Being International

As per tradition, we’re bringing the perspectives of our diverse set of team members–writers, editors, artists, and more–to tackle a key question with this end-of-semester post. This time, we ask, What does being international mean to you? Below are the responses.

Lily Zhao ’18: Being international means constantly negotiating internally between being at home everywhere and being at home nowhere. Being international is about seeing the uncertainty and puzzlement in someone’s eyes when their expectations fail to encapsulate who you are, and knowing how to be understanding of that. Being international is about coming to terms with both the advantages and the disadvantages of your unique identity, and the constant process of learning to leverage your global perspective to help you achieve your goals.

Layla Abdulla ’19: Being international is about always trying to blend different perspectives, experiences, cultures and ideologies into something that is so uniquely your own. It’s about having an identity that is fluid yet distinctive.

Yifei Wu ’19: Being international means being able to relate to more diverse backgrounds and cultures.

Edwin Jeng ’18: Being international is having a social, cultural, and political identity that crosses national boundaries. It’s a flexible term that implies flexibility, diverse perspectives, and hopefully understanding.

Devika Girish ’17: For me, being “international” doesn’t just have to do with your passport, your birthplace, your hometown, your language. It simply means being an Other—a feeling and status that changes from situation to situation. And being an Other means learning to live with difference—both in its oppressive forms, and in its most liberating forms. It teaches you to both empathize and to demand empathy, which is a skill that I think is invaluable in today’s political climate.

Anisha Dias Bandaranaike ’17: To me, being international means having more than one place you can call home.

Serene Akkawi ’19: It means being an amalgamation: that’s pretty awesome.

Daniel Murage ’17: It means being adaptable and accepting of different viewpoints.

Shaili Jha ’19: Being international means finding a part of yourself and expanding the definition of home beyond geographical boundaries

Grace Yoon ‘17.5: Somewhere in between, limbo. Being adaptive, immersing in and appreciating new setting while conscious of its ephemerality that makes the experience not quite whole or complete. It can distill some aching lonesomeness, but also liberation and thrill upon discovering other wanderers like you.

Calista Shang ’20: Being international means being able to think and act in a way that defies cultural boundaries.