This is not the first place Youngwoo Gim has lived.
It isnt the first country. It isnt even the second country. And its not the first time she has been on her own.
The Mount de Sales senior, who was born in South Korea, has been an exchange student since middle school.
Her parents wanted their children to experience different cultures, so they sent Gim and her brother to school through an exchange program. In middle school, she traveled to India, lived in a dormitory and, for a while, was homesick.
In India, Gim learned English, though it was in the British tradition. That type of English did not perfectly translate in the United States. When the exchange program sent her to Florida in high school, the most difficult part was adjusting to the language. Now, she is fluent in English, Korean and French. She knows some Hindi and members of her current host family, who are Nigerian, are teaching her their language.
My freshman year, everybody made fun of my accent, she said.
But she soon grasped the American dialect and decided to move from Florida. She was looking for a top-notch private school when she discovered Mount de Sales, one of her favorite parts of Macon. She has never been homesick here, she said.
Its where she has developed close friendships and bonded with teachers. Her favorite class is calculus, because its a challenge.
She will keep trying until she gets it right, her math teacher, Jeff Dobias, said.
After she graduates, Gim is going back to South Korea temporarily. She will come back to the United States, where she has her pick of top colleges from Boston University to Pennsylvania State University. But she is leaning toward Georgia State University, where she plans to major in hospitality administration. It has been her lifelong dream to own a hotel, ever since she stayed at a hotel as a small child and witnessed the diverse crowd in the lobby.
Gim is intrigued by diversity, and she craves a career that allows her to meet an array of people. In fact, when she came to the United States, Gim was first struck by the melting pot of people.
There are lots of people here, so many different people, she said. I was like, Wow. This is America.