When I got to Canada at the age of 7 I was enrolled into the ESL (English as a second language) program due to my prior schooling and general communication taking place in mainly non-English speaking countries.
Being in the ESL program was brutal. It was hard to convey my ideas and communicate with others. Hell, I didn't even know the social meaning of raising your middle finger -- didn't help me out when I dumbfoundedly waved it at a teacher after being pushed to do so by some other kids back then. They would laugh at my accent, poor grammar, etc. Kids can be awfully mean I learned. And the funny thing is I thought these people were my friends back then, considering that they were the closest thing I had to friends as I moved around Canada. Went to 3 different schools over the span of grade 1 to grade 6.
Anyway, it affected me in my ability and willingness to share my ideas. It made me afraid to mispronounce words, read poorly out loud, etc.
I was able to change course for the better thanks to tons of television and music actually, mainly during high school. My accent really disappeared without my noticing as I continued to listen to, say, RHCP, Queen, etc, and I began giving no fucks and molded my character after House. Obviously back in high school I much preferred to be perceived as an asshole rather than a quiet kid. I started becoming much of an asshole really as I replaced my timidness with audacity -- one thing I'm glad of is that I was rather impartially douchey in that I never picked on one person or anything like that, I'd just be quick to give a witty remark at others' expenses.
I obviously outgrew that phase when I began realizing how lonesome House really was, and the fact that he could only get away with that shit because he was a genius. Being a douche isn't nice. Being a douche unaccompanied by great skill in whatever is unacceptable, that's why Tony Stark, House, Michael Jordan can get away with being dicks, they're legends.
So today, after maturing, I've grown from timid to unsympathetic audacity to my current person, which I'd like to describe as simply curious. I try to listen as much as I can these days. Let others do the talking. I noticed in the 'audacity' days that I did over 70% of the talking. Today I try to work on my person and self improve but I'm still assertive (call it the take-away from the aggressive high school days) enough to stand up for myself. But I digress.
BTW One thing I've noticed is how brutal American bullying is. My story doesn't really compare. Canadian kids are angels compared to the shit I've heard about American schools, so I guess I lucked out coming to Canada.