Success holds the same meaning in any language

Kristin Hirai

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Candice Chen, 22, humanities major, has overcome being held back in school in order to accomplish her goals. Kristin Hirai/Staff Reporter

At a first glance, Candice Chen, humanities major, seems like the average CSUN student, just trying to get through classes day by day. However, upon meeting Chen it is apparent that she possesses an analytical frame of mind, intelligence beyond most 22 year olds, and a passion for learning.

“I actually really love school,” Chen said. “I always have.”

However, Chen’s educational road to CSUN has been bumpy one. Mixed with different educational systems in different continents and grade level displacement, Chen has let nothing to stop her in pursuing her scholastic ambitions.

After being born in the San Gabriel Valley and growing up in Arcadia, Chen lived a normal childhood. Growing up with two brothers, one younger and one older, Chen described being playfully picked on and often relied on her brothers for company.

Unfortunately, just a few days shy of finishing the seventh grade, Candice was pulled out of school and told that she and her family were moving to China due to her parents’ financial situation.

“We moved to Nanjing,” said Chen. “It was a very rural city. After growing up in Arcadia, I didn’t really like it there. It was too underdeveloped with no TV and no internet.”

After living in Nanjing for the next eight months and not enrolled in school, Chen described the experience as being “sort of a long vacation.” It was not long before Chen made a second move from Nanjing, China to Taichung, Taiwan.

“It was in Taiwan where we were enrolled in public school,” said Chen. “But unfortunately the American school system clashed with the Asian school system. I was supposed to be entering ninth grade here in the U.S., but I was enrolled in the seventh grade in Taiwan. Their middle school ranges from seventh to ninth grade.”

With the second move, possibly harder than the first move, Chen found it difficult to adjust to yet another new life.

“The initial year was very hard on me. I was young, very full of pride and unwillingness to assimilate,” Chen said. “But I think I came to the realization that I wouldn’t be returning to the states, so I adjusted and learned quickly.”

Chen soon excelled to the top of her class, and began to master the Taiwan language and customs. Having a knack for languages, Chen proudly admits that she is fluent in Chinese Mandarin, English, and Taiwanese, but can also read and understand basic German, Japanese, and Russian.

After building a life in Taichung for three and a half years, Chen’s parents finally reached financial stability, and moved their family yet again, back to Arcadia.

Despite feelings of joy for returning home, feelings of frustration also emerged. After returning at the age of 17, Chen realized once again the difficulty of the conflicting educational systems. It was then that Chen found an alternate option.

“I went to an adult school once I returned to California,” said Chen. “I studied for about three months and then received my GED.”

After achieving her GED, Chen then enrolled at Pasadena City College and eventually transferred to CSUN.

Although it has been a long process, Chen has no regrets.

“The past is important in a way in which it shapes who I am today, yet does not dictate my future,” said Chen. “I make my own future.”