A Twenty-Five Year Experiment 4
Studying In The USA
By Bih-Hua Chen
My school kept growing bigger and bigger, but there had always been an urge for me to go back to school. As a perfectionist, I couldn’t stand any flaws in my work. My school was doing beautifully, but I had doubts whether I was doing right things for the students because my major was MBA but not Education. I couldn’t explain to parents what I did was the best for their kids no matter how many compliments I received. I wanted to go back to school so badly but I couldn’t just drop my family and school to fulfill my dream. It was such a pain! The same feelings I had when I dropped everything to move back with Shyi-Dong from the States many years ago. I felt like a bird whose wings had been clipped. The bright blue sky was calling, but I just couldn’t fly. There were countless nights I sobbed in the dark and felt sorry for myself. In 1996 I decided that I had to take off even without any wings to flap in the air. I believed that my burning desire would keep me soaring. I took Chia with me back to the States and left Kang with Shyi-Dong along with a Filipino maid. People thought I was crazy, but I knew nothing could stop me because I already missed my chance once and I couldn’t afford to miss out twice. Life is so short!
After we arrived in Macon, Georgia, I enrolled Chia in a prestigious private school and I went back to the graduate school of Mercer University to study in Education. It was such a precious opportunity for me to fulfill my dream and I believed I deserved a relaxing and enjoyable life after many years of hard work. However, I knew something was much more important and I needed to use Chia as a specimen sample to see whether Cornel students were comparable with American students. I also tried to use my studies to exam Cornel to see whether I was leading the school in the right direction.
After burying myself in the books, I found excitedly that the theories I learned from the books and journals proved what I did at Cornel was just right. My professors were amazed with the achievement of Cornel and they encouraged me to publish a paper in a journal. At that time, there was only one research paper published regarding second language learning in the world. It was about research in a French immersion program implemented in Canada.
I was very happy that Chia didn’t fail me either. He loved his new school and was selected by the school to participate in several academic competitions. His outstanding performance proved that Cornel students were competitive with their American counterparts especially as Chia was just an average student at Cornel.
While I was happily reaping up the harvest in the States, something drastic happened. It was the year of the presidential elections and the government in China launched many military maneuvers to threaten Taiwanese people who wanted to elect President. Lee for a second term. Everyday the CNN news released all the frightening news and our foreign teachers were panicking that the missiles might hit them in Taiwan. Their parents strongly demanded that the school evacuate the teachers to a safe place; in other words, to leave Taiwan. It was such a horrible situation I was in. On one hand, I had my unfulfilled mission, and on the other hand, I had the responsibility of keeping Cornel running safely. I remember once at midnight, I finally made a phone call to the Cornel administrators to tell them to close up Cornel if the foreign teachers decided to leave. On both ends of the telephone line, we cried, but what could I do?
It was such a bitter ordeal that every time when I recall it, I get goose bumps all over my body.