I believe that one cannot accept how important his or her family is until after they are parted. Even though a family is the closest personal part of one’s life, there are many occasions that one doesn’t notice it.
Before I left Korea, I didn’t know how much I loved my family. I didn’t know how much my parents loved me, and I didn’t know how cute my sister was. Back in Korea, I didn’t want to hang around with my family because I thought they were boring. I didn’t like their choice of movie, clothes, hobbies, and styles. I thought they were too old or too young. I only wanted to hang around with my friends who could share same cultures with me.
In Korea I thought I was the only perfect person in my family. I could speak English fluently, I was a good student, I was good at sports and art, I could play cello, and I had a lot of friends. On the other had, none of my family could speak English very well, my sister was rude to teachers, my parents were too conservative and boring, and none of them could play an instrument better than me. The only time I enjoyed with my family was when we went out to eat or went shopping. My family didn’t mean anything to me at that time. In short, I had the most boring family in the world and could not wait to leave. However, after I parted from my family and had to live by myself in America, I soon came to realize that my family was the only people I could depend on.
Living in a foreign country by myself without any relatives is the hardest thing I have ever done. For the first year, I was very homesick. I couldn’t adjust to American friends, teachers, school, culture, and new host family. For the first time, I realized how great my family was and how important my family was to me. They were the ones who encouraged me whenever I fought with my friends, they were the ones who spent the whole night studying with me for my finals, they were the ones who knew all about me, and they were the ones who gave up their convenience for my education. My parents gave up all their money just to afford my education and my sister gave up an opportunity for her own exchange program just for me.
My family was and is the best and most important people in the whole world. I did not know that before I came to America, but I do now. No one can take my family’s place; and that is the most important thing I learned by being an international student. If I didn’t have chance to come to the U.S., I would have never learned this most important thing. I do not think that one can never truly understand how much their family means to them until they are parted from them; this I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.