Angela Liu shares the experiences that helped her adjust to life in Boston.

February 1, 2015

by Angela Liu

My name is Angela and I grew up in China. Last January, I decided to resign from my job and move to Boston to stay together with my husband, who is studying in the MBA program at Sloan.   

During the first month after I moved here, we went on a road trip, and everything seemed perfect to me: beautiful sunshine, fresh air, healthy food and my lovely husband. “This is the ideal life I really want,” I thought. But this “perfect” life only lasted for one month.  

After the road trip, my husband started school and became busier and busier, and I also started my life in Boston.  Soon I found out that living here was totally another story.  It seemed that I had problems with everything: why was it so hard to book a doctor’s appointment? I had studied English for many years in China, why did I still struggle to read a restaurant menu? I began to miss my home country, my family, my friends and even my favorite clothing brand and restaurant.  

To help me relieve my loneliness, my husband brought me to hang out with his classmates whenever he had a chance.  I felt so uncomfortable because I couldn’t express myself well and I couldn’t understand them either. My husband comforted me and told me I should go out to practice and improve my English. But at that time, what I lacked was not only English skills, but also the confidence and courage to step out of my comfort zone. I didn’t want to embarrass myself any more, so I chose to stay at home and not to socialize.

One day, I received an email from the Spouses & Partners group about ESL classes. My husband encouraged me to sign up, and this class really became my turning point. I met Laura, a very inspiring English teacher with whom I still take private classes. I also knew many spouses who had the same experience as mine. I felt more comfortable spending time with them because I felt that I’d found a group of people who could really understand me and who were willing to listen to my concerns.  After taking more and more classes, my English improved a lot, and I became more confident. I began to proactively participate in different activities held by S&P, which in turn gave me more opportunities to meet new friends and practice English. I am so grateful that I joined S&P.

Learning English made me realize that it is a step-by-step process. I should not have put so much pressure on myself.  Instead, finding a more comfortable method could have worked better. But I am sure, hanging out and joining activities with spouses like us is a great first step for anyone who wants to practice English and live an easier life here.