BSE ORFE, 2022

From Shelby, Michigan

“I was adopted from China at the age of 10 months since my mom wanted to ̔adopt a baby girl abandoned by the one-child policy.’ Thus, I’ve had a unique experience in America, belonging to one group of people with my culture and another because of my origin. For a long time, I was resentful of China, rejected being associated with the country, and didn’t take pride in my identity. I felt abandoned by my birth parents because of my gender and so I didn’t want anything to do with China. In high school, I met a girl who was also adopted from China. One day I told her my view on China’s culture, and she decided to tell me about her friends, experiences, and even trials during her time in China [when her parents moved there for work]. We discussed how the culture and perceptions have changed and she really opened my eyes. I have since been proud to say I’m Chinese. Due to financial constraints, visiting my home country, experiencing the culture, and learning my roots, has never been a possibility. This seminar would not only allow me to visit China and connect with my identity, but also learn a new perspective of the people and beliefs the country has. I would finally get to form an opinion based on my own observations and truly learn about the people and social state. I also have a deep academic interest in the seminar. In the past, I studied and performed Peking Opera and Chinese Shadow Puppetry. As an ORFE major, I would like to learn about the economic boom China is undergoing now, especially the economic hub of Beijing. The concepts of wealth disparity and the socioeconomic differences fascinate me, as I often wonder how different groups are being affected by this economic revolution. I expect to gain an immersive experience of China’s culture and social structure, a goal of mine for years. However, I do worry that I will feel alienated by the culture, as I will ̔blend in’ but clearly stand out at the same time. I worry that my past fears and doubts will emerge, yet I believe my passion for this topic will outweigh this concern. My main goal is simply to learn.”