2017 · All Letters

Dear International Students,

Internatoinal pic
Image by A Letter Per Person.
Dear International Students,
“International”. At first glance it seems entirely positive: a life full of travel, constantly meeting new people, and having friends wherever you go. But that’s not always true, is it?
You are not alone when you feel so homesick you’d rather Skype your family back home or your childhood friends who are a million miles away instead of going out. You are courageous for stepping out of your literal comfort zone. It is scary, it is trying, and it is difficult. But you did it. So take your time to be homesick. It’s lonely to feel like you belong where you are not but it is also uplifting to know you have a place so important that even across oceans, you know in your heart you belong.
But if by chance you feel like a tourist in the place you were homesick for, you are still not alone. It simply means you learned new lessons, tried different things, had unique experiences, and changed. You were away and that time added bits and pieces to who you are. It is heart breaking to feel you belong less to the place you called home but how healing it is to know you left a mark somewhere new. Your heart was rooted in one place and now it is rooted in two. Less of you belong at home and a little more elsewhere, but your entire belonging has not faltered. Like seedlings, pieces of your heart are being planted and growing to spread love a little further.
As you embrace your internationality, never let anyone make you feel inadequate. Whether you no longer speak your native language as well as you used to, or you aren’t as up to date with news back home, or your religion, race, or anything is different from the majority, remember all of that is absolutely okay. It is admirable and impressive to learn a new language and master it to the point you can live in a foreign-speaking country. It is smart and resourceful to be more up to date where you are. It is strong and courageous to stand for who you are and what you believe in, especially when people around you don’t understand it. It takes determination, strength of all measures, and bravery to be international. Never let anyone make you feel inadequate because not everyone can do what you are doing.
Most importantly, never forget you have the sacred chance to build and have more than one home: one where you came from, another where you’ve been, and now where you are. You may feel like you don’t have a home, like you belong to any one place but perhaps that is because you have and belong to multiple. Perhaps it is because the puzzle pieces of your heart are scattered across oceans, in countries, beyond cities, with people, and at places you’ve yet to see. Perhaps it is because you belong everywhere.
A Letter Per Person
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