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.
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