I am Jasmine Jack, currently studying at North Carolina State University.
My experience is a little different than most people on this site. Even though I did not study abroad during my college experience, I was given the opportunity to live overseas in Singapore as a child (from 2001 – 2008). During these years, I was able to travel to many countries. These countries included Thailand, Vietnam, China, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Laos, South Africa, and many more.
While traveling, each country taught me something different about its culture and lifestyle. While in South Africa, I was able to connect with my personal roots by visiting the jail Nelson Mandela was held in for 27 years. While in Thailand (which is by far my favorite place in the world), I was able to engulf myself in the rich culture, flavorful food, and friendly people. While in China, I was able to see 2 of the 7 Wonders of The World, and was truly amazed by the skill and talent taken to create both the Great Wall of China and the Terracotta Soldiers. Each country has so much history and rich culture. Since I was so young at the time, I did not truly appreciate the countries I traveled to. For example, when I visited Cambodia at 13 years old, my parents told my two sisters and I that we were going to see Angkor Wat. As a 13-year-old child who only wanted to be on the beach, I was confused as to why we were being forced to look at temples all day. However, my parents explained that one day, I would appreciate the experiences and understand how fortunate I was. It wasn’t until years later that I fully grasped what they meant.
One of the best things about traveling besides learning and experiencing is the FOOD! Food everywhere is amazing, and I can probably remember my favorite place to eat in every country. I want to specifically state that the version of Thai food we get here in the United States does not compare to the actual Thai food you will get in Thailand. And this goes for every country you go to. I could go on and on about food! My home country, Singapore, was famous for many foods including Chili Crab.
Each country I visited taught me one important thing. Traveling is vital to the growth of an individual. Before I moved to Singapore, I only knew the United States. In fact, I could not even comprehend moving somewhere outside the United States. However, I still remember the moment I stepped out of the airport in Singapore and could feel the humid air touching my skin. Since that day, my love and desire to travel to new countries never stopped. I was lucky enough to grow up in such an environment that helped me become the open-minded person I am today. Traveling allowed me to accept things I would not have before, and made me more willing to to try new things.