“For months, I couldn’t forgive myself”

What is the biggest regret you have in your life and how has that affected you? If you have another chance, what would you do differently?

When I was 15, my grandma passed away and I didn’t know about it. My parents chose not to tell me because I was in the middle of high school entrance examination. They knew it would affect me if I was informed. So they told me that my grandma was sick and was hospitalized. No big deal. I was aware of the fact three days later. I couldn’t remember how I felt the time I was told about this news. There was at first no tears. I didn’t know what I was thinking.A few minutes later, I started asking myself why I was the only one of the whole family who didn’t see her and say goodbye to her. For months, I couldn’t forgive myself. I can’t blame my parents, but I couldn’t forgive myself. I can’t tell what I would do if I had a second chance. I don’t think I will ever have a second chance.

If you only have 30 seconds to tell us one of your most important stories in your life, what would it be and what makes you choose to tell us that story?

It has to be my first time leaving home. I was 18 and I was enrolled in a university almost 1,000 km away from my home. That was the first time I had to leave my home and live by myself. I remember my father standing on the platform waving at me. I remember how I felt on that specific night. I was so excited about starting a new journey of my life which I knew would be so different from what I had experienced; but I was so afraid, of the uncertain futures, of being away from home and family. On that night, I felt growing up.

What is your greatest fear in life?

Being alone. This is especially the case when I move to a new place or a new environment. I get anxious when I find out that there is no one that I could talk to or hang out with. I can’t live without my family and friends. That’s why I keep making new friends and maintaining ties with my family and old friends even though I am thousands of miles away. They share my happiness and accompany me through difficulties. I can’t imagine a life without them.

What does it mean for you to be a global citizen in this world? What makes you say that?

To me, being global means to think beyond national borders. In other words, to have a global outlook. We nowadays travel, physically and virtually, much more easily than our parents. In fact, many of us grow up today in a global environment, consuming global cultural products or travelling to a different country to study or work. This is becoming ordinary in many people’s life courses. To be a global citizen, therefore, is to nurture a sense of togetherness in our everyday engagement with the global, especially with different cultures, and to bear in mind our responsibilities for the others who live far away from us.

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