my age, and above. Now I am able to quote any of Friedrich Nietzsche’s books.
After I opened up and felt comfortable enough to develop friendships with
“native” English speakers, I asked them “Do I have an accent?” and they used to respond
with “Yes.” So, I started reading newspapers watching the news, television shows and

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movies in English and repeat everything they say. With further research I discovered
certain websites that would display a sentence on a screen and would record my voice
and pronunciation and then point out the mispronunciations and mistakes I’d make. And
now I am able to imitate a perfect American accent most of the time.
I have learned from my experience, that when one learns a certain language one
does not only learn the language but also adapts and develops a keen understanding of the
culture that speaks it. Also, I have been extremely grateful that I had the ability, curiosity
and possibility to learn this amazing language an to evolve by doing so; I have witnessed
that people who come here very often get abused, manipulated, used, hurt and
discriminated against because they did not understand the language and were not able to
express them selves right, and therefore, they did not know how to protect themselves nor
defend or stand up for themselves.
Knowledge is a powerful, a precious and beneficial tool which every person
should have, the road towards knowledge is usually rough and sometimes unpleasant, but
when I finally achieved the point where I strived to be it was all absolutely worth it, it is a
very small price to pay towards the long and rigorous road of education. I’m obsessed
with knowledge and education, only because I cared and no matter how much and how
often I have been put down and been told, “Your dreams are not going anywhere!” I can
now proudly stand in front of all of those people and say: No, I can do it, my dreams
matter, and I matter! I dreamt of success and my dreams have come true, I was empty,
lost, and aching for knowledge. Now I’m whole and complete, I nourished myself; my
brain, my mind, my heart, and my soul with knowledge. To this day, I wish I knew then
what I know now, that it is ok not to know sometimes, like Socrates said “I know that I

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know, that I know nothing” it is acceptable and ok to make mistakes that’s what progress
is made of, and never fear change or the new because no human being is born knowing
everything and anything sometimes the only way to learn is by making mistakes. Also,
sometimes if one faces their fears it will help them to get to know themselves and maybe
through that change and experience one will meet a lot of new and interesting individuals
that would let them experience events in life one thought they never would or could
conquer.
(In conclusion, as hard and strenuous it would be to achieve the dreams and hopes
one has, and as painful and punishing the surroundings may be, no matter how much this
road to success will or could cost, it is all well worth it and all will be ok. There is no new
talent that starts out in life at the top and there is no one born powerful almighty,
empower and believe in yourself and your surroundings by having hope, endurance,
positivity, and love.