Christine Lee - Kultural Kurator
She, Her, Hers
Ethnicity - Biracial - Chinese/White
Occupation - Graduate Student in Higher Education Administration
What global experiences have you taken part in when you were a student and/or as a young professional?
When I was a sophomore during my undergraduate career, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to study abroad during the spring semester at the University of Trieste in Trieste, Italy.
How has Global Education impacted you and your career choices?
Global Education has been a vital part of my life since I first started college. My involvement with an international organization is what inspired me to go abroad in the first place and continued to play an important role throughout my time as an undergraduate student. After I graduated, I wanted to continue working with international students and that is what guided my decision to attend graduate school. I have been lucky enough to hold a graduate assistantship at the Study Abroad Office during this time. As I near the end of my graduate program, I am hoping to enter the international field in a higher education setting.
What challenges have you had to overcome as you gained your global experience(s)?
My first time going abroad was also my first time traveling alone. I had to learn how to become more independent than I had ever been. That was made difficult as I moved to a city where there were not many people that spoke English and I did not speak the native language. This newfound autonomy mixed with a need to rely on others to translate was often difficult. There were times when I felt alone moving to a new place without knowing anyone but also times when I felt like I was a burden on others when I needed to bring someone with me simply to communicate with the locals. I was able to better learn how to cope with those frustrations after being there for a while but those feelings were certainly never completely eliminated.
What or who inspired you to take part in a study/internship/work abroad experience?
My involvement with a student organization at my undergraduate institution, Appalachian State University, inspired me to study abroad. The organization, International Appalachian (INTAPP), promoted study abroad and the student members served as ambassadors for the international exchange students. Having the opportunity to meet and get to know so many amazing exchange students from all over the world inspired me to want to have that experience for myself.
How has your cultural identity impacted your global experience(s)?
As a woman of color, the opportunity to go abroad was really eye-opening for me to be able to meet so many individuals from all walks of life with different cultural perspectives and stories to share. I was able to feel more comfortable with my various identities than I initially thought would be possible.
How has/ had seeing other people of color/diverse backgrounds influenced your decision to study/ intern abroad?
Being in an internationally-focused organization where a large number of the students went abroad and meeting international students from so many different countries allowed me to see many different individuals that went abroad and to hear about how their backgrounds and identities became more or less salient depending on where they went. While every person's experience will be different, being able to hear stories from a number of my peers of color are what inspired me and made me feel more comfortable with my decision to study abroad.
As a Kultural Kurator, what does culture mean to you?
For me, it means the societal customs and lifestyles that communities practice and embrace.
Self care is so important as we live our lives and grow in our professions. How do you incorporate self care into your life?
I always try to never do work on Friday evenings or Saturdays. I do my best to block those times off and just focus on spending that time in whatever way I need that week. Whether that be spending time with friends or family, going on a run, cooking a big meal, or binging Netflix, I make sure to take that day and a half to recharge in the way that is best for me.
What advice would you give to a future Kultural Kurator as they think about taking opportunities to explore the world around them?
If there is an opportunity that you are considering then go for it! You learn more about yourself going abroad than you can imagine. You are capable of so much more than you even think and challenging yourself to step outside of your comfort zone, while intimidating, is one of the best ways to grow as a human being.
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