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Joo Travels Asia to Connect to her Roots

Tessa Lehman, Copy Editor

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Senior Minji Joo, originally from Dallas, had the opportunity to travel to and live in numerous Asian countries throughout the years, allowing her to experience new and unique cultures, some of which gave her insight on her Korean roots.

Thailand and Japan are just some of the places Minji has traveled to along with living in South Korea for two years during elementary school, and in Eastern China, where she lived for a year.

“I absolutely long for the to-die-for authentic taste of Asian cuisine every day. But in all seriousness, I had the chance to live close to family, and when I mean close I mean in the next apartment proximity rather than a 10,000 mile proximity,” Minji said. “It was a refreshing experience to really get to know where all my family was from and what they grow up on.”

During her foreign exchange time, Minji had to face many challenges like language barriers in the unfamiliar countries.

“Foreign exchange was most definitely an eye opening experience when it comes to getting the opportunity to immerse yourself in a drastically different culture than what you are accustomed to,” Minji said. “I would encounter a multitude of awkward situations everyday where I would not even be capable of properly ordering iced water with my meal.”

Minji moved to Austin eight months ago because she missed Texas and wanted to be closer to her sister after spending time abroad.

“There was this charm to the state that I cannot truly describe in words; nevertheless, I did feel a strong sense of nostalgia,” Minji said. “Most importantly, I left my younger sister back in Texas for a long time, and I wanted to make up for lost time to be with her.”

Outside of school activities, Minji enjoys engaging in fine arts.

“I find that expressing my life through a swipe of a paintbrush, a tune that I can groove to, or even a popping leather jacket that I got on sale can really empower me,” Minji said.

Minji will graduate in the fall with the rest of her class of 2017.

“When people ask me about my future, I interpret that future to be as soon as tomorrow, and to make a better tomorrow, I must work my hardest in the moment. My plans for future still remain a blur, but I am not too concerned worrying about that as of now,” Minji said. “My main concerns with anything in life are in my happiness and my loved ones’ happiness. I do hope to accomplish that I will find something that I am utterly obsessed with and be able to take that passion, and make it something worth my while.”

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Joo Travels Asia to Connect to her Roots