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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bryn Mawr chapter.

I moved to the states from South Korea at a fairly young age of my life with the “American Dream.” At first, my identity was crystal clear – a complete foreigner. Was I uncomfortable then? Of course. I hated that I didn’t fit in. I didn’t know the TV shows that my friends watched, and I didn’t understand the jokes. 

Then, as the years went by, roughly around high school, I became very much an American. I mean, I’m still unsure of what this word means. It’s pretty abstract. But I just kind of felt like I fit in here more so than back in Korea. At this point, I was questioning, “Where’s home for me?”

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Cameron Smith / Her Campus

I couldn’t answer. Knowing that legally I’m called a Nonresident Alien in America, I had no doubt that Korea should be my home. But I felt too distant, and I was more confused than ever. I thought becoming more like an American would help me fit in, but I wasn’t comfortable.

As I’ve come to Bryn Mawr and have met so many people from so many states, countries and different backgrounds, I found out why I was conflicted about who I was. Back then, I was self conscious of where I’m from because it’s different and unique. I wasn’t able to embrace my Korean-ness because I was too accustomed to consciously and subconsciously assimilating in America.  The answer, or maybe a step closer to it, that I’ve reached is acceptance: acceptance of your own identity whether it is Korean, Mexican-American, New Yorker, or a bunch of mixes. My identity (as of now) is Korean and American. But who knows, it might change. That’s ok. I’ll accept all of my beautiful, diverse human experiences that have shaped who I am.

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Aaron Burden

Yeri Lee

Bryn Mawr '23

I'm an international student studying philosophy and sociology from Korea at Bryn Mawr College. I listen to K-hiphop the most (but also enjoy Frank Sinatra, Queen, etc). Talk to me all day about current events, philosophy, and history!