ELI STUDENT VOICES
An Ordinary Story (1st Place)
Do you believe that an expectant mother's dream will
affect her baby's life? In my country people did.
We believed the dreams of those mothers' were signs.
A dragon might be the sign of a strong boy, or jewelry could
mean babies' rich life. Mothers wanted nice and uncommon
dreams for their babies, or attempted to interpret the dreams
splendid and rare. A mother would even buy a nice dream from
her belongings if she didn't have one. We still believe it now
but with a little difference. It's because of a quite ordinary story
that happened a couple hundred years ago.
Jill was an ordinary girl because her mother got an
ordinary dream for her, an apple tree. Her mother tried to
interpret it more uncommon but couldn't. How could an apple
tree be uncommon when there were several apple trees in front
of her house? She knew that her daughter, Jill, would have an
ordinary life with those apple trees. A sign couldn't be changed.
However, Jill enjoyed her ordinary life. As a 17-year-
old girl, she didn't have talents as the other girls with
uncommon dreams, and she was not as attractive as some girls
with picturesque dreams. She was so ordinary that she caught
nobody's eye. But she enjoyed her life. She liked her affable
parents, her vivacious dog, their old house, the tranquil village
and kindly people there. Especially she liked those apple trees
because she knew they were her dreams. She treated the apple
trees as her friends and tended them very carefully. For this
reason, they grew very well.
In an afternoon, when she was reading a book to the
trees, a young man came in front of her.
i '...u me, miss, he said. "Would you please give
me some water? I've walked all day."
"I don't have water now, but," Jill took an apple from
her apron, "do you like apples?"
"Sure," he took it with smile. "Thank you."
Jill looked at him eating the apple. He looked gentle
and handsome. His mother must have given him a wonderful
dream. Why did a person with a good dream walk around here?
"Are you a traveler?" Jill asked him.
"Sometimes," he swallowed that bite and said. "I like
seeking novel things, so I like traveling. Yes, I travel a lot."
"So, I guess this is the most ordinary village on your
trip, right?" Jill said.
"Not really," the traveler paused. "In a novelist's eye,
most things are not ordinary. Even the sky is different blue
everywhere. Maybe this village is such a peaceful place, but I
am trying the most delicious apple of the world here."
"You are," Jill was happy that he complimented on her
apples. "I sing for them, read to them, and protect them from
the insects. These trees are my friends. The first thing I do after
I wake up is to take a look at them. That's why..."
"That's why I am eating the best apple," the traveler
laughed, and then he became serious. "I think you should take
your apples to the palace. The King is always looking for
"I know that," Jill said. "But you must be joking. My
dream is just an apple tree. That means I am that ordinary. All I
have are just these common apples."
"Even the sky is different blue," the traveler finished
his apple. "If you don't try, you won't know how the ordinary is
Jill couldn't sleep well that night. Nobody ever liked
her apples so much, and it made her cheerful. The traveler gave
her confidence. If her apples were the best, she wanted to
recommend them to the King and share with all the people in
In the second day, she brought a basket of apples to the
palace and saw the King. When she told the King that she
wanted to recommend her apples, everybody in the palace
"Apples?" the King said. "You mean golden apples?"
"No," Jill said. "They are...they are just apples."
"How unique are your apples?" the King asked her. "I
eat apples everyday, and usually I drink apple juice. They are so
"My apples are the best," Jill said, and people laughed
again. "If you don't try, you won't know how the ordinary is
While the King was looking at those common apples
in that common basket and thinking about whether he should
try, there came a voice.
"I wanna try," Prince Edward walked into the palace,
stepped in front of Jill, and gave her a smile. And she
discovered he was actually the traveler. Edward took an apple
from the basket and tasted it.
"My King," he said to his father, "it's the best
delicious apple I've ever tried. I can feel how she made the
ordinary so unique with all her mind."
"And," then he turned to Jill, "I can feel how unique
she is." Jill lowered her head bashfully. It's the first time she
felt she was so unique.
After this ordinary story, people in my country
changed the viewpoints of mothers' dreams. We believe that
whether your dream is ordinary or not, being yourself is unique.
Now mothers like the dreams of birds, sheep or some common
fruits. Some of them want to dream of the rocks. They know
their babies will make them uncommon.
ELI Student Voices 1
Volume 8, Issue 1
Let me tell you the end of this ordinary story. At Jill
and Edward's wedding, she asked him the question finally.
"Maybe I made my dream unique," she said. "But how
is yours? Do you believe in your dream?"
"I do." Edward said. "It said I would meet a perhaps
ordinary but kindliest sweetest, and most beautiful girl. That's
you. My unique apple."
They had a novel happy life and governed the kingdom
as well as the apple trees.
My Grandmother's Kitchen (2ndPlace)
It is always so nice to go to my grandmother's house.
The kitchen smells so good and it is warm, friendly and
inviting. The kitchen is always pretty, colorful fruit and
vegetables in the hanging basket and, yes, a delicious dessert--
like apple pie with cinnamon on the counter. Pots and pans are
always stacked in order. The dishes are clean and put away.
Everything is so bright and cheerful. Finally, I feel so good
and enjoy my grandmother's kitchen because I can find
everything that I want and it is always like coming home.
Mosquito Man (Honorable Mention)
Patcharin Hermkhunthod (Gai)
Both Ocala and Gainesville, Florida are well-known
habitats of mosquitoes, but nobody knows that deep into the
Ocala National Forest there once lived the mosquito's father
who was the most powerful of all creatures called "Mosquito
Man." This was the most significant scientific discovery ever
Mosquito Man was first found by biologists in 1975, in
the forest of Ocala, which later became known as Ocala Forest
National Park. No science procedure could even tell his origin
nor species exactly. However, the experiments showed his
DNA might have developed from some species of mosquito in
the warm forest. He was sent to a laboratory at the University
of Florida to investigate his physical structure and ancestors. In
1980, the new experiment had shown his origin might be from
another planet arriving on the earth together with a comet. This
hypothesis could be true because no record of this type of living
creature could be found in any living categories, and that makes
all scientists feel down in the dumps. Mosquito Man was
considered as the half-human since his appearance was similar
to human but smaller in size. The entire body was covered by
thickened green skin with no hair and which became dark red
after the sunset. These special functions enabled him to see far
away at least 100 feet. Two strong legs empowered his
jumping from one tree to another tree and his running on the
ground was recorded at 60 miles per hour. Mosquito Man fed
on small reptiles. He used the long strong tongue which served
as a hand to pick up any reptiles running on the ground while
his body was hanging on the tree, just as a frog does.
