Cultural Identity Speech

Presented during a Cultural Identity Event on February 9, 2012 in Williston Northampton School’s Cox Room.

By Yoonji Kim ’15

I have had many valuable experiences throughout my fourteen years of life. Because I love to travel, I’ve been to distant countries that most children my age do not desire to visit.

My trip to India stands out in my memory. I went to India with my mother when I was in the fifth grade. At that time, I had never experienced or known about people in need. I merely thought that, in India, a lot of conflict occurred because of religious tension with Pakistan. When I first arrived in India, the noxious smell of the river and streets was overwhelming. Therefore, due to the poor environment, I thought a lot of children didn’t have a proper education.

After I visited an Indian school, my thoughts totally changed. Despite the steamy, hot weather, students were studying on the floor without any desks or fans. Children ranging from ages five to fifteen were studying math together in a dingy classroom. Even more surprising was the fact that no one was complaining about his or her environment. From their eyes, which gleamed with the joy of learning, I could feel that they were hungry for knowledge.

Because of this experience, I realized two things. First, we can experience happiness because of our circumstances. Second, we can also find joy within ourselves. This means that not only the things around us bring happiness and satisfaction, but also simply our choice to be happy can give us great pleasure. Due to these reasons, my trip to India was the turning point of my life.


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