Sample Reflection Paper on Stranded in a Foreign Land Airport
Gender is a social phenomenon that distinguishes males and females. The distinction between male and female is based on a set of identity traits and it implies that as a man there are certain traits that I have grown up believing that I should portray in all circumstances. Among other things, I learned from a very young age that being a man implied being intrinsically capable of fixing problems and no issue was too hard for me to tackle. The society also expects me not to appear weak but portray characteristics of strength at all times. Therefore, gender identities had made me have the perception that as a man I am supposed to resolve any kind of problem I encounter with much ease. However, a challenging issue I encountered as I travelled for the first time to the U.S made me realize that as a man I am likely to face challenges that I will have no idea how they can be resolved. In this essay, I have discussed a challenging experience I encountered in my life that made me realize men just like women need help to solve problems.
In 2014, I left my home country, Kuwait, for the United States, where I intended to continue my college education. On arrival at the U.S airport, I was not prepared for the challenging experience that I encountered many miles away from home. The experience was related to my inability to communicate in English with the airport staff since I was used to speaking in Arabic, my home country language. Upon my arrival, there was no one among the people working in the airport who could understand Arabic, thus, it was very challenging for me to obtain any kind of information. I was also unable to receive any information from those I tried to talk to at the airport. I needed to board another flight that could take me to the city where I was going to attend my studies, but this seemed impossible since the communication barrier was a big hindrance. It was a very frustrating experience and it almost made me feel that my dream of studying engineering in the U.S. could not be achieved. It was very unwise of me to have travelled without being prepared on how I would communicate once I arrived. It was such a bad feeling to be confused, isolated and shut out due to one’s lack of the necessary language skills. These skills could have enabled me to be aware of what is happening in the environment around me and communicate my needs, thoughts and desires. At that moment, many things were running through my mind and I wondered how could survive my day-to-day life in college if I could not manage to go through the simple processes in the airport due to language barrier. I also realized that my socially constructed male identity did not have an impact on my current situation since it could not help me to solve my problem.
At that particular moment, I realized how important it was for me to have learned some form of English before moving into the country and not assume that I could handle all problems because I was a man. Additionally, my gender did not influence the time I took to get help. It was difficult for me as it could be challenging for a female. I struggled to get someone who could help me to find the gate I would use to travel to another city but I could not get any help. Inability to get help as soon as possible resulted in I missing two flights that I could have used to travel to my next destination. I remember there was police officer who asked me about my passport and other travelling documents, but I could not understand even a single word. Later on after learning the English language, I realized he was asking me to provide him with my passport and other documents. The fact that I did not know how to communicate in English language was never a major cause of concern for me while I lived in Kuwait. I never even bothered to think about how I would communicate in a foreign country where English was the predominantly used language. Nevertheless, here I was in a foreign land and in a situation that made it necessary for me to have some degree of competence in English and where no one understood my home country language. Hence, I also realized that I would do whatever was necessary for me to learn English, if I was going to continue my studies in the country. I became afraid of how lack of fluency in English language could hinder me from performing my daily activities and hurt by academic goals. After missing my flight and spending a considerable amount of time stranded in the airport, the staff at the airport arranged for me to spend the night at a hotel and told me to come back in the morning for me to have my boarding problem sorted out. In the end, I managed to travel to the city I was destined to go for my studies. The staff had to take their time to get an interpreter who could assist me in expressing myself to them. This pushed me to decide that I would learn English to ensure that in the future I could go anywhere on my own with confidence that I had the ability to communicate my needs.
The experience had a significant impact on me, changing my perspective on how it was essential for me to become aware of diverse languages used in different parts of the world. It particularly made me realize that gender identities do not have any role to play in one’s ability to resolve problems. It does not provide any form of intrinsic capabilities and all genders have to do what is necessary for them to attain the capabilities needed to resolve problems or achieve their desired goals. Since then I have worked on my improving my English. Besides continuing my studies in engineering, I have taken language lessons that have enabled me to improve my English.