A while back, someone asked me: “What do you like about yourself?”
It turns out, this is a pretty easy question for me to answer. (I’ll try to avoid narcissism.)
We will start with some context, in this case the fundraiser the other day. How do European university clubs raise money? They sell drinks, of course! (Alcoholic drinks. Take notes, CMU.) But the drinks weren’t my favorite part, don’t worry. I much prefer seeing people I know. The fundraiser put a bunch of people from EPFL under the same Swiss-cheese roof, and I got a good feel for the diversity of people I’ve met over the semester.
I came with due amice italiane, bought a drink from un camarade français, and bantered with an Englishman. Oh look, here are a couple people from the US I know, and just look at how well they are getting along with la italiana. I’ll be over here speaking Franglish with my roommate’s French friend whom I once caught reading a book. There are the Germans! And the Swiss Germans! And my suisse romande friend! I love this.
Even if I’m not best friends with all of these people, I love talking to people who don’t run in the same circles, don’t all think the same way, and each have their own experiences. I wave to my Tunisian roommate before leaving (I am not going to write that in Tunisian).
You can have a diverse group of people who all come from the same country and speak the same first language. High school can be like that. But I like that the diverse group of people we have at EPFL happens to include people from different countries all speaking different languages, and I like that I can integrate myself across this diversity.
“What do you enjoy doing in your free time?”
“I enjoy socializing with people in different languages.”
“Wow, that’s very normal of you.”
I love that I get along with a wide variety of people. I love that I somehow find people I genuinely enjoy talking to or being around, regardless of whether or not we have mutual friends. I love that sometimes I can even bring new people together.
I love realizing this aspect of myself isn’t particular to the US.