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The First Five Years of My Life in Canada

I left Korea 25 years ago for Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I was 17 years old at that time.

Now everyone knows how old I am.

As any immigrant who left his or her own country for a new place looking for a better life, I believe the first five years of my living in Canada were the most challenging ones. 

It did not take long time for me to realize that I would have to face one of the biggest challenges in my life: the language problem.

Although I had learned English in high schools for almost for five years before coming to Canada, I did not find it useful in day-to-day living at this new place.

My frustrations, stemming from lack of my English conversation skills, included ordering food at a fast-food restaurant, phone conversation, and conversations with neighbors. 

The most frustrating moment was my inability to explain to other people when I was accused of something I did not do.

Knowing that I was not able to defend myself properly due to lack of conversation skills, a few people often took advantage of me for their own benefits. 

However, throughout the years I met a lot of good people who gave me strength and encouragement.

Among those people in my heart I still remember Mrs. Overholts. Mrs. Overholts was working in the Counsellor’s Office at the high school I attended for two years, and she gave me a lot of valued advice and directions in regards to my academic life, as well as my personal one. 

My dear friends in my high school also helped me not only to survive in the new country but also taught me the new cultures and systems. Some of them went to the same university as I did, while others went to different institutions.

I am still in contact with many of them, but wherever they are I believe they are making a positive contribution to the society. 

I owe the most to my father; my mother, who passed away seven years ago; and my brothers.

We were neither rich nor poor, but we stuck together all the time.

My parents taught me love, care, and kindness through their actions, not just their words.

It was from my family that I got strength when I was weak.

It was my family who listened to me when I needed to talk.

It was my family who really was happy for me when I told them good news. 

The first five years of my life in Canada surely was one of the most difficult times in my life.

I believe, however, that it was also an important time period in my life for me to become a more mature and independent human being.

I thank all of those who played a role in some way to help me out during the transition period of my life.

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