If you had met me 2 years ago, you would have not recognized me 2 years later. Of course, everyone will change as you enter into a new world, a new culture, and meet new people. The change here could be from my outside look. I did consider dressing up nicely when attending an event because I was taught to “dress to impress” as a business student. However, the change that I am talking about is more from the inside, how I have grown as a person. I always thought I would never change despite how the world around me changed. But it seems like the opposite. It was me who has grown up. To me, I had never expected that change would come so rapidly. When I leave WKU, I will not forget the good memories that encourage me to grow during my diplomat program. The story that I am about to tell is my journey to becoming a diplomat.
International diplomats are students who assist current and prospective international students, and specifically, help them adapt to the not-so-familiar culture at our college. My story starts around this time 2 years ago when I was going through the same application process to become an international diplomat. I was a sophomore still trying to figure out what I want to be when I graduate. I had always been a reserved student who would not say a word in a group conversation. I used to run away from networking with students on campus because I was ashamed of my language skills. I am from Vietnam and speaking Vietnamese gives me more confidence than speaking any other language. Campus is where you will eventually meet very inspiring people. One of my professors has challenged me to get out of my comfort zone and I did it. It turns out that once you get out of your bubble, you get used to it. I took all of my courage to apply for the international diplomat program. There were a lot of emotions that I went through. I was so happy when my application was chosen to go through the interview process. I remember how nervous I was interviewing with 4 interviewers whom I barely know their names. My hand was shaking but I managed to keep my breath and appeared to be as calm as I can. And soon enough, I am here in my second year as an international diplomat. I would say that you would never know what would happen until you take the chance and try your best.
My two years with the diplomat team are awesome. I get to work with other international diplomats like me who are current students at WKU. I get to make friends with them and other international students. Our advisors are the best because they are very understanding and do care about us as we are also students and we have busy school schedules. It was hard for an introvert like me to adapt to the group but I finally found myself fit into the diplomat team with the help of other teammates and friendly advisors. We were all happy because, at the end of the day, we got to represent and help international students either through the orientations, fun educational and cultural programs, or answering prospective students’ questions. I remember how fun it was for me and the team to host the Halloween party and how excited we were to have students come to the “International House” to check out the spooky decorations we prepared. We did pumpkin-painting, playing games, and dancing. We were exhausted at the end but it was so worth it.
Coming to the end of my second year as a diplomat, I wish I had gotten out of my shelf earlier to join the team. The program has taught myself so much and it was not only a job that I took seriously but it was also something fun that would mark those years I spent at WKU. Being an international student, I had to go through various challenges during my freshman year because of cultural and language barriers. I needed someone who would be comfortable guiding me through the right path. I eventually decided to be that person who could help students like me to overcome those barriers. If you are a new international student like I was four years ago, my advice to you is not to try to become a diplomat like I am. My piece of advice would be for you to get out of your comfort zone and do things that you would have never done before. This would be joining more organizations on campus and attending events to meet as many people as you can. This will broaden your perspectives about people and cultures. Ask as many questions as you can because there are people like our diplomats out there, who are willing to help you overcome your barriers.