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Alisha Starelli

on 14 September 2013

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Transcript of UC DAVIS PAL Program

UC Davis PAL Program
design by Dóri Sirály for Prezi
Getting together - PAL Party!
The third time that Yui and I got together, we met up with a fellow classmate, Allison, and her pal, Taro! It was so fun to get together with another couple PALS, and I think that we all four had a great time learning about each other and discussing the language barrier, and Yui and Taro's experience here at UC Davis and here in the United States. Taro spoke great English, so it made for some great conversations. We talked about so much - including his experience with English slang - he talked about how confusing some of our slang was! He asked "I have to know, exactly what is a "kick back"? I am so confused!" We loved helping him make sense of our weird college dialect - it was so much fun to try to explain why these terms were used, even though I think the truth is that no body really knows!
The PAL experience!
I loved having the opportunity to get to know somebody of a completely different lifestyle, culture, and language! Yui and I will absolutely remain friends and I loved seeing the world from her point of view. The language barrier opened my eyes to the social similarities and differences of our cultures, and I really enjoyed adapting and becoming friends with somebody that spoke very little English. I loved the experience that the PAL program gave me, and I feel that working through the language barrier was a great experience!
The first meeting!
Meeting my PAL, Yui, for the first time was exciting and a lot of fun! At first we were both nervous because of the language barrier, and it quickly became apparent how different it was communicating with someone from a different language background. We talked slowly and used pictures when she didn't know what a word I said meant!
Beating the Barrier!
Getting to know somebody while also learning to adapt to the language barrier was quite the task! I had to make sure that I talked slowly, used common words, and I noticed myself using a lot of hand gestures and doing a lot of smiling and nonverbal positive language to convey to her that I was friendly and excited to get to know her! We quickly warmed up to each other and had a fun time talking and laughing. The second time we met up, she showed me this device that was able to convert English words she didn't know into her native language, Japanese, and also provided synonyms, displayed the type of word it was (ADJ, N, V, Etc.) , and used the word in a sentence. It was a really cool device and I found it really cool that she was able to use this tool to help her learn and understand more English vocabulary!
Yui was especially interested in American culture. She was curious about what I liked to do for fun, where I had traveled, and what my family and friends were like. She herself was lucky to had traveled much of our country - including San Francisco, Southern California, New York, and even Disney World in Florida!
American Culture!
Yui and I talked a lot about what we liked to do for fun. I told her that I enjoyed hiking and skiing - two things there isn't much of around here! She told me she has been doing a lot of partying - She said like she feels that is all there really is here to do in Davis!
Whats there to do around here!
My experience meeting an International PAL - An amazing and eye opening opportunity!
English Slang!
The four of us had a great time talking about Taro's confusion about some of the slang he heard. He asked about the term "knock on wood" and Allison and I tried to explain that it meant "For good luck". I mean how exactly do you explain something like that to someone! We were all laughing and having a great time, and it really opened my eyes to how different learning a language is from a text book to the real world - while Taro's English was very strong, it only makes sense that some of these common phrases make no linguistic sense!
When Yui and I met up with Taro and Allison, Taro had brought some Japanese rice crackers for us to try! They were really good, and it was fun to experience some real Japanese culture! I learned a lot from talking to Taro and I had a great time getting to know Yui and Taro!
Culture SWAP!
What did I learn?
Through this experience, I observed a lot about the differences of language and the social elements behind language and the language barrier. I feel that communicating with somebody that is learning English as a second language was a very cool experience! I had a great time getting to know Yui, helping her understand English concepts, explaining to her our culture, and helping her with her homework! I really enjoyed this experience and I feel like I took so much from it!
One time when Yui and I met up, she was working on some homework for her English class. The example was a paragraph about the California gold rush, and she was confused about the term "mine". She thought that "mine" was a possessive term, and had a hard time grasping that in this case, "mine" was a noun. She also had to determine that "miner" was an adjective, and "mined" was a verb. I helped her grasp the concept and helped her through her homework, and it was fun helping someone understand this concept that truly is a very confusing one indeed!
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