He usually prefers living in the quiet to busy place,
hardly ever on the ground and this was the reason why the deep
forest was his only home. No evidence could prove another
Mosquito Man existing. Anyway, the most interesting fact that
could be a big surprise in the science field was the discovery of
his ability to control all kinds of creatures by psychic power.
Scientists think the supernatural power will be used only when
he gets into trouble by controlling all mosquitoes within 5,000
feet from his spot: mosquitoes came in huge groups to get ready
for attacking their leader's enemies. The most important benefit
about psychic abilities is the ability to contact the different
kinds of animals and recognize a human being's mind. Thus,
the latest experiment showed that he would appear in front of
people who are basically more kind than cruel.
Mosquito Man actually wasn't as scary as his name--
instead he was seen as the peace lover. For this reason, he
stayed away from society and hardly ever harmed the people.
He passed away in 1985 without unusual symptoms found.
Sexual Difference in Choosing Majors
Hyang Mi Lee
As Simone de Beauvoir said, "a woman is not to be
bor but to be made." Women's education, especially higher
education for women, has been emphasized in improving
women's status. It is no doubt that the high rate of educated
women is one important aspect of a more sexually equal
society. Since Oberlin College started co-education in America
for the first time in 1833, much funding to support women's
education has been raised and many co-colleges have been
built. These efforts have brought the increase of female college
students. During the last decades, the percentage of female
college students is apparently much increased. According to
NCES (National Center for Educational Statistics), while in
1970 the percentage of women who gained bachelor's degrees
was 43.1%, the percentage in 2001 reached to 57%, which
shows women get their bachelor's degrees more than men do.
This phenomenon is the same in Korea. Since 1887 when the
first women college was established, the number of the women
who take higher education has grown gradually. Whereas the
percentage of female college students was 25.4% in 1970, the
figure has been increased to 36.7% in 2001. This 'great'
number is usually regarded as valid proof by the people who are
willing to insist the established sexual equality in modern
society. However, does this high rate of female college students
prove the sexual equality of these societies? Does the higher
rate of women students lead to guarantee the equal status?
Closer research reveals that high rate of female college students
does not necessarily mean equality.
If you look at the statistics categorized by majors,
imbalance in choosing majors between men and women is very
ELI Student Voices 2
eminent. Unlike male students occupying the majority of such
majors as computer science and engineering, girls take subjects
which have been traditionally considered as 'feminine.' For
example, in an education field and psychology field, the
percentage of women amounts to 75.1% and 73% respectively.
In health professions and related science fields, like nursing, the
percentage of women reached 81.6% in 1996. In contrast, in an
engineering field in America, the proportion of women is only
16.1%, and in computer sciences it is 27.5%. Compared to the
average figure of female college students, this ratio is very low.
This pattern of subject-stereotyping by sex is repeated in Korea
in the same way. According to KEDI (Korean Educational
Development Institute), in contrast to the high percentage
(65%) of the women students majoring in education, the ratio of
male to female in engineering field is about 8 to 1. Specifically,
only 70,756 degrees among 528,288 engineering bachelor
degrees are conferred to female students. These figures prove
that, in spite of decades of change, the traditional belief that a
woman is more appropriate for teaching and nursing than a man
That higher rate of female college students does not
directly lead to equal status in a society is distinctly found in a
practical education field. The higher education is, the fewer
female teachers are. While the percentage of women teachers in
elementary school amounts to 67.1%, only 30.6% is women
among high school teachers. The most obvious example of
unequalness in the education system is the percentage of
women principals in schools. In 2001, the proportion of women
principals was only 7.2% in elementary schools and 4.5% in
high schools. Despite much higher rate of female students than
male students' in the education major, the administrative work
in the education field is still being offered to men. In other
words, the traditional hierarchy in which women's positions
rank lower than those of men still repeats.
It is true that nowadays women get more bachelor
degrees than men in America and two fifths of degrees are
conferred to women in Korea. However, segregation by majors
still exists. The stereotype of femininity and masculinity
haunting people greatly affects college students' choosing
majors, even though the gap is getting less. This is because,
though an education system seems to be independent and
neutral, it is closely related to the general idea of femininity and
masculinity, which results in the division of labor in society.
When students choose their majors, their decisions are
influenced by the value system and employment demand of the
society. Unlike the equal figures which appear to demonstrate
the equality of men and women in college, biased major
difference between men and women is very prevalent.
Unfortunately, the quantification of equality does not guarantee
the qualification of equality.
Ismael Faycal Nana
The nickname of the house where I am living is Couch
World. Surely you will ask why. In fact, when you enter this
house, the living room tells you right away something about
that. Standing at the doorway, from right to left, first you see a
pretty couch made with light blue material with tiny red spots.
Next, you can see a luxurious and comfortable cream leather
couch. I think that this one is very expensive. Then comes the
master couch. It is very soft and relaxing. It has a nice shining
green color, and it sits on a large stage. Sitting down, you feel
like a chief. I like using it. Finally, along the big window,
there are two huge couches. The first is raised on a little
platform and made with blue background fabric with rose and
white leaves. The second couch at the bottom of the other one
is really strong, and it is made with thick cream fabric. Indeed,
this population of couches justifies the nickname Couch World.
This world likes to receive big folks and to have fun.
The Freer Trade We Make, the Better
Living and More Peaceful World We
In September last year, the WTO 5t ministerial
meeting was being held in Cancun, Mexico. Outside the
building where the meeting was on, thousands of peasant
farmers and students from all around the countries were
protesting against the WTO and globalization. They were
against the basic policy of WTO that its member countries
should reduce or eliminate the tax on imports and pursue free
trade. Among them, a South Korean activist, Lee, stabbed
himself to death, declaring that "WTO kills farmers."
However, when you look into it, globalization has remarkable
positive aspects, which some people are not aware of.
Accordingly, we have to participate in the stream of
globalization and open the market to other countries.
