While I probably resemble a twenty something, east coast, American young male, I definitely do not feel like one, not having lived there since I was very young. When I was 6 years old, my parents moved to Kathmandu, Nepal for work, and I spent every year of my life there until coming to Lewis & Clark, visiting the States only once a year to spend time with various family members scattered across the country.
In Nepal I frequently participated in school sponsored events (sports, music, Model United Nations) that took me to places such as India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and even as far as Egypt and Russia. Before college, I had never dressed up for halloween to go trick or treating, or lit fireworks on the 4th of July; instead, I celebrated Holi, the Hindu festival of throwing water and color, and surrounded my house with thousands of small, butter wax candles to attract the goddess Laxmi to come inside and bring wealth and happiness to our family. You can imagine the culture shock I experienced at being back in my own country.
Looking back on my formative years––for they did in fact play an important role in shaping who I am today––I feel very blessed to have had such a culturally rich and rewarding childhood. I would say that I was rather nervous to finally be attending school in my own country, but upon coming to Lewis & Clark I soon learned that I need not have been. The community here is incredibly welcoming and the students are acutely self-aware of their place in Portland, America and the world. The international student body is thoughtful and engaged, and hold weekly meetings where students can meet each other and discuss anything from current world events to the best Thai restaurants in Portland.
I am a Rhetoric & Media Studies major and an Environmental Studies minor, and I hope that this combination of fields can help bring me back overseas, to work in a new country and experience what it feels to be a Third Culture Adult.