ISSS essay contest

2014 Essay Contest

Congratulations to Juyoung Leem, winner of the 2014 ISSS Essay Contest. Honorable mention also goes to Jia-Fen Li. Read their essays below!

Winner: Juyoung Leem, South Korea

Different, Difficult and Better

Honorable mention: Jia-Fen Li, Taiwan

From Homeless to Beloved

Prompt for 2014 Contest


An identity would seem to be arrived at by the way in which the person faces and uses his experience.

-James Baldwin

We may think we have ourselves figured out. We are a daughter, a son, a sister, a brother, a friend, a student, a teacher, a writer, and so many other things. Sometimes, when you travel to a new place and experience a new culture, the ideas that you have about yourself and your identity may be challenged and you may find yourself thinking about your identity differently. Share a story about a time that you may have felt this way after moving to the US and what you learned from the experience. How did you deal with it? Did it shape you in some way?


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