Globalization, specifically economywise, is basically
identified as worldwide economic cooperation of individual
countries. Through the process of globalization, the barriers on
trade of goods, services, capital, labor and information between
the countries are pulled back so the world ends up becoming
one huge unit of the market. In other words, in the globalized
world, the trade of commodities is encouraged to exchange
without tax or tariff over the boundaries as if they were bartered
in one country. For example, in a grocery store you can find
cheaper bananas harvested in other countries than those grown
in your country. Conversely, you can sell your car in the other
country probably at a cheaper price, benefiting from no tax.
This worldwide trend has the following advantages.
Firstly, the free trade stimulates companies and people to be
more competitive; it leads them to raise the efficiency. That is,
they try to minimize the product cost and maximize the quality
of products to compete with other countries. As a result, this
elevates the standard of living not only for rich people but also
for poor people, for people can get more access to cheaper and
better products from other countries. Otherwise they couldn't
help purchasing expensive goods. Free trade is certainly
beneficial in that it broadens the opportunity of choice and
ELI Student Voices 3
brings prosperity. History shows the evidence: After World War
2, West Germany, which chose free trade by opening the door,
has developed gloriously while East Germany, which didn't
adopt free trade, failed in economy.
Not only does free trade motivate business to be more
competitive, but also initiates cultural interaction among people.
Products can keep cultural characteristics so inflow of foreign
products exposes the people to foreign culture. Also people will
meet more often and will understand each other better to settle
the deal. Thus, we can be open-minded by trying to accept the
difference and diversity. To illustrate, when China opened the
door to Korea on the popular music market, Chinese people got
more favorable to Koreans and it helped for the two countries to
improve their relation, bringing about much more trade and
mutual communication. In contrast, protectionism causes
conflict as we can see in the case of the steel industry war. Once
America levied the tax on imported steel products from
European countries, they sued the American government in the
WTO and became reluctant to import American export goods,
considering retaliation against America. They turned out
wasting over 1 year fighting over it, which doesn't help either
side. Consequently, free trade is devoted to the peace of the
world in the long run.
Some people argue that free trade threatens the
survival of a developing country because it has nothing to sell.
However, it is not always the case. Each country has respective
advantages. To illustrate, most Latin American countries have
plenty of natural resources but they don't have skillful labor
resource. On the other hand, Korea and Japan lack natural
resources while a lot of skillful laborers are available. If they
cooperate, they can enjoy synergy effect by complementing
And, my opponent says free trade destroys the weak
industry field because if low-priced and good products from
developed countries penetrate the market, consumers will go for
them. It can be true in the short run, but it is an emotional
approach. If one country benefits from exporting education
services like America, it can help farmers who are suffering due
to the globalization by offering subsidy from money gained
from exporting education services. Although it is not simple to
distribute the profits equally to all social members, it works as
an alternative. And, in the long run, each country ultimately has
to specialize and foster the specific industry fields by
innovating the industry structure.
Throughout history, people have tried various
economic systems and sought an ideal one. Yet, in reality, there
has been no perfect economic system. Every system has had
upsides and downsides. Free trade system also has problems. It
can fire up the social conflicts from the people who can't keep
their jobs any more. But, it is obvious that advantages outweigh
disadvantages. People can raise the standard of living and win a
more peaceful world. If we can't choose the best bet, it is better
to choose second best-free trade coming along the
Terry Wany 's
Kelly, my chimpanzee, has three different
characteristics. First, my pet is obedient. If I call her, she
comes quickly toward me. Or when I say, "Don't touch the
food in the refrigerator," she never touches it. Second, she's
friendly. For example, when we walk in the store, she likes to
take my hand. Kelly likes to dance and to eat with my family
and me. Third, sometimes she's protective. She's similar to a
person because she can become ferocious if she feels that her
owner is in danger or when she sees her owner fighting with a
person. She can attack him. Also, Kelly doesn't like firearms,
knives, or anything dangerous. If you need company similar to
human, take a chimpanzee. It's obedient, friendly and
The US Versus Gabon Educational
System: Comparison and Contrast
Rainelli B. Koumangoye
I studied in College in Gabon for two years and the six
last years in the North American system. These two experiences
allow me to discuss the similarities and differences between the
two educational systems, and to bring some criticisms on their
efficiency. For the purpose of this comparative study, we can
consider aspects such as: the choice of the major, the class size,
the amount of homework or tests, the teacher's style and the
level of instruction.
While in the US educational system, students don't
have to choose their major before the first two years in college,
in Gabon, the students are oriented toward a career after the
fourth year of high school. Indeed, depending on their grades in
math, physics, biology and chemistry, Gabonese students will
be oriented toward scientist careers, or it will be suggested to
them to choose a literary career if they have good scores in
economics, French literature, philosophy, foreign languages,
history and humanities.
The first year at University in Gabon is the most
difficult that a young person can experience in his life. There
are six hundred or more people in a classroom as big as a
theater. Students are registered for ten to fourteen classes. One
school year lasts from October to June, then there are two
weeks off followed by the only exams of the year. In the US,
students have only four or five courses each semester in
uncrowded classes; there are twenty to forty students by class.
Here, there are a lot of tests, quizzes, homework that count in
the final grade in addition to the midterm and the final exam. So
students can balance certain weaknesses and get the credits. In
Gabon, you have to be among the twenty best scores to go in
the upper level. I think that too many tests make that students
learn just to pass the course. However, one exam after nine
months of classes is not the solution.
ELI Student Voices 4
In addition, here if a student got a D, an E or failed one
class he can take the same course the next semester or later.
Even if they meet some problems, the US students can pass
through their program. So they can graduate quickly. In Gabon,
when students fail, they fail the complete year and the year
after, they need to retake the complete past year. A four-year
program can easily become six or seven years. So, it takes a
long time to graduate. For me, being an unemployed person but
educated person is better than being a non-educated person who
has a job. Gabonese should change their educational policy and
facilitate the accessibility to education for everybody by
building more schools. On the other hand, it is expensive to go
to community college or college in the US, so there is no equal
opportunity to get higher education. It depends on your income
or your parents' income.
My Writing/Reading class teacher at the ELI is Mr.
