So many people have asked me this question. Why not Japan? Why not London? Why not Thailand? Why India out of all the countries in the world? I simply answer with: Why not India?
I believe people are so quick to judge others before even trying to get to know it. I don’t want to just stand afar and judge. I want to understand it, or at least attempt to understand it. This is why I want to go to India. India is a big country and there are many assumptions. I want to go there and find out for myself how it is really like. The media has its interpretation of what India is like; I want to define it myself.
The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about India is Aamir Khan, then Shahruk Khan, then Rani, Preity, Aishwarya, and Kajol. Then I see the Taj Mahal and Gandhi and the millions of people that call India their home. I see the mountains, the polluted streets, the gold rice fields, the cows, the temples, the saris, and the many colors of India.
I am 19 years old. I feel so young and curious about this world. There is still so much to learn about this world. I have to catch up on the history that was created before I came to existence. I met a woman once and these words butterflied out of her mouth: “If you feel that you’ve learned everything there is to learn in this world then you must be dead. There is always something out there that we do not know about.”
I’ve always been a curious child. Being a Hmong daughter I was discourages to be curious. Instead I was encouraged to be polite and obedient. Being obedient required sacrificing my freedom. I was supposed to be shelter; from a very young age Hmong daughters were trained to be wife-material. But my single mother gave me wings to soar the world when she decided to immigrate to the U.S. in 1995 without any male escort. (In the Hmong community a woman without a man is worthless.) She didn’t bring me to the U.S., the land of opportunities, to be oppressed like her. She brought me to stand on her shoulders to see the world she’d never saw. My mom is the core backbone as to why I want to see this big world. Through my eyes she will get to see a world she could only dream of.
I’ve always had a desire to explore and see this big world we call Earth. As a little girl growing up in the projects of St. Paul, Minnesota I’ve always wondered what sort of world existed beyond my filthy walls. I dreamt big dreams. When I would share these dreams to my relatives, they would put me down and tell me to stick to the norms in the Hmong community – which was to get married and start a life. To me getting married equated death; how can I start a life when I see marriage as death? Naturally, I rebelled against the conventional norm. The old mentality held the entire Hmong community back. How can they say that dreaming of traveling this world is bad when they’ve never experienced it?
I’m willing to go out there into a foreign world and challenge my limits. I believe there is a lot to gain from India and anywhere else in the world. What’s stopping me from studying abroad – twice? When I used to lay on my bed and dream, I dreamt big. Now that I’m able to physically achieve those dreams I will take advantage of it. St. Ben’s is the perfect place and support for me. This is the perfect time in my life to seek answers. Studying abroad will broaden my horizons, challenge me in ways I can’t even imagine and give me a global sense of awareness so I can better serve the world. I want to change my world before I have the right to change anyone else’s world.
Plus, “I’ve lived in this place and I know all these faces; each one is different but they’re always the same. They mean me no harm but it’s time that I face it, they’ll never allow me to change” (Rascal Flatts). I feel the need to change something about my lifestyle and India will definitely fit the change that I’m seeking.