Welcome Selena to the UMN Women’s Center Blogging Team

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Hi Everyone! I’m Selena Wang and I’m excited to write for Women’s Center.

Before I mention anything else about myself, I should first tell you that I’m an international Chinese student. The fact that I’m international comes with a lot of meanings. For some folks, that means that I’m different, strange, exotic, weird, possibly eat dogs, nerdy, quiet, etc. Some of them are true, but I’m not going to say which ones. First of all, I choose to be international. My hometown in China is a beautiful city sitting on the northern coast line, yet it was not enough for the eighteen-year-old me. Like every young dreamer, I wanted to see the world, see the land that I had never set foot on, and see the people who might be so dramatically different from me that I would be amazed as I lay my eyes on them. A young unrealistic dreamer, like so many others, I came here and ever since then my status has been permanently set as international. I wish I could say I have always been proud of my internationality, but sometimes it’s not easy to carry the brand in this country.

Being international for me means that I had the courage and bravery to follow my dream, however unrealistic and ridiculous, and that courage will remind me of who I am wherever I go. Being international for me means that I am thrilled about the unknown, the unpredictable and I will wait for life to open itself up for me. Being international has been my status for the past year and half, and it will probably stay that way for the rest of my life. One of the awkward situations that happened was when I called my roommate “fat”. I was trying to explain how Chinese girls were so skinny in general and in comparison I called her “fat” to demonstrate the skinniness. We were just getting to know each other and luckily she wasn’t scared off by my wildly inappropriate jokes back then and now. Shout out to Claire Park for being a super awesome roommate and friend.

This talk of my internationality is essential for several reasons. Most of all, society has been confused about how to deal with differences. There have been many conversations about race, gender, sexuality, etc. What is the right attitude towards these topics? What should I say around people who are different from me? People are so scared to be labeled as racists, homophobic that they avoid these topics at all costs. Is silence making everything better? No. When there is communication, there is no problem; when there is no communication, there is a problem. Folks from LGBT, Latino, Asian, International community are not going to be offended by misuse of languages, curiosity, confused understanding of things that some people are not familiar with. We all have stereotypes against other social groups: women have stereotypes about men; men have stereotypes about women; Asians have stereotypes about white folks; white folks have stereotypes about Asians. It is ok to admit that sometimes we have misconceptions, but it’s also crucial to get past those misconceptions, stereotypes and try to get to know the person behind the veil of unfamiliarity.

All I’m trying to say is that because of the tension between different social groups in race, gender, sexuality, people are so scared of making mistakes that they become reluctant to touch on those topics in everyday life or professionally. I want to talk about my internationality first foremost to encourage the conversations not just about internationality, but also about race, gender, sexuality, etc. These brands are part of who we are and they are not things we should avoid discussing.

As you can see, just talking about who I am gets me into lecturing about social justice. So yeah, I’m a big fan of social justice. Other things I like to lecture on: psychology (I love my major), politics, German shepherds, food, travel, painting, and psychology research. Psychology and psychology research are different things. Psychology is a scientific approach of understanding human behaviors. Psychology research is about using creative and critical thinking to design researches to help understanding behaviors. I’m a big fan of both.

Anyways, I’m happy to continue the discussion through my Women’s Center blogs and feel free to reach me at wang4519@umn.edu.

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