Steve Flocks. I can call him Steve. I can send him an email, and
ask him anything I want to. In the US, students can easily
contact a teacher and ask for more explanation. In Gabon, many
teachers think that the relationship between teacher and student
must be like hierarchical relationship in the army: a commander
and the commanded. Students must say sir, madam, doctor or
professor to call their teacher. They usually cannot send an
email to the teacher and must wait for the next class. They must
do anything that they didn't understand by themselves with
book or friends. I think that some Gabonese teachers should not
teach and maybe they should apply to work in the army.
Fortunately, the new generation of teachers is different.
In conclusion, the systems are very different. As a
result of the great competition in Gabonese system, only the
best students succeed. But some aspects such as: the lack of
universities, the difficulty to graduate and the cold
teacher/student relationship need to be reconsidered. On the
other side, because of the friendly style of the US teachers, a lot
of students tend to mix up disrespect and student's right. And
the US educational system is very expensive. However, the two
systems have proved their efficiency in giving a good education
for many years. But everything and everybody have changed,
including society, students and teachers. So it is sometimes
better to update some old practices.
The American University and the
Etsuko ./hlliigiin at
Moving to the US, I have the opportunity to study at
the University of Florida (UF). When I first visited UF, I was
surprised at the differences from the Hiroshima University
(HU), which I graduated from about ten years ago. Considering
the fact that both universities are run by public organizations,
and located in the countryside, I imagined that the two
universities might have resemblance. However, I found
considerable differences, especially in their relationship with
the communities, their love of school, and the diversity which
their students can experience.
UF students have the close relationship with their local
community, Gainesville. The population of Gainesville is
100,000. In fact, 70,000 out of 100,000 people are involved in
UF. What surprises me is that people in Gainesville love,
support, and are proud of UF very much. People in Gainesville
are friendly to UF students, so I feel that I have already become
a member of the community as a UF student and am protected
by the community, even though I am a stranger. I have never
seen that kind of relationship between the community and the
Many of UF's products show people's love of their
university. I realized that there are many UF logo and Gators
(the name of UF's mascot) logo all over the places, on the show
windows, on the car plates, and on the clothes. There are many
shops using "Gators" as their name, and many people are
wearing the clothes on which "Gators" is printed.
On the contrary, people in Hiroshima, even HU
students do not show their love of their university, or merely,
they do not have it. They think that HU is the place just for
education. There is no HU logo anywhere in the city, actually,
there is no university's product sold at any shop.
In addition, people in Gainesville and UF alumni
support UF at sports. When I went to the football game of UF, it
was a spectacular sight that the stadium was full of UF's
supporters, wearing the "Gators" clothes. The UF football
stadium admits about 90,000 people, and it was usually full at
every game. I was surprised by the fact that 90,000 people come
to the stadium in the city, which has only 100,000 population,
and sometimes it is difficult to get a ticket to the game because
of the competition. That is because not only Gainesville
residents, but also the alumni who do not live in Gainesville
come to watch the game all the way. In the games, the
supporters cheer so wildly and enthusiastically that if UF wins,
they go crazy, and if they lose, some of them get angry, or cry.
On the contrary, people in Hiroshima have no interest
in HU sports. In Japan, the most popular sport is baseball, and
there is a competition once a year among universities.
Elimination matches are held at the stadium, which admits
about 30,000 people however, it has never been full of HU
supporters, even though Hiroshima city has more than
1,000,000 population. Only the people who have something to
do with HU baseball team go to the games, and cheer among
themselves moderately. When compared to UF games, it looks
sad and boring.
Also, UF students have lots of opportunities to
experience diversity. Racially, a variety of students and faculty
members belong to UF. According to an article in
ALLIGATOR, "Diverse faculty would help in recruiting,"
(Feb.18, 2004, p.6), as of 2003, UF's student body was 69
percent white, 12 percent Hispanic, 8 percent black and 7
percent Asian. And UF is trying to employ more minority
faculty members because they think diversity is important for
students. On the UF campus I can see a diversity of people
walking around, African people, Asian people, Muslim people
wearing exotic veils. Just to sit on a bench and to watch colorful
people is exciting to me, and moreover, I can make friends with
them. It is very valuable, because they destroy my standard
values, and I can widen my view.
ELI Student Voices 5
On the other hand, HU mostly consists of people of the
Japanese race. The rate of international student is only 4
percent. When compared to UF, the sight of HU is monotonous
and dull. Everyone speaks Japanese language, and everyone's
fashion is similar, maybe the way of thinking would be similar,
The university is a miniature society. The difference of
the diversity between UF and HU reflects the difference
between that of American society and Japanese society. Having
experienced the diversity through their life, American
university students learn how to deal with diverse cultures and
people, and how to lead the world, while Japanese university
students are still poor to face the different cultures and people.
To live in Japan, it might be better to go to the
Japanese university to form the peculiar sense which Japanese
people have. However, I really enjoy attending UF, and
appreciate such a wonderful opportunity.
Believe in Yourself
I have spent 3 months since I came to USA, especially
Gainesville. Now I feel that time has gone so fast that I cannot
remember what I have done or how I have lived. Everything I
remember is the first feeling when I arrived at Gainesville
airport and the difficulty to find my own house, every classmate
in the ELI, some trips in the ELI.
This is not only an essay to look back on my life in
USA but also to tell something to next semester's students. I
want to say, "Believe in yourself, whatever reasons you have to
come here, you have done very well and you are doing your
best. In addition, if you feel sudden and unendurable regret
what is the meaning of your life in the ELI, it is the proof that
you are doing the best as you can." I have lived with this idea
during this semester. The idea always helps me smile in the
Because I can have comfortable and relaxed mind
compared to my country, the life in Gainesville is one of the
best times in my life. Honestly, I have to have tension because
we have more than 2 big exams. Now, I am trying to control
myself again to have a thought that I have done very well and I
have totally believed in myself.
Penguins can make very good pets for several reasons.
First of all, penguins are very intelligent. They are very social
and live in communities with many friends. They warn each
other of danger. Penguins have one pair for mating and do a
good job taking care of their young. Next, penguins are just
natural clowns. They usually play, hopping and jumping around
like clowns. They don't walk, they "waddle" everywhere they
go. Last, penguins are very independent. They catch their food
alone. They survive in harsh severe conditions. Indeed,
penguins would make a fun loving pet if you like the cold and
Advice for New ELI Students
Yannick Yeboue, Reiko Mayumi, Nayoung Kim
You should talk to many people.
