As a Chinese Canadian American, I am made up of multiple identities. Having spent my early childhood in Canada, I was a part of a growing and diverse community made up of people with different backgrounds and experiences. When I moved to Oregon at the age of 10, I was quickly struck with many changes. Moving to a predominately white neighborhood, I felt pressured to mask my cultural differences. I found myself rarely bringing Chinese food to school after my peers expressed a dislike of the smell of my food. On days I did bring Chinese food, I quickly ate my food, so the smell didn’t linger in the classroom. If my 6th-grade self had taken the IDI, I think I would have fallen within the minimization stage. But since then, I have grown to appreciate the beauty of my Chinese heritage and culture. I spent 4 months living in China after I graduated high school and I experienced my first Dragon Boat festival there. I immersed myself in China’s deep and rich culture and made many friends from around the world. After my time in China, I made the most out of my first-year college experience in Canada. I became friends with people around the world like Dubai, Mauritius, Peru, India, China, and Myanmar. The multi-cultural community I had built felt like home as my friends and I spent many late nights sharing our unique stories.

I am very excited to make the most out of the Global Fellows program! To me, success revolves around growth. And to grow as an individual, I need to be vulnerable and open to new ideas, perspectives, and ways of doing things so that I can challenge myself and step outside of my comfort zone. With the IDI, I hope to grow from acceptance to adaption. However, I don’t think the IDI can encompass all forms of growth I aspire to achieve. I aim to become more and more critically conscious of who I am and my relation to others. I hope to find more time to reflect and question the easy answers.

Finally, last week I attended my first English Conversation Club (ECC) and Spanish Conversation Club (SCC) meeting. Coming into the SCC, I was slightly anxious and nervous because it has been 3 years since I had studied Spanish, and my previous experience learning Spanish had been confined to my high school classroom. During the SCC, I struggled to remember vocabulary words and how to conjugate various verbs. I was surrounded by seemingly fluent Spanish speakers. However, I felt comfort and solace within this struggle and challenge. I was surrounded by extremely supportive people who were eager to help. We were all there to simply learn and grow, to improve our Spanish skills. I am extremely excited to continue to have the opportunity to practice my Spanish skills in such a welcoming environment!