Spring 2005
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TCU Magazine "Purpectives"


I am from everywhere. I am from nowhere.

By Laura Vailiard '05

While some try to define what it means to belong to the global community, I struggle to live as a global citizen.

Most people can readily answer where they are from. Yet that is my most dreaded question.

I was born in Cordoba, Argentina, but shortly afterward my parents moved to Buenos Aires and I lived there until I was 12. I claimed to be Cordobesa, but if asked to describe my hometown I would go mute as I did not know anything about it.

At age 12 my family was transferred to Maracaibo, Venezuela. When I arrived it was easy to answer where I was from: Argentina, of course.

However, I soon met other Argentineans and begun the struggle to explain where I was from once again.

After three and a half years of living in Maracaibo, my family was transferred to Caracas, Venezuela.

By then I had assimilated to the Venezuelan culture and people could not understand how I could claim to be Argentinean, since I did not speak, act or dress as one.

But I could not claim to be Venezuelan because I didn't quite speak or act like them either.

I was the product of Argentinean and Venezuelan culture. I could claim to have been influenced by one, but I could not hide the influence the other culture had had on me. I didn't know where I was from.

After high school I came to Fort Worth, to TCU, where I continued to struggle to define where I was from.

When I arrived to the United States I still had difficulty answering where I was from, and I struggled to define myself, which was something new to me.

I was white. I knew that. I am from Latin America, so I knew I was Latin too. However, I had to classify myself as either white or Latin. In the United States I could not be both.

I was also having trouble choosing a major. After two years in college I was a sophomore with junior standing. My time was up and I needed to decide.

I talked to people and researched different career options and I chose to study International Communications.

International Communications students are encouraged to study abroad to learn about a different culture and gain experience for their major.

At that point I remembered that even though I was Argentinean, I also held an Italian passport. So I decided to go to Italy to learn more about my roots.

I understood that living in Italy could make it even more difficult to explain to people where I was from, but I went anyway hoping to escape the continuous struggle of trying to define my identity and my nationality.

Even though I was not able to escape my struggle in Italy, learning about my heritage helped me see my diverse background as an advantage.

I realized that even though I still struggle to explain where I am from, I can make an instant connection with people from different countries.

I am from nowhere. I am from everywhere. I am a global citizen who now understands her struggle is a blessing not a burden.

Laura will graduate in May with a double major in international communications and psychology. She plans to attend graduate school for a master’s in communication.

Comment at tcumagazine@tcu.edu.