You should use an English-English dictionary.
You ought not to worry about grades.
You should go to the ELI activities.
You should go to Gator Night with your Gator card on
every Friday night because you can get free movie and
Advice for New ELI Students
Hyungwoo Choi, Juliana Fernandes
o They should bring food for lunch.
o Applicants should know that food is expensive.
o They ought to get an apartment near Norman Hall.
o They had better get a Gator One card.
o Applicants should have a Florida driver's license.
Advice for New ELI Students
Ismael Nana, Carmen Rojas-Lopez, Enda Rodrigues
You should buy a bike, motorcycle or car because the
public transportation is not convenient.
You had better have money for nutrition, housing,
insurance and other expenses.
You should get an immunization certificate before you
come to Gainesville.
Advice for New ELI Students
Francis Hoffmann, Anita Marich, Luis Carrillo
> You should find information about where you can live
close to the ELI.
SYou should send in an ELI application.
SYou should have basic knowledge of English before
coming to the ELI.
SYou'd better have information about parking.
SYou ought to find information about immunization.
ELI Student Voices 6
Student's Life in a Memorable World
Here I am talking about a student who lives in a
memorable world which nobody knows about. Today this world
is a dangerous place full of corruption, violence, dishonesty,
and competitiveness. This student lives today in an era in which
human life has become equal to a bullet fired from the mouth of
a ruthless military dictator's pistol. Nothing is more
discouraging for this student than seeing a loved one or a friend
being taken away from him by a bullet. Nothing is more
frustrating than forcing this student to give up learning by
shutting down his entire school. Nothing is more challenging
for him than living in a curfew. In spite of all of this, especially
the difficult circumstances that he has lived in, he will never
forget taking his examinations while the military infantry forces
were wandering in his town. He will never forget the days when
his father hid behind the walls of his school while a tank was
passing by and calling on people to stay home. Despite the
ramifications he grew more stubborn to get educated and
conquer the enemy of knowledge and education.
Among all of these circumstances he is still a human
being who wants to live and enjoy his life, this world is not
illusion, it's real but we don't know how to talk about it and
how can we distinguish it from the others, and we shouldn't
segregate it, but according to Logic we should just pay attention
to this world and don't cover it with thick clouds.
It's not merely a world, it's a place where memorable
human beings are living, but there is a hunter who wants to
exterminate this world, this hunter is the enemy who want to do
so, and that student is almost unconscious, and the other
students so. It's not an independence world, it's here but we
don't care about it because we don't have to live in it, and the
thing that is very strange is how could this student stay alive.
Choosing a Major in the US and
Victoria E. Carrillo M.
Choosing a major is one of the most difficult and
important decisions people make in their lives. People decide
their field of study based on their skills, interests and values. In
addition, there are many other factors that influence this
decision like educational system, age, maturity, family,
professors, etc. While many aspects of higher education in
Venezuela and in the US are the same and students generally
consider a lot of these same factors when choosing a major, the
system and timing of major selection is very different in these
In general all high school students in the United States
study the same even though they have some elective subjects.
When high school seniors apply to college they don't need to
already know which major they are going to study. College
freshmen have to take about 5 subjects, what they call GEN ED
(General Education). Some of these subjects are obligatory like
mathematics, English, science, etc. And others are electives.
There's also another system that is called Exploratory, which
consists of three main areas: Humanities and Letters, Social
Behavior Sciences and Science and Engineering. Students have
to take courses in the three first semesters in all these fields.
There are also some courses that are obligatory and others not.
On the other hand, in Venezuela high school students
decide if they want to take the science track or the humanity
track. In the science track people take all the scientific subjects
like mathematics, biology, physics, chemistry, etc.; meanwhile,
in the humanity track people take languages (English, Latin and
French), history, art, psychology, etc. (math is also required).
Not all the high schools offer the humanity track because just a
small number of students take it. Most students prefer Sciences
because then they can study a major related either with the
Humanities or the Sciences. Meanwhile people that take the
humanity track are limited because they cannot study a
scientific major. Also a lot of the people that choose Humanities
do it just because they "hate" physics and/or chemistry, not
because they really want to study a major like: Philosophy,
Psychology, Letters, Art History, Linguistics, etc. In contrast,
there are people that really want to study a major in the field of
humanities, but they don't do it because their high school
doesn't offer it and they don't want to transfer to another one.
When people begin college they start already in the major they
There's a little difference in the US. High school
students in the US (on average 18 years old when they
graduate) don't have to make any decision about their field of
study and when they enter college they still have time to think
about their major. On the other hand, in Venezuela students at
the third level of high school (most of them on average 15 years
old) have to decide between the two tracks already mentioned.
Many people at that moment have no idea about what they are
going to study and less what they want in life. So they choose
the science track to "leave all the doors open" and not limit
their options. Both in the United States and in Venezuela people
have the alternative to change their major as many times as they
want. Also in both countries high schools provide students help
choosing a field of work. They offer vocational tests and have
advisors and psychologists to help students.
Making this decision takes a long time and it's difficult
for almost all the people. People have to have a certain level of
maturity and there isn't so much difference between being 15,
18 or 20. People mature at different ages. Sometimes people
realize what they really want after having studied something
completely different and a lot of them change their minds
several times. This is not just hard for students in the United
States and in Venezuela. Students all around the world are
influenced by many factors and have difficulties choosing a
major in which the educational system and the timing play an
ELI Student Voices 7
Families Are About Love, Not About
Victoria E. Carrillo M.
Do you know or have you imagined how life would be
without parents? Life without someone to teach you all the
important things you need to know and also all the small things
that happen to be really important? Do you know how
wonderful it is to have parents that love you? Is there any
difference if they are straight or gay? It's something to think
A lot of people still think that gay people shouldn't
have the same rights as heterosexuals. Like, for example, they
cannot get married because it is against their social or religious
beliefs. But these people haven't realized that these "gay
issues" also involve other people like children that need to be
adopted. Gay couples should have the same right as
heterosexual couples to adopt kids because there are many
children waiting to be adopted and many gay women and men
wanting to become parents.
