There is no ‘one culture’ present in my household, nor in my life. Growing up straddling two global cities across continents, with parents from opposite ends of the world bringing their own unique perspectives on life and child-rearing, I have never seen myself completely encapsulated by one culture. I see parts of myself in many. The main motivation for me joining the Global Fellows Program was to be able to share this unique intercultural perspective with my peers, and simultaneously learn more about their roots. I have already caught a glimpse of this from training sessions, where each Global Fellow shared their own special angles on questions such as ‘what does “ramen” mean to you’. I am excited to connect with and learn beside the other Fellows throughout the year, bettering myself along the way.
Success to me would be to improve my current cultural developmental orientation, ‘minimisation’, to either ‘acceptance’ or ‘adaptation’. My background naturally leads me towards a ‘minimisation’ focus, which means that you see people as the same and don’t believe culture is a differentiating factor between individuals. Due to my self-incorporation of many different cultures, this ‘minimisation’ is essentially innate. A strong goal of mine is to break down this mindset, and see people as products of their culture.
This semester, I have been paired with three different Duke grad students from Japan and China. We meet individually once a week in-person and over zoom to practice English and introduce American culture. It has been an amazing experience thus far, and I enjoy learning more about their backgrounds and culture as well. Overall, I am excited for the upcoming year, and I am sure that we will emerge from this fellowship program even more educated and globally-oriented than we already are.