You look around campus and you can witness in the students what ethnic and cultural diversity looks like. Amongst the many home students are many international students from all over the world, some from countries you could hardly imagine visiting. Speaking with them you hear stories about exotic cultures, languages, lifestyles, and more. But wait, would you possibly consider being one yourself? What I can share is my story of constant travelling and studying abroad in different parts of the world, and the many things I gained from the experience. Becoming more intellectual was one such benefit. Another was comprehending the meaning of ‘diversity’ beyond its textbook definition. I have learned how blissful it is to live among people with different backgrounds and ideologies, from which you consequentially grow into a more mature person, gaining unique perspectives whilst learning heartily what it means to coexist.
I am from Seoul, South Korea. In Korea, more than half of the population speak the same language, and share the same history and ethnic background. Because I lived in such a homogeneous nation what truly altered of my life was learning English from a young age. Adopting a foreign language opened a whole new world of history, politics, and society from the opposite side of the globe. Eventually I realised I had to be there.
The first step of living up to my dream was my student exchange experience in Las Vegas. In the middle of the Nevadan desert I studied at an American middle school, staying with your average American family for five months.. I was no longer a regular South Korean kid who dreamt a regular life path in her home country, but someone who would always aspire to take chances in foreign worlds. I was twelve, and more was to come.
After returning back home and travelling now and then, I decided to pursue higher education abroad, this time in England. After two years of my A-Level studies in Brighton, I am now a student at University of Kent studying Social Policy. Unlike my previous experience in the US, it is high-level university education that is the challenge. Everything from learning materials and teaching methods to the style of examination was different. Adapting to such changes was definitely demanding. But as I went through my course, it is not only the depth of my knowledge which has grown, but I realise that I have become someone who can combine my knowledge of one world to another. And once again, there was nothing more meaningful than encountering greater diversity on a university campus; meeting fellow students and professors from quite literally all over the world. As I try to condense my life’s chronology of roaming the globe, there is one thing I can say without hesitation; if you are planning of studying or living abroad at some point, it is two-hundred percent worth giving a shot.