By Rose Horng

Standing under the spotlight on stage, I felt embraced by the audience when they gave me a warm applause. I couldn’t believe I finally did it – delivering a public speech in English. I have been very shy since childhood, so I always feel nervous whenever I have to speak in public even when speaking in my native language – Chinese. If I have to speak in English publicly, my anxiety will inevitably get worse because I feel bad about my pronunciation and accent. As a result, I avoid every situation that I have to express my opinions in English. For example, when I submitted my paper to an international conference, I would choose to present my paper using a poster; while most researchers prefer oral presentation. There was once that I was chosen to give an oral presentation of my study in a conference, but I wrote to the conference secretary and asked to change it to a poster presentation. Isn’t it very funny and silly?

Since I have been troubled a lot by the fear of speaking in English publicly for a long time, I decided to overcome this obstacle when I moved to Austin last August. I took the oral communication class and attended the toastmaster clubs to practice public speaking. Finally, the opportunity for me to deliver a speech in English came this past February. On that day, I incidentally saw the flyer of the Listen to Your Mother show in the library, which was recruiting stories from local writers about motherhood. I still remember how excited I was at that moment because I had been willing to write a story to honor my stepmother, who is an extraordinary woman in my mind.

To my surprise, I was invited to attend the audit a few weeks after I submitted my story. During the audit, the committee told me they liked my story and the way I delivered it. Then I was informed that I was chosen to read my story in the show. However, when I received this notification, I felt very anxious and started to hesitate about if I should attend the show or withdraw my story. After struggling for several days, I finally decided to face this big challenge and began to prepare for the show.

I spent a lot of time reading my story and asked others to correct my pronunciation and accent. Finally, the show came on the eve of Mother’s Day. In spite of the fact that I was so nervous and anxious on the stage, I told myself that I did this to honor my stepmother, not for myself. I knew I could not speak as fluently and animatedly as other native speakers did, so I read my story slowly and sincerely. Fortunately, the audience loved my story. They kept smiling and even laughing, which made me relax and enjoy my own speaking, too. What a wonderful experience it was! I finally overcame my fear of delivering a public speech and feel more comfortable speaking in English. I believe, in the future, I will have the courage to present my research orally in conference.

Intercultural, Short Inspirational Story Rose Horng, a health-care worker and mother of two, came from Taiwan. She likes to read, write and travel. Her favorite quote is “Stay Hungry, Stay Humble.”

遊子吟   作者: 孟郊

Hymn of the Traveller by Meng Jiao









The thread in the good mother’s hand
Makes clothing for the wandering son’s back.
Before he goes, she stitches and stitches,
Fearing that he might delay and delay his return,
Who says the gratitude of the inch-long grass
Can repay the warmth of the spring sun?


(translated by Lau Tak Cheuk)

Rose Horng, a health-care worker and mother of two, came from Taiwan. She likes to read, write and travel. Her favorite quote is “Stay Hungry, Stay Humble.”

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