Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

How I Became a Socialite

I’m a relatively shy and introverted girl–I like to keep to myself (though I also like to think I am rather skilled at masking that). So when it came to socials and get-togethers with others,  it was a wee bit of an intimidating endeavor. However, I will admit that the most difficult part of this first step is actually just introducing myself. I’ve encountered this issue where I become hopelessly undecided about what to tell people when they ask me where I’m from, because quite honestly, it can play out a number of ways when they ask:

“So, Sandy, where are you from?”

I can either reply with:

  • “America; you can tell because of my silly American accent,” or, more specifically:
  • “California. I was born and lived there for eight years. So practically spent half my life there,” or, I could say:
  • “Minnesota. I’ve lived there for about 13 years now; it’s where I spent most of my life,” or, alternatively, a combination of both:
  • “I was born in sunny Cali, raised in snowy Minnesota.” But ULTIMATELY, I think people want to hear:
  • “I’m Hmong,” which often leads to either What’s Hmong? or Where are your parents from? which leads to…
  • “My parents were born in Laos and immigrated to the United States during the Vietnam War,” OR
  • “The Hmong people are part of a small, Asian ethnic group originating from the mountains of Laos, China, Thailand…” etc.

So I think you can see why it’s a bit stressful for me to introduce myself to people, because I constantly have to run through this routine… over and over and over again. In fact, I even had an encounter with one of my academic advisors, whom, after I revealed to him that I was Hmong, actually politely asked if he could Google my ethnicity. Though it takes a bit of effort to describe my background to people, I’m glad people at least often seem semi-interested in where I hail from.

Hiding in a tree, because it’s nerve-wrecking to be anywhere else.


Overall, it’s been fun educating people–and in fact, those who start out asking questions like, “What kind of Asian are you?” usually walk away saying, “OMG I’m so excited to have met a Hmong person! I need to go tell someone about how I met this girl from the mountains of Laos!”

I can’t wait to meet more people.


One Response to “How I Became a Socialite”

  1. Tong Thao Says:

    When I was in Norway, this happened all the time too. It was frustrating at first but when I explained to people the magnitude of the Hmong situation in Laos, I seemed to gain a bit more respect from my peers. I dont know why, but it felt good to be their first encounter with a Hmong person.

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