Upon Leaving Home

Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you.

Here is Burma in the spotlight’s glare: cheap Chinese products, bad roads, on-and-off electricity, censored internet, starving people, useless education, brain drain, corrupt government, no freedom of expression, and hopelessness. This is what it’s like in my deteriorating country, a land deep in turmoil.

I very much hated my country. And I wished I were somewhere else.

Now I’m about to go off to college and away to America. I suddenly become conscious of a vast change that I’m soon going to experience in my life. Am I relieved because I finally get what I wished for? Yes, because I am leaving poverty behind. But no—because I’m leaving my native country, a country that is dear to my heart. The thing is I am happy with where I was born. Burma may be under a ruthless dictatorship and one of the worst places in the world to live. Yet it is my home, and when I’m away from it, I’m going to miss it—everything from its food, people, culture, to the air I breathe.

Burma is where I’ve spent all my seventeen years of life, and every particle in me is compounded of Burmese soil. It is where I’ve learned the cultural values that define part of who I am—to be tolerant, respectful, and responsible to my family. It’s where the New Year is...

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