An Interpretation on Being International

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An Interpretation on Being International

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“Where are you from?”

We often find ourselves answering this multifaceted question. The truth is embedded in a variety of other questions. 

“Where I was born? The passports I have? Where I live? Where I feel I’m from? Where I’ve lived the longest? Where my parents were born? Where my ancestors were born? Where my heart is?” 

The truth is that for most of us, the answers to these questions and very different, therefore leaving only one broad response to this aggravatingly confusing query. 

“I’m international.”

I have experienced living in a couple different countries, but I have met both people who have lived in several nations, and others who have lived confined to the borders of their motherland. This has made me see a more intricate version of the traditional definition of “international,” which simply means having been, or being in more than one nation. 

International, to me, can mean awareness. This is not only caused by the awareness of the situations in the different nations I lived in. Having encountered individuals who have experienced the multidimensionality of living abroad to a higher degree than I have has made aware of situations in countries where my acquaintances have lived. Being part of the international community means having windows into other worlds.

I would define myself as American because I have lived in the United States for the longest time, and I have formed a bond with people and places I have run into. I lived in New York almost my entire life, and although it is described as a “melting pot” of different nationalities, it is not truly international. The combination of different origins just secures the patriotic and nationalistically conservative views that are implanted into young Americans. In the US, I grew up learning about the greatness and freedom of America, which is why there is a constant flow of immigration. Ironically, the more immigrants, the less international New York became. Others wanting to live in the United States and become Americans just reassured the strong conception of America’s power, eminence, and allure in the minds of New Yorkers. The world around me and I were deceived by an illusion of entitlement and superiority over other nationalities. 

I discovered the beauty of the international world in this country, usually not known for being international. Although many Swiss people are privileged compared to people of other nations, the innate American sense of ascendancy over others is not prominent here. Switzerland is not dependent on immigration or control of different nations to succeed and feel powerful. An international community in a place like Switzerland was ideal to discover the meaning of being international. Switzerland doesn’t change who we are or how we are treated — it is very neutral. Here I was able to see into the worlds of the people around me, which is what made me conscious of a much larger portion of the Earth than I was ever able to experience in New York. Just by being integrated in the ISZL community allowed me to have more personal connections and a greater accurate awareness of cultures, nations, or entire continents I have never visited.


The elaborate definition of being international extends remarkably past having been in more than one nation. Internationality is a high state of world awareness and an openness to the dissimilarity of people. This can be achieved by not only living in several different countries, but by the encounter of and engagement with other global people and their accounts of worldly experiences. 

Do you consider yourself as being international? 

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