For many years, people assumed that if someone was
homosexual, bisexual or transgender, they either didn't want to
or couldn't become parents. This is not true. These people are
just like everyone else; some want to have children and some
don't. People's sexuality shouldn't be an item to evaluate when
adopting a child because children are influenced by the loving
offered by their parents and the interactions with them, not by
their sexual orientation. Also, sexual relations between both
heterosexual and homosexual partners are generally kept in
secret from children. Therefore, what a man and a woman (or a
woman and a woman, or a man and a man) do in the privacy of
their bedroom is not going to have any effect on the children
because they don't know it's going on.
In addition, in the United States there are many
children waiting for someone to take care of them. Most of the
time it's difficult to find a "warm family" for a child that is
mentally and/or physically challenged, or older. People prefer
to adopt a 100% healthy child than a kid with certain problems
or a 4 year old rather than a 13 year old. Statistics show that
most of these "special" and older children are adopted by gay
Furthermore, many people believe that adopted
children of gay parents will grow up to have social or emotional
problems, that they will be subject to harassment and ridicule
and also that they won't have both paternal figures (mom and
dad). However, there is no evidence that children raised by gay
parents are less intelligent, suffer from more problems, are less
popular, or have lower self-esteem than children of heterosexual
parents. Scientific studies support children who grow up in one
or two-parent gay or lesbian households are just as well
emotionally and socially as those whose parents are
heterosexual. In fact, there is no research that proves the
opposite. But, unfortunately, gay parents' children are subject to
anti-gay teasing, which can really affect them and become
Actually, most children in the United States do not live
with two married parents. In fact, according to the 2000 census,
only 24% of homes were composed of a married mother and
father with children living at home. This means that the
majority of children in the US are raised by just one parent.
Most people would agree that it's better when children grow up
in a two-parent household. Gay people are more likely to both
play paternal roles than straights who usually just perform the
dad role or the mom role.
Many gay people are totally capable and willing to
have and raise children. The fact that someone is not straight
doesn't mean s/he cannot do a good job as a parent. To be a
good parent means helping children to grow up to fulfill their
potential in life. This takes lots of patience and understanding.
Even though raising a child is without a doubt one of the most
difficult jobs that a person can be responsible for, it's the most
rewarding thing in life. Why not give gay people the
opportunity to offer all the love they can give children? Just
because they are not heterosexual? There's no difference. The
only thing that really matters is to be a good parent.
Children without homes do not have the option to
choose between a married mother and father or some other type
of parentss. These children have neither a mother nor a father,
married or unmarried. There simply are not enough married
mothers and fathers interested in adopting a child. Why not give
kids the best possible chance at a normal, healthy family life
instead of using them to make a cultural statement? Let's give
children the opportunity to have a family because families are
about love, not about narrow definitions.
It's Time to Have a National Health
Hyang Mi Lee
When President Bush confirmed to preserve the
private health care system in this year's State of Union address,
it brought a lot of controversy again. Despite his promising tax-
cut for more insurers, his policy does not seem to be able to
solve the deep-rooted problems; in America, forty-three million
people don't have health insurance, many middle-income
families have difficulty in affording every year's high-rising
premium, and more and more Americans become illegal
consumers buying drugs from Canada. Is there any
breakthrough to overcome these obstacles except padding the
tattered present health system?
The WHO's report on the world's health systems
(World Health Report 2000) suggests what to do to improve the
American health care system. According to the report, while the
US health system spends the highest portion of its gross
domestic product but also the highest "health expenditure per
capital it is ranked the 37" for "overall health system
performance," and the 54t in sharing the financial burden
fairly. Furthermore, while the average percentage of private
health expenses in most industrial countries is 25%, the only
exceptional country among them is the US, whose private
expense amounts to 56%. What makes this difference between
ELI Student Voices 8
these industrial countries and America? Many factors can be
causes, but the prominent difference is whether national health
insurance exists or not. Most of the best health care countries
evaluated by this report, such as France, Spain, Germany and
Japan, run national health insurance systems. The report also
indicated that "one key recommendation" to improve the health
care is "to extend health insurance to as large a percentage of
the population as possible." National health insurance will be
the best way to obtain this goal.
First of all, national health insurance can save a
tremendous amount of money on paperwork. A study at
Harvard Medical School and Public Citizen (International
Journal of Health Services) shows that last year 399.4 billion
dollars were spent on health care bureaucracy. Unlike some
people's worrying that national insurance will bring worse
bureaucracy, national health insurance can get rid of
unnecessary administrative procedure. For example, American
hospitals now need a lot of employees to fill out each patient's
diverse kinds of insurance forms and to deal with hundreds of
different insurance plans. However, Canadian hospitals need the
small number of employees to do the work because they do not
bill each patient. If we have national health insurance, we can
save half of the administrative costs--enough to cover the
uninsured and to offer the insurers better service.
National health insurance can make universal health
care possible. The present health system says that if you cannot
afford it, you do not get health care. However, national health
insurance does not depend on one's job; whether you are a
student or a part-time worker, or even a full-time housewife
does not matter. One can go to hospital with insurance even
when one is unemployed for a while. Opponents against
national insurance maintain that the easy accessibility makes
people overutilize care facilities. In a short run, it will have
been true; many people who did not have insurance so could not
get proper treatment will go to care centers. However, this
utilization ultimately saves hospital costs as well as improves
people's health because it prevents a patient from falling in
more serious condition.
The major argument that the pros for private health
insurance insist is that competition in a private health system
makes health care more efficient and better. However, the
competition in American medicine actually takes place in
advertising and marketing among insurance companies rather
than in improving the quality of health care. Contrarily, we can
find that the present national health care for seniors is being
operated well. Related to this argument, the common
misunderstood thing is that if we have national health insurance
the government will run hospitals. However, national health
insurance is different from national health services in which
doctors and nurses work for the government, like Spain and
UK. Hospitals are still in the private sector and doctors are paid
by the fee-for-service. Therefore, competition among hospitals
and doctors to be helpful for better quality will be left.
To have national health insurance is a very important
and urgent issue, because the healthiness of people, especially
of children, is directly related not only to the present prosperity
but also to the future of a country. What makes a country
powerful is not a military power to conquer other countries, but
the power of healthy people and their sound minds to make the
consistent progress available. Now, it's America's turn to have
national health insurance.
