Beijing Language and Culture University, China
Major: Global and International Studies
Black American, female, China. Huh? When you put it together in that way, those three things really don’t go together. East Asia, China, Chinese language and Chinese people. Most of my family was confused when I told them I wanted to go to China. My parents had always known that I liked East Asian culture. From Korean pop music to Japanese animation. I even tried to teach myself Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Thai in my four years of high school. I didn’t get very far in any of those languages but I did try.
My parents always supported me but I knew there was always a little tension and I didn’t understand why. To be honest, I knew it was incomprehensible for some of my family members. In the black community, I’m the odd one out. I’m not studying African culture or American culture, I’m not trying to be a doctor or lawyer, I’m not an athlete, or actress, but I’m studying a culture so opposite from my own that I think it may scare people.
I was talking to my mother a few months before I was set to leave for Beijing, China through WMU study abroad, and she was answering my question about why many blacks don’t study abroad very often. She explained that when she was younger, there was no such thing. No one encouraged leaving the country because it didn’t make sense to. Black Americans have always been victims of racism and prejudice in America, so, with that she said something to me that I will always remember “They didn’t treat us well over here so why would they treat us well over there?”
It finally made sense as to why I was so different. Fear. People are scared of what they don’t know. I didn’t want to be scared. I wanted to find out what really was over there. Do I actually like this culture as much as I think I do? Is this really what I want as a career? Do I really want to live in East Asian one day? There are so many questions that I have to answer for myself. My mother said that there was no opportunity for her, but there is for me, so I want to take this opportunity and use it even if it makes me the odd one out.