Monday, April 29, 2013

I really ought to consider myself fortunate for being able to unload everything in my mind after SUCH a long time… but the jet-lagged, sleep-deprived, hungry, and disoriented whatsherface9 is far from humble. So I consider my readers lucky to be able to read my thoughts after such a long time ;) 

So what in tarnation am I going to complain about today? Perhaps the reactions to my existence. To be honest, I never have any filters, so here is the pure harsh truth that I mentally dissect a billion times every day.

I am an international student. And by international, I don't mean that I am the daughter of some rich businessman who decided to study abroad. My parents are upper-middle-class diplomats who just barely finished bachelor's degrees and passed exams to enter into the world of international civil services. My parents grew up as one of five siblings in homes with annual incomes of less than $3000. My parents are the epitome of hard work. Yes, there are times when I take my current present for granted. Forget where my parents started, and what they do to ensure that I have a college education. But there are other times when  people try to fit me into the stereotype of international student. And those are times when I realize that I can never forget my roots.

Stereotype number 1: All international students are rich and spoiled.

THIS IS A LIE. Yes, I have gone to international schools my whole life. Yes, I do travel the world. Do we pay for any of it? NO. My parents work for embassies and NGOs! Everybody who is associated with an embassy or NGO knows that these organizations and governments are required to pay for international schools and flight tickets to back home. Embassies do NOT pay for university education. And this is why I absolutely hate it when people think I am at the university I am at because my parents paid for it. Nobody stops to think that because my parents cannot pay so many thousands of dollars per year for me to get a college education, I maybe worked my behind off my entire life to get the best grades at my school. Maybe I am only there because of scholarships? No, this does not occur to anyone. Just because I have had the opportunity to experience life from a variety of perspectives does not mean I am this highly paid exotic specimen who is one step away from being royal family at an outlandish nation (or nations). I am just someone whose whole purpose in life is not to sit at a coffee shop with tumblr and twitter open on their iPads, dressed all pretty, with a mask of makeup caked onto what they call their faces. My whole purpose in life is to follow in the footsteps of my parents and climb that ladder even higher.

Stereotype number 2: Just because somebody lived in another country, they are an international student.

Hahahahahaha. The definition of an international student, in my opinion, is someone who has lived in MULTIPLE countries throughout their CHILDHOOD and ADOLESCENCE. Just because you are from country A and have lived in country B your whole life does not make you an international student - especially if country B and A are extremely similar in culture. You have not experienced life from a variety of perspectives - you have just looked from opposite ends of the same telescope. Throw in some more narrow-mindedness into that combination and you have become a walking time-bomb that counts down to the point in time when I will explode. Are you able to understand that just because someone is casual about sex is not a slut? Are you able to understand that the offspring of a black parent and a white parent will not be black, but mixed race? Are you ready to accept that through time there will be a multitude of people who do not take religion or belief seriously, who preach atheism, who are intolerant of others' ideas? Can you handle that? Can you get to know the persona beneath these superficial facades that scare away most people? If you cannot, then I do not consider you an international student. And don't you dare tell people that you are from so many different countries. You are from one and have lived in another. Case closed. Oh, and on a side note, if somebody at a university asks you, "are you domestic or international," and you are a permanent resident.. please say you are "domestic." Do not make any excuses. Do not say "I am a permanent resident but I am kind of international." Do you know anything about visa processes, student visas, multiple citizenship, international tuition fees, international money transfer, or any of the aspects of international student life? Do you even know what international postal services like FedEx and DHL are? No. 't not try to be one if you are not one. And who in hell doesn't know what FedEx is!?!? And you try to be international.

Stereotype number 3: International students are weirdos.

Oh really? Burn me at the stake for being too cocky, but I am one of the many people whose mere existence can convince others of what it is like to be educated in various manners. I speak a variety of languages, eat a variety of foods, call many places homes. Does that make me a weirdo? No. It makes you a narrow-minded imbecile. Accept it.

I am proud to be international. I will always be truly and completely international, no matter what. To those who cannot accept it, wallow in the knowledge that I have lived life to a deeper and more enriching extent than any of you have. And to those who cannot accept the fact that they are domestic, yes you can try to live life from a variety of perspectives. But that is your future and not your past. Do not try to twist words to turn your past into something that it was not. It is your tomorrow and not your yesterday that matters. They are interchangeable, identical. Your tomorrow defines your yesterday. Perhaps that is why, in Hindi, tomorrow and yesterday are symbolized by the same word: kal. 

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