This winter break, I had the privilege to travel to South Korea for two weeks. It was my first time traveling internationally alone and my two weeks abroad has redefined education for me. I booked the tickets back in September and debated over traveling for months. I was wondering if it was worth the time, money, and effort to travel to Korea, especially since I was traveling by myself. It has been six years since I last visited Korea and it was nerve racking to think about exploring a foreign country without the help of others. I worked throughout the summer before my freshman year and saved up enough money to book my tickets. I kept my eyes on ticket prices and snatched up the cheapest tickets possible. I spent weeks practicing Korean with my parents and went over how to travel by subway and bus routes. I also practiced simple Korean phrases that are useful in any situation, and gathered up gifts for my relatives. Before I knew it, it was time to leave.
Cornell University is prized as being the most diverse institution in the Ivy League, with 46 percent of undergraduates identifying as minorities and 11 percent as international students. Students come from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds and often bring customs and traditions from home. The diversity of the student body brings with it a diverse palette. Cornell Dining, consistently ranked in the top ten dining programs in the country, prides itself on being able to meet the dietary needs of their students by serving diverse cuisine and accommodating various restrictions. The menus at dining halls frequently feature foods from a variety of cultures.
This past Saturday night, during homecoming weekend, my friends and I were going down to the commons to get some food. Two of us had been studying for a prelim we had on Monday, so we were pretty tired. I had actually forgotten that it was homecoming weekend due to my own amount of stress and other reasons that made me not want to actively participate in this weekend’s festivities. A big reminder I had was when my friends and I saw a group of people in the distance, stumbling and talking very loudly. When we got closer, I could see that the entire group was white and one of them, was wearing a sombrero.
I started straightening my own hair when I was in the seventh grade. Before then, I would ask my mother to do it for me. We started when I was just six, sitting cross-legged on our out-of-place Tabriz rugs in our quaint little Boise home. My mother would plug in a thick, two-inch ironing wand. While we waited for it to warm, she would pull my hair out from its elastic prison and begin to torture away its tangles.