This semester we were visited by Korean teachers of
English from the Korean National University of
Education. Here are some written "souvenirs" of
their experiences and feelings. Some of these were
"timed" writings which were written in 5 minutes!
What is a Utopia?
First of all it should be a carefree place. Cares eat our
hearts and rust our bodies. Since they come from money,
business, personal relationships and many other things, utopia
provides us a shield to cover or protect people from theses
Second it should be a place of unity. Divisions,
quarreling and dispute never bring a happy atmosphere. Peace
can come with unity and agreement. The utopian community is
altogether "One" rather than "Two" or "Three."
Finally it should have some endeavor which all of the
members thrive for. Without an endeavor, people would feel
frustration and boredom. Real utopia could be achieved
through a meaningful endeavor.
The Power of Slow
I'd expected much freedom and liberal atmosphere in
US culture before I came here. Gainesville, and some part of
life here, really shows that kind of liberalism. But what
impressed me deeply is that US people do their best in their
For example, the lady at the Lanc6me cosmetic shop
was very kind and professional. She knew what color would be
good on me, even though I was a stranger to her. Besides, she
did her best to make me a discount card, even though the try
failed at last because I did not have a social security number.
Anyway, it took around thirty minutes for me to buy an eye
One more example which impressed me was at the
infirmary of UF. A lady in the infirmary was very patient to let
her assistant know how to fill out a form on computer. Thanks
to that we had to wait more than twenty minutes before we
made an appointment with a doctor. She told her assistant,
I 1, !' give up!" If I were in her position, I might fill out the
form myself for that slow assistant.
As Koreans, we are apt to be very impatient. We get
used to doing anything very quickly. This tendency has some
ELI Student Voices 9
merits, but we are apt to make mistakes. The worst thing is this
tendency creates some dislike to the slow or the disabled.
I think we have to learn to do more slowly.
The Greatest Day in America
Early in the morning, I had a big mistake. I called 911
by accident. I just wanted to call my husband. I didn't realize
that I pushed the button 911. I had to meet a police officer. Her
was very tall and kind. Even though I explained I had a
mistake, he went out only after he had checked my room. I was
really surprised at their quick and accurate actions. I was so
MGM was not bad. I expected I would walk into t
perfect movie setting like Hollywood. I was a little
However, I had a great experience in the evening when
I went to Havana's (Cuban restaurant) to eat Cuban cuisine. I
could listen to live music. He (the host) sang a song next to my
table. A woman (the waitress) danced Cuban traditional dance
wearing traditional clothes. All women in the restaurant
including me danced Cuban traditional dance. I was so shy. I
wanted to escape, but I couldn't, I had to dance like a stick. But
it was very exciting.
The restaurant was so small but international like a
global village. They (the customers) were from Korea,
Colombia, Canada, Argentina, USA, and New Zealand. The
host wanted to listen to Korean music. Charles sang,
"Airirang," traditional Korean song. All the people seemed to
What a surprise! A couple from New Jersey greeted
us. We and they had a lunch at the same table in MGM. We
were very happy to meet again. We introduced ourselves and
took pictures of each other.
It was a miracle meeting again in this huge land of
USA. I'll never forget today. I had so many cultural
experiences. It was a really wonderful day.
University Golf Course
I enjoyed playing golf at the university gold course. It
was really a beautiful place for students and school staff. I met
a Korean student studying at UF at the golf course at the
beginning of my oversea field trip. The student, who is going
to receive a doctorate on April 30, is very smart and competent.
He is going to work for Samsung Electronics Co. I had a good
time by playing, sharing our thoughts. I really thank for his
hospitality. I want to have a good relationship with him for a
long time. It is lucky for me to meet a person who has good
personality and competence.
Young-Yean Won (Justin)
I was born in 1962 in Gang Won Do province where
there used to be lots of mountains and a river including many
ditches we could catch freshwater lobster, mudfish, or
something like that. There was no faucet water, no electricity,
and even no cars.
I enjoyed country life a lot with innocent friends until I
graduated from primary school. After that, I had to go to
middle school in an urban area. It's the first time I saw many
cars, electric lights, especially faucet water. In my village, we
used to use water in the well or pump. Although I had no
electric light, I studied very well in competition with city boys.
As a result, most people thought that I would go to a nice
academic high school-but I really wanted to go to art and
movie high school. Then I took a test for that school without
being noticed by anyone. And I got accepted. After that I
escaped from my village to go to high school in Seoul, the
capital of Korea. But I couldn't pay for the tuition. Finally I
delivered newspapers in the early morning to earn money.
Then I could enjoy studying in art school for one year
Surprisingly, my father and uncle looked for me in
such a large city, and I was caught by them. I had no choice but
to go to my hometown. Next year, I went to academic high
school to go to college. Even though I didn't like studying
math and English, I just did my best. Then I could go to school
for teachers as my father did. He was also principal of the
elementary school. The job I really wanted to become was
artist or radio performer.
But teacher is one of the jobs that I wanted. Now I
like my job.
Getting on a Time Machine
I strolled a Florida Heritage Neighborhood ("The
Duckpond") by myself. I felt like I was in a different era,
which made me become a real alien. While I was exploring the
past time's houses, I was thrilled to find out the special feature
in Gainesville. The houses in that neighborhood were like a
movie set in Hollywood. The big difference was that ordinary
people were living their ordinary lives. I stopped in front of my
teacher Karen Eberly's house, taking some pictures to
remember her and her story about a ghost. That story added
more attractive feeling to that house. I had specially intimate
feelings about that house. The style of that neighborhood's
houses was very unique and antique. I wondered who is living
in that kind of houses. I wanted strongly to see inside of those
houses and talk to them. After exploring those intriguing
houses, I explored another historic place. That was the Thomas
Center. This place kept many historical stories. I was
impressed by Thomas after reading explanations on the
informational signs. He seemed like a big and essential
ELI Student Voices 10
contributor to development in Gainesville. Surprisingly, UF
was established thanks to his effort to locate that university.
This center used to be his house and then Hotel Thomas, and
then a college. He kind of donated his house in order to fulfill
Gainesville's need for a resort hotel. As Mayor, he was
committed to the improvement of this city. What if Thomas
didn't try to locate the University of Florida in Gainesville? I
bet the present of Gainesville would be very different compared
with what is Gainesville now.
