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GCD – Inter-Cultural Communication

A global citizen values language acquisition and is committed to connecting with and understanding others within and across cultures. A global citizen does not expect the world to present itself in his/her own mother tongue.

As a student who has been constantly moving around and studying abroad, I believe that I understand what it means to be “Inter-cultural” and aware of the complications of communications between different cultures. Although I was born in South Korea, I have spent over half of my life abroad. Leaving Korea at the age of 8, I began my international life in Japan and attended an international school. There, I met many students of different origins, coming into close contact with “foreigners” for possibly the first time in my life. I then left Japan for England, yet again attending an international school and once again realising that the world consisted of various cultures and origins. Lastly, I returned to Japan and began attending YIS which ultimately developed my inter-cultural identity to what I am right now.

Through my experiences with such diverse cultures, I have come to understand the importance of language between cultures. Although my childhood mindset had always thought that the world and subsequently my life revolved around my mother tongue, Korean, I quickly realised that this was not the case. When I had first moved to Japan, I was immediately recognised as an outsider within my school community for not being able to speak Japanese nor English very well. Through this experience, I have thoroughly learnt that my mother tongue was not indeed the center of the world and that languages existed to break barriers between one individual and the other from different cultures.

Although my motivations were not purely driven from this experience alone, the fact that I was deliberately outcasted by my classmates did play a great part in my acquisition of languages. In order to be accepted and welcomed, I spent a great amount of time learning Japanese and English, to the point I was able to almost fluently read, write and speak in English and fluently speak in Japanese. Truth be told, this hard work paid off and I was able to connect with those who had originally stayed away from me due to the language barrier. It was at that moment that I had realised the value of language and its power to truly connect an individual to another – that while simple communication would be possible through approximate actions, in order to truly reach out to another individual, one must engage in an exchange of words to connect to one’s heart.

After such experience, I have eventually gained a genuine fondness for learning languages. In England, I have started learning French and Spanish, while I have decided to pursue Spanish at YIS. Therefore, through my encounters with new people and new languages, I have understood the importance of languages and came to understand its value in connecting one another.

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