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Jeremy’s Article: Acting Stupid in Beautiful Singapore

Article #9 in the ESL Student Life Story Project, by Jeremy from China, age 20.

ESL student

The author, on the right, looking sly

When I finished high school in China, I went to Singapore to keep studying because I felt there were too many high school graduates like me in China, and I wouldn’t get into a good school there.

Living in beautiful Singapore was a huge challenge for me because I wanted to learn English well, so I decided to study an O-Level Course. With an O-Level certificate, I could go to university in Singapore. Unfortunately, instead of doing this, I wasted one year.

At the beginning of my time in Singapore, I studied English hard and every day I did my homework on time. If I didn’t understand something, I asked my friends or teachers for help. But this diligence only lasted a few weeks before I gave up.

Why did I decide this bad thing? Many reasons.

First, my English was very poor and I couldn’t get high scores, which is why I couldn’t get into a good university in China, which is why I had come to Singapore in the first place. Also, I did not feel my English was improving.

I began to think I couldn’t study English well in Singapore, because there were too many people from China there who were speaking Chinese. This was not a good English environment for me to listen to and speak English! I could use Chinese to go around all of Singapore. Even Singapore’s students have to learn Chinese, and if I played basketball or other activities with them, they wanted to use Chinese to talk about it.


Jeremy posing jauntily in China

There was another problem that made me waste time: Singapore is a modern city, and it is very fascinating. There are many shopping centers, such as Orchard Road, Marina Square, and Little India. Now, sometimes I like shopping, because it makes me happy. I also like window shopping. This was a major part of me wasting time.

In fact, there were too many new things that attracted my eyes. I kept thinking: “How can I buy it in my country?” and “Why are there so many things ‘Made in China’, but I never saw them before?” I started to want to become a Businessman.

Another element that made me waste time: Sentosa is a very beautiful beach in Singapore. There is a big island consisting of restaurants, bars, playing fields and so on. I can’t swim in the sea, and this is very dangerous for me, but if I ever felt bored, then I would go to Sentosa to get some nature far away from the city.

I lay at the beach and then I would think about my future. I especially liked Sentosa at night, with the music playing as I walked along the beach toward the sea wind. I liked this scenery, and the restaurants are very good. There are many kinds of restaurants there. They also wasted much of my time as I enjoyed the entertainment.

Finally, Singapore’s English pronunciation is sometimes very bad, and is very different from British or American accents. During class, there were many students from China, and we used Chinese to talk all the time. Teachers’ lectures were very easy, so all of the students only learned a little vocabulary.

ESL student

Look at the honesty in that gaze!

If you don’t use English in your life, I think it is hard to remember. The thing is, though, that we use English to learn Math, Physics, and Accounting, so if my English is poor, I can’t start the other courses. When I was in class I didn’t understand what the teacher said. Therefore, I gave up and wasted about eight months.

After that year in Singapore, I went to America. Then, I realized that there is no easy way to do something such as learning English and American life. They are very hard for me, but that doesn’t mean I should quit. Although studying English in Singapore was not very good, I should have tried my best. I now want to say: “Never give up. Just keep going!”

Lillie’s Note: Please leave Jeremy a comment on his very honest and helpful article, stating your geographical location!


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Sofia L :)

Wednesday 19th of October 2011

Hi Jeremy! You are like my oldest cousin, who just immigrated from China to the U.S. He was still in China studying in college before he came to the U.S, and got his bachelor degree for studying to become a dentist. At first, he didn't know a lot of English and had to ask my younger sister, my mum and I for help especially when he was applying for a community college in Bunker Hill. I think that if you can do then my cousin can get through it too. My mum always said that it was important to keep trying and never give up because if you don't then you can never master and learn it. Ms.Marshall said to put my geographical location which is Boston, Massachusetts.

Deborah Hiwot

Saturday 22nd of January 2011

I like this article alot because it inspired me on how he had learned to never give up. After skipping school for eight months because he wasn't good in English he had learned to continue studying and work harder, instead of going to the beach, mall, and restaraunts. This article makes me want to try to work even harder in school because it is very very inspiring.


Friday 17th of December 2010

One day I will visit this beautiful place.

Amtooj Giran

Tuesday 30th of November 2010

Singapore is a wonderful place to live and study!!

Xiu Na

Wednesday 27th of October 2010

I liked this article because in the beginning, before you realized you should have worked hard to learn English, you probably didn't know as much English as you do now. This article has inspired me to work harder in school because of your determination to learn English.

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