I often have lots of ideas and plans swirling around in my head that I’m excited to start. I’ve found that being excited about what you’re doing makes your work less “work-like.” It’s pretty hard to get me down about something. Even if there end up being problems or difficulties with a project, I’m able to keep my head up and work around them as efficiently as possible. I think this is important to my success not just at Tech, but in life in general. I’m very driven; I work hard in order to get results.
I definitely have a passion for different languages and cultures, but I’ve also enjoyed math classes since grade school. I have loved learning languages since I was a small child, because my mom’s native language is Mandarin and my dad grew up speaking Cantonese, Indonesian, and Fujian dialect. I have always liked listening to people speak in other languages because it is so mesmerizing to hear people speak in a language that makes no sense to you, but complete sense to those around you. When I started looking at colleges, I found myself in a bit of a pickle. I didn’t want to have to choose between liberal arts and STEM; I wanted to indulge in both.
“My favorite part about Georgia Tech is that it is a school with a niche (and resources) for every student to find their passion within and outside of their major, so that they can pursue their goals.”
GT offers an amazing education that does just that, combining the best of both worlds. As a Global Economics student, we do a lot of math and analysis with calculating how the economic state of certain countries will affect other countries. At the same time, the other half of my major, Modern Languages, focuses on learning the language and culture of a society altogether different from my own. My favorite part about Georgia Tech is that it is a school with a niche (and resources) for every student to find their passion within and outside of their major, so that they can pursue their goals. My major is a good balance between Math and Liberal Arts, with a perfect touch of global affairs.
For example, I’ve interned at World Financial Institute and Insurance Partners. We partner with companies such as Transamerica, Pacific Life, Everest, etc for products like life insurance and long term care. A big part of the job is actually going out and meeting with clients of all backgrounds and ethnicities to try to make sure that they are all protected financially. The job depends on having a good understanding of several cultures as well as having a strong background in several different languages.
My love of culture and language stems from my family’s history. My mom is an immigrant from China, my dad an immigrant from Indonesia, and I was born in America. I grew up in an American environment, but my parents made sure that I knew about my different backgrounds. I was enrolled in weekend Chinese school, ate authentic Chinese and Indonesian food at home, and learned the languages of all three countries. I've been to China three or four times and Indonesia twice to visit family, giving my parents the chance to show me the cultures that shaped them. I always really loved traveling since I was little. I was fascinated by the fact that people spoke a different language than me. Those experiences (being treated like a local in a country where I was technically a foreigner) and tourist-y travels were probably the best summers of my life growing up.
I understood that different cultures behave differently and have different things that are “normal” and “respectable.” Sometimes trying to explain food or poverty to my friends could give me the feeling of a cultural gap, but mostly I realized how blessed I am to be living in America. I decided to choose Global Economics because it’s a major that opens opportunities in the international field in the future, so I can continue to be a liaison for differing cultures.
Last summer, I went on a Language, Business and Technology (LBAT) study abroad program in Seoul, South Korea. It might easily be my favorite summer of my life, or at this point anyway. There is food literally everywhere, fun karaoke spots to hit with friends and breath-taking photo opportunities around every corner. Going on a study abroad with a small (8-10) group of people means that you will for sure bond like a little family, including the professor! We ate together, explored together, laughed together, cried together. Going around Korea with our LBAT family, learning the language and culture while being able to experience all the fun tourist places was an eye-opening experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
We also visited some important tech companies and universities, which was really interesting and gave me new perspectives on global business. To some extent, the trip helped me to fall in love with my major all over again. It was a perfect mix of independent adventure and focused studies. The best part was seeing the people. There were people of all walks of life there; it was so full of energy and excitement.
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