I came to America from Malaysia. I came to the US because my sister was here. I was torn about where to go for school because I did a UK program and at first I wanted to go to the UK, but then I thought “why not try America?” because I have sisters here. I have two, both of them are married but one of them has a kid here so it was also good to come and be a babysitter here. In Malaysia, and most Asian countries, I have a very typical Chinese family—you’ve got to be a doctor, lawyer, engineer, so when I was first coming here it was one big decision. Honestly speaking, I applied here just to test it out—if I get in I get in, if not I’ll just go somewhere else. But they were the first to reply back, and I was like I guess it’s a sign so lets just go for it. There were also some culture shocks as well. I have sisters who went through it first so they gave me warnings and advice on what to expect. We always hear about the American dream, and I think one day I would really like to go and see NYC. South Bend was a really surprising experience, because cities you think skyscrapers and South Bend is not exactly like that. I actually don’t mind staying here in South Bend, but if I got the opportunity to work in another state I would. I just want to let life take me where it will.
Advice to Future International Students: I was giving a tour to some younger students, about 16 or so. They’re all international students and trying to find colleges to attend. They asked me how to choose a good college. I said that you will have to go through culture shock, unless you grew up here and were exposed to it. As long as you have a strong community of international students you are able to find your own family here beyond the family you are blood related to. I would say try not to stay just in your own circle, but expand it. People who have walked different paths as you sometimes share the same interests as you. There is this line between you’re an international student or you’re a local. But I think the line is starting to disappear. I would want to say you should just stay yourself and people in the community will accept you when you accept how your past brought you to where you are now.
What is your Major? Biological Sciences
What’s your favorite book? Into the Magic Shop by James Doty. I am a really big K-pop fan, in particular BTS and one of the members recommended it.
What’s your favorite TV Show? I like watching House because it’s from the medical field and the characters are really interesting. I also used to binge watch Korean dramas. One of my favorites was Goblin.
Interviewed by Elana Moss, Anthropology Major