I’m a Chinese and Hispanic female who grew up in Hawaii. If there is any one thing I can say to a minority student who is nervous studying abroad: This will be the best experience of your life. Everyone is so accepting. If your minority is what’s holding you back, don’t let it! But to help you feel better, I have 5 more tips for you below!
- Keep your roots
It can be hard to keep your roots when you’re busy abroad and don’t have your parents instilling tradition into you every Sunday evening. One way I liked reminding myself of who I am was preparing traditional foods. It made me feel like even though I was a minority in a foreign country, I was still me. Plus, it helped with the homesickness because it felt like a little piece of home!
- Grow as much as you can
One of the best reasons to study abroad is to be able to expand your knowledge, test your beliefs, and become a better person. Every race, religion, and person has something uniquely amazing that they are so willing to share—if you are willing to listen. It’s important to keep to your roots like I said in my first tip, but remember that everyone knows something that you don’t. So just remember to keep an open mind, and be open to new experiences. The Maori is a very powerful culture that I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know. They have such incredible stories and beliefs. Keep an ear open for them.
- Being a minority makes you special
Guess what? Being a minority is a good thing. It means you have interesting stories to tell and tasty dishes to share. It’s something to be proud of. Paraphrasing from Emma Stone– your diversity is what makes you great. Be willing to share important aspects of your life that played a big part of who you are today. Be willing to share!
- Join groups and clubs
This can be a group or club that is specific to what makes you a minority. New Zealand schools have all of them! Or it can be a general group. I joined Got To Get Out, where I have met the most inspiring people of all cultures and races.
- Being a minority doesn’t define you.
Take a deep breath! We are all humans who have dreams, goals, and life experiences. Race, religion, and sexual orientation are amazing parts of who we are, but it isn’t everything. Kindness, empathy, and friendliness are much more important than a label that society sticks onto you. Be proud of every characteristic that makes you, YOU.
Your Discovery. Our People… The World Awaits.