My World

Describe the world you come from — for example, your family, community or school — and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.


Of all the people I’ve met in my lifetime, three in particular have overwhelmingly influenced who I am and who I want to be.

At 4 years old, I found myself in Vietnam, racing a motorcycle with my mischievous cousins through chaotic streets against explicit orders from my mother not to do exactly this. My mom, who had emigrated from Vietnam during the Vietnam War, taught me to appreciate diversity and culture as she showed me my heritage and encouraged me to see the world. (In the motorcycle situation, I decided that I could not fully experience native life in Vietnam without zooming through the streets as one of the many motorcyclists.) From Thailand, to Bali, to France, Italy, Mexico, and more, my mom loved planning trips and kept us jetting around the world, showing me comfortable living in affluent countries but also exposing me to life in more underdeveloped countries such a Vietnam. My mother was ultimately the source of my intrigue with the affairs of the entirety of the world, not just domestic concerns.

When I was 8 years old, I found myself at dinner with my Uncle Ken, scrambling to be the first to decipher a riddle he had just thrown at the family members gathered around the table. Although I rarely saw him, my uncle...

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