Todd: So Jeyong, this is very interesting, you were a student in America for a long period of time. When did you study in America?
Jeyong: When? Elementary school, third, yeah.
Todd: Ah, so were you just there for one year?
Jeyong: No, I was there for five years.
Todd: Five years!
Jeyong: Until 8th grade.
Todd: Wow! So you were in America from the 3rd grade to the 8th grade?
Todd: OK and you were also a student in China?
Todd: And when did you study in China?
Jeyong: That'd be for my high school years.
Todd: Wow, for three years.
Jeyong: For two years.
Todd: Two years. Wow. Can you think of any differences in the school life between China and the U.S.?
Jeyong: The school life. The friends were all very nice to me, both in America and China, but one thing I had a problem is I went to America with not even knowing the alphabet so it was very hard for me to keep up with the English level, together with the Americans at school, so in the beginning I would fail all my tests and not even able to get a good grade in any English courses, only in math would I ... I got A-plus, but other than that, I was horrible but in China, before I went to China, I learned Chinese for four months, so that actually helped me a lot, so I was able to catch up with the Chinese language pretty quickly.
Todd: Now you are completely fluent in English. Are you completely fluent in Chinese?
Jeyong: Now? I can have a conversation fairly with Chinese friends.
Todd: Wow! Do you ever dream in Chinese or English?
Jeyong: That never happened to me.
Todd: Ah, still in Korean.
Jeyong: Still in Korean and a little bit of English.
Todd: OK, how about the daily routine at the schools? Are there any differences between a day at school in America and a day of school in China?
Jeyong: Well for America, I went with my family, so it would be a day school for me, and I would go to school at 8 o'clock in the morning, have lunch at school and come back home at 3:15, around that time, but in China I was in a dormitory, so I would wake up, I was forced to wake up at 6:30 in the morning, get ready, have breakfast and go to class at maybe 8:30, and then have lunch, and I was out of school at 9 o'clock.
Todd: At night?
Todd: Whoa! That's a long day.
Jeyong: Long day. I had to study a lot in China.
Todd: Well, it sounds like a really good experience. You know that you were able to do both. You're very fortunate.
Jeyong: Yes, I feel that way too.
I went to America with not even knowing the alphabet.
The words 'not even' are used to highlight the absence of something. Notice the following:
- No one was in the office, not even the security guard.
- I cannot cook at all, not even easy things like pasta.
keep up with
It was very hard for me to keep up with the English.
If people can 'keep up with' something, they can do it at the same pace or stay current. Notice the following:
- I went running with my friend, but I could not keep up with her.
- It is hard to keep up with all the changes in technology.
other than that
I got A-plus, but other than that, I was horrible but in China
Here, the phrase 'other than that' means 'besides that' and shows that there are no other examples. Notice the following:
- I can play soccer, but other than that I am not good at sports.
- She knows Bill, but other than that she does not know anyone here.
I was able to catch up with the Chinese language pretty quickly.
If people need to catch up to something, they need to put in extra work or make up past activity, such as work or payments. Notice the following:
- I was behind in my work, but I am almost caught up.
- I was late with my rent by three months, but I finally caught up.
Now you are completely fluent in English.
When language learners are completely fluent, they speak a language at a very high level. Notice the following:
- My sister is completely fluent in Spanish.
- ELLLO has helped many students become completely fluent in English.
catch • completely