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一位来自甘孜炉霍的藏族学生描述在美国的求学经历

热度 1已有 4362 次阅读2012-9-1 11:03 |个人分类:见闻!|系统分类:见闻| , 美国, 藏族, 甘孜, 炉霍

美国卡罗尔学院蒙大拿分校唯一的藏族学生

It’s been a long, and at times unbelievable, journey from her small, rural village in eastern Tibet to the campus of a prestigious private college in Montana.

While many take attending school for granted, this has never been the case with Tseji.

“My family didn’t want me to go to school,” she recalled, as she sat beneath a tree on Carroll’s lush lawn.

Her parents, who are illiterate, saw no value in education. But they would change their mind as their daughter excelled at academics.

A hard worker, Tseji did all her chores before and after classes so her parents would allow her to attend the village elementary school with her friends.

She also remembers her family’s poverty: “I would go to school with sole-less shoes, and the other students would laugh at me.”

Although her parents assured her that the family had plenty of food, she recalls meager meals where they all left the table hungry.

Due to the harsh growing conditions, her parents grew primarily barley, potatoes and peas, but few vegetables.

Despite the rigors of rural life, she recalls with relish riding the family’s horses to bring crops in from the fields: “I just love horses.” She’s already gone riding in Montana, but is astounded at how much bigger the horses are here than at home. On a recent ride, she had to climb a fence to mount her horse.

Tseji never sought the limelight in school because of shyness, but she was soon recognized for her academic skills. She would eventually earn a coveted seat in middle school, when she and her friend were the only two students from their village school to pass the entrance exam.

“My parents liked that I did well,” she said. One day, while walking with her father, a plane winged across the sky — a rare sight in their isolated village.

“My dad said to me, ‘Study hard and one day you may go by flight somewhere,’” she recalled.

Since then, she’s traveled much further than she ever dreamed possible.

Her first long journey was hours from home at her new middle school, where she boarded.

Once again she excelled.

“I would get up at 2 a.m.,” she said. “I would study under a street lamp.”

It was so cold that she wore a fur-lined Tibetan robe as she huddled under the light. The school had no electricity at night, she explained. It only operated during classroom hours.

On the final day of middle school, Tseji again faced the prospect of giving up school and returning to her village to help on her parents’ farm. Most young people in her village marry by the age of 18 or 19.

At the last minute, once again a door opened. She was selected as one of just eight students to attend a prestigious English Training Program in Qinghai, China, a school taught by foreign teachers who were native English speakers.

“My mom and grandfather cried,” she said of her new honor, and her father, once again, was proud of her accomplishments.

“I was really scared,” she admitted about attending the new school because the teachers taught only in English, but she soon loved it.

Two years later, she earned an associate degree and returned to her village, arriving in time to celebrate the Tibetan New Year. Yet again, she faced the prospect of her education ending.

But through a chance encounter with visitors, she found funding for two more years of education and then an opportunity to attend the College of Marin in San Francisco.

Transferring to Carroll College from Marin, Tseji has set her sights on a degree in business and education.

“Everything is related to business,” she said. “It’s really important to know.” But she also realizes how crucial an education has been in her life. “Education is very important. I want to train teachers so they can teach better.”

Tseji feels extremely lucky to find herself in the United States, which is a distant and impossible dream for many of her former classmates back home.

Much as she loves it, here, she’s finding it an adjustment. The day of her interview, she was wearing shorts — attire that is not at all commonplace in her village.

Another novel experience was wearing a swimsuit at Spring Meadow Lake this summer. She said it felt so awkward at first that she wore a skirt over the suit.

“Here females are very open minded,” she said. “They are independent.”

She’s also surprised at the sexual mores here and their open portrayal on film.

“Here boyfriends and girlfriends live together,” she added. “We don’t do that.”

Having grown up in a world where most folks traveled from village to village by walking or on horseback, she’s amazed when her American friends balk at walking and want to drive. “I can walk for miles and miles,” she said.

Each day, she welcomes what life has to offer — from the joys of eating pizza to the exuberance of dancing Zumba and Nia, to the chance to earn a U.S. college degree.

And she loves trips to stores: “Here the shops are so cool. They have everything.”

She particularly relishes grocery stores, with their rich choices of exotic fruits, vegetables and the amazing varieties of milks, cheeses and yogurts.

“I really love cheese,” she admitted. “I want to learn how to make cheese.”

She’s looking forward to the opportunity to talk about her own history and culture and the types of foods and ceremonies common in Tibet — sharing it with other students, particularly through Carroll’s international club, Oasis.

Her first 24 years have been a mix of joy and hardship.

Often, she misses her family and realizes she may never see some of them again.

She also fears for her father, who does hard physical labor but suffers from epilepsy. He has little hope for treatment because the family is poor and he lives far from any medical center.

“Through my life, I learned you can never expect tomorrow,” she concluded. “I don’t want to worry about my future — so many unexpected things happen. My life is really hard, but I think I’m more stronger. When something happens, I don’t think it’s the end of the world.”

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回复 Caramel 2012-9-5 18:18
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