Thanks to the effort of Gainesville's citizens, this
historic place was waved and preserved. Modem society
usually tends to get rid of the old things. But here in
Gainesville, I witnessed the effort to cherish the old thing and
keep that in their lives. Looking back on the past, we can
improve our present lives. This city knew the truth and put it
into practice. Even though Thomas was the person that I met
for the first time he taught me the lesson that as Mayor he did
his best and that he had foresight to the future.
English Education in Korea
Young Sil Na
These days English is the most important media which
people in the world can use to communicate with each other. In
Korea, English is the criteria to recruit new employees. That's
one reason our country is terribly crazy about learning English.
Even children spend a lot of time learning English. As an
English teacher, I have faced a lot of challenges from our
society because there are a lot of excellent students who already
have been to English speaking countries to study English. As
for me, I didn't have many chances to practice speaking English
or to meet English-speaking foreigners. Sometimes, I felt
embarrassed and nervous whenever I spoke English in my
classroom. I really wanted to be a fluent English speaker.
That's why I joined this program. Moreover, the ELI focuses on
improving our English fluency. I think after teachers can be
confident speaking English, they can guide their students
correctly and effectively in order to let students be more
interested in English. Also, we are the role models for our
students. They'll follow us. We should do out best to inspire
our students to study English pleasantly and with interest.
Thanks to ELI instructors' inspiration, I can be more confident
speaking English. They helped me have great teaching lessons
and interesting methodologies I can teach my students. Thanks
It All Started With a Mouse
"It all started with a mouse." That statement is Walt
Disney's, which made me appreciate his remarkable creativity
and imagination. Such concepts are not abstract notions
anymore but have been realized as the reality in his kingdom
and in the US. This is one of the driving forces of the US.
Despite its relatively short historical heritage and
complicated mixture of ethnicities, the US has established a
strong foundation for its future history and coordinated the
solidarity between people in the name of the United States of
America. Such an exceptional success, I think, stems from the
creativity and imagination that Walt Disney has inspired in the
next generation. I found potentials and real power of this
country in the faces of parents and their children at Disney
World. The parents were planting possibility in their children's
A Typical Day in a Korean English Class
Eun Hwa Kim (Kelly)
I'm a high school teacher. I have four regular and one
more extra morning class today. Fortunately, I was able to be
in time for the extra morning class starting at 7:50 A.M. Right
after that, I had to be in a faculty meeting to be informed of the
things we have to do this week because it's Monday. Now, it's
the 3rd regular period. I'm in class. I have 35 students in this
class including 24 boys and 11 girls. They almost always take a
class together so they look very friendly with each other. I can
see what had happened between some students. Their faces just
show it. I say hello to them in Korean very informally but the
next step is different. The captain of the class stands up to
salute me, a teacher. They all together say Good morning
ma'am." I'm teaching a new course called English Conversation
which just started last year.
Before this course, we only had one regular English
course. Now we have another course in English. The purpose
of this new English course is to let students have chances to
improve their ability to communicate in English. So I tell some
of my students to come to the front and do a role play after
practicing time. They do it half voluntarily and half against
their will. They have no choice because I include this activity
in assessment. The rest of the students are busy practicing,
pretending to pay attention to the player in front. . Another
tough day is passing by.
What Is a Leader?
Many people want to be a leader. Their purpose of
being a leader is sometimes not good. That is, by becoming a
leader, people want to enjoy the feeling of being top among
other people. So, they misuse their power and position. Such a
leader has a bad influence on our community.
On the contrary, a leader who tries to devote himself to
the public good, understand others, and appreciate everything
around the community, has a good influence on our society.
Think about our history. By whom was our society
filled with love and peace? Our world has been happy by those
leaders who walked the path hard chosen--Ghandi, Mother
ELI Student Voices 11
What I Have Learned In My Lifetime.
I'm a Korean. I grew up in a conservative family. It's
natural to live with parents until we get married, whatever
his/her age is.
My life's challenge has been to get out of my mom's
hand. Ever since I was a young kid, my mom had dealt with
every problem I had or determined what I should do and
When I was seven years old, I would play with a friend
who lived in a house just in front of ours. He was the closest
friend of mine. One day, tragically, he was run over by a
gigantic truck while he was riding a bike. My mom witnessed
that bloody event. After that day, she banned me from riding a
bicycle. Even now, at the age of 33, I'm not accustomed to
When I entered middle school, my mom bossed me
around about everything relating to schoolwork and friends I
made. I would pretend to behave myself before her, but when I
could get out of her sight, I did whatever I wanted. I did things
which never could be imagined by my mom about her son.
My university life was calm and quiet itself. At that
time, I started getting in touch with my feeling. Actually, it was
too late for a man to think about himself at the university age.
Anyhow, I found myself indecisive and timid. I determined to
I went out into the real world to dramatically change
myself. I had several part time jobs, and left my mom's house.
She hit the ceiling and even cried. However, the desire to be
independent was so strong that nobody could block me.
I did many things as jobs, such as waiter, laborer,
tutor, and so on, and I could save a pretty good amount of
money. With that money, I flew to Canada. Of course, my
mom didn't want me to go to another country by myself, but I
just did. I spent eight months travelling and studying in
When I came back to my home, I could get to know,
not that I changed myself, but that my mom changed.
Eventually, she started seeing me as a man, as an adult. Now,
in many ways, she is dependent on me.
When you want to change somebody else, change
yourself first! That is "What I have learned in my lifetime."
Thanks from the Editor
Thank you students for allowing us to share your writing. I
hope you enjoy reading your fellow students' essays. Also
thanks to Noreen Baker and the HUB for arranging the gift
certificates, to Todd Allen for publicizing this issue of Student
Voices, to the Reading/Writing instructors for supporting their
students in their writing, and to Traci Bocock, Megan Forbes,
Barbara Hess Earp, and Valentina Komaniecka for reading and
evaluating the entries.
Thanks everyone! Steve Flocks
English Language Institute
PO Box 117051
315 Norman Hall
Gainesville, FL 32611-7051, USA
Phone: (352) 392-3354
Fax: (352) 392-3744
ELI Student Voices 12