Hey, I need as much feedback as possible on this essay, because I've been struggling with it for awhile now and I'm quite nervous about this one in particular. Also, if anyone has good suggestions for the title, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!
Racism. Violence. Crime. AIDS. Some called me crazy for even considering it, but after spending many late-night hours looking up all sorts of information I could find over the internet and consulting friends who had been before, I made my decision. Frankly, I knew deep down that my mind had already been made up long ago and that nobody's opinion would change it. Yes. I was going to move to South Africa.
The stereotypes. I had heard them all. Why I was still so keen on moving to a country that I'd never been to before and moreover only heard negative things about, I have no idea. Growing up as a third culture kid, I've never really been able to identify with the idea of "home". Although some may resent the label, I have embraced the adventure and enjoyed every single moment of it. Being trilingual in english, french, and the Malian dialect Bambara, having a greater understanding of other cultures and enjoying the privilege of coming into contact with people from countries I would have otherwise never heard of have all been a part of my adventure. My eyes have been opened to the world of answering to the standard puzzled looks on people's faces when they see my Canadian passport, explaining to them why I have a Ghanaian accent and if they haven't yet been overwhelmed by their confusion, why I refer Lesotho as "home".
I developed a chameleon-like personality during the most part of my childhood, adapting to the different settings I was put in. Whether it was cooking with my gazillion cousins, or so I was told they were,at my grandfather's house in Bamako or trying to communicate in the limited Sotho that I know with the locals of Lesotho, I adapted.
Perhaps I knew why I decided to move to South Africa after all. Why take the risk of not taking a risk? I had nothing to lose. From the moment my plane landed in Johannesburg, I knew I had made the right decision. Although my experiences growing up and my love for interacting with different cultures may have aided my transition into yet another new culture, my last year of high school spent in South Africa was comparable to nothing I had ever been exposed to before. I discovered an entire new world here. The abundance friendships, knowledge, relationships and wealth that I have been exposed to have taught me to be less needy and to go for the things I want because I believe I can get them. I bear a vivid memory of the moment I entered what was going to be my dorm room for the next year-being the "new girl" for the hundredth time, not knowing anybody. This time, I didn't have my family to run back to. I was on my own. The only choice I had was to stomach my fears and simply, talk. Who knew I'd be leaving South Africa knowing it founded some of my strongest friendships and my greatest eye-openers?
Yes, deciding to spend my last year of high school in yet another foreign country was one of the best risks I've ever taken. I cannot envisage the experiences I would have missed out on otherwise. Minor obstacles such as the significantly different school system I had to switch into were undoubtedly made up for by the opportunities I was presented with. So go ahead, tell me all the stereotypes you can think of. I'll tell you to take a risk and find out for yourself. You're in for a surprise.