Irada Yeap ’14
When I was a little girl, I was lucky enough to spend my summer vacations in Canada with my older siblings, while I attended school in Thailand where my parents lived. This arrangement has made me realize that distance is not a factor when it comes to the love and respect we have for our family.
Throughout my childhood, I was given the opportunity to embrace the English language along with a traditional Thai education. However, that path changed when my father plucked me out of Thai school and put me through international schools. My new international school was so different from my previous Thai school, I pretty much had to say goodbye to learning Thai in school and focus intensely on mastering English. Throughout my elementary and middle school, I was forbidden to speak Thai during school, met kids from around the world, was constantly immersed in English. This experience gave me the desire to move to Canada. Having experienced Canada in small increments at a time, I knew of a second potential home, but never really thought about what it means to move to a new country.
When I finally moved, the transition changed my life completely. Even though I grew up learning English, integrating into a North American society was a difficult part of my life. The first years in Canada, I struggled to balance new values, while respecting old ones that I grew up with. But after some time and with the support of my family and new friends, I could finally call Vancouver my home. The city’s diversity is welcoming to new immigrants in that it provides people from different countries to come together and find common ground in their new environment. I feel blessed to have gotten the opportunity to experience two very different cultures and that this has shaped who I am today.
Before my senior year, I knew that I had to leave Vancouver and explore a different environment. Lewis & Clark College has presented numerous life changing challenges for me to overcome. Not only are these obstacles school-related, but also new cultural obstacles for me. The people around me have been so inspirational that I am glad to have chosen a liberal arts education and an encouraging environment. This year, I am an active member of ISLC (International Students at Lewis & Clark), and I believe that I can make a difference in contributing to Lewis & Clark College in a positive manner. I hope that pursuing Psychology & International Affairs will not only help me gain in-depth knowledge of both fields, but form woven connections between the two disciplines. The experience has been challenging, yet enriching so far and I hope I can give back to such a wonderful community.