It’s pretty amazing to think that I graduated with a degree in a major that didn’t exist when I first stepped on to Chapman’s campus. I changed my major once even before beginning my college career, from Psychology to Communication Studies, and I thought that would be my final decision. I was certain of my passion for better understanding the inner workings of communication between people. But as I progressed through the courses, it felt as if there was a component missing from my chosen major.
I was born and raised in a bustling city that never sleeps, Hong Kong. Growing up in an international city isn’t the only attribution to my multicultural background. My parents were born in Malaysia and we would visit family there yearly. Then, at the age of 15, my family and I moved to California. Having moved countries at an age where self-development was imperative, I struggled to find the “sweet spot” between all my cultural identities and to incorporate my values into one cohesive one. Not only was I finding it difficult to stay in touch with the values that made me feel Chinese, but I was also losing my fluency in one of my native languages.
This struggle persisted throughout high school and into my college years. But, classes such as “Intercultural Communication” and Chinese language courses began to help me find the balance I was looking for. Then one day, my Chinese professor I-Ting Chao approached me with the possibility of a new major that would combine my current major with Chinese, called Global Communication and World Languages. I was instantly interested and chose to switch to the major once it became official.
This major proved to be the best fit for me by not only showing me how to bridge the gap between Communication Studies and my culture but also by opening many windows of opportunity to get involved on campus. From hosting the Taiwan Fair in collaboration with the Center for Global Education to creating a Podcast with Chinese Professor I-Ting Chao that integrated the concept of Communication Studies with Chinese and Western culture, the Global Communication major enriched and fulfilled my remaining time at Chapman. Another great opportunity I had was to work with Dr. Michelle Miller-Day for my Communication capstone on the topic of Intercultural Long Distance Relationships.
It was the Global Communication program that cultivated an open mindset and courage to quite literally “take on the world,” which led to an internship at Financial Times (Chinese Edition) in Beijing the summer after graduation. At Financial Times, I joined the newly-added Podcast department and was responsible for creating content that bridged together the Chinese and English language (pretty much aligned with my degree, wouldn’t you say?). Throughout the internship, I found myself relying on what my degree had taught me to understand and learn from each culture’s perspective.
Following this internship, I decided to travel around Asia for three months to Vietnam, Malaysia, and other Southeast Asian countries. During this time, I was searching for the next move in my career. Carrying on the core concept of being a global citizen, I soon found my path in the online business industry working in a front-facing operations role, assisting customers interested in buying and selling online businesses around the world. All in all, this is only the beginning of my journey in the global workplace and society, and I encourage you all to explore how you can be your best global citizen as well.