Tag Archives: global

Staying comfortable with your own pace in a Reopening world

by Alyssa Delarossa

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3 minute read]

As the United States and more of our world reopens, the societal pressure to keep up with the quickening pace of life and activities is strong. Many people are no longer wearing a mask if they are fully vaccinated and have started attending crowded clubs and events. Personally, despite this social pressure and despite the fact that I am fully vaccinated, I am remaining cautious and will continue wearing a mask and socially distancing, as both actions have worked so effectively this past year and also due to the Delta variant of Covid-19 that is spreading rapidly around the world and in the United States.

Do I feel a bit weird running around in a mask while lots of residents in my home of Ventura County ( a one hour drive North of LA) have ditched theirs? Yes, absolutely! Peer pressure and the pressure to conform to the current social environment is real. However, the thought of potentially contracting the virus or other viruses helps me keep the mask on and thankfully, I haven’t yet had any problems with staying six feet apart from strangers.

Selfie of me double-masked once I learned about the rapidly spreading delta variant

With that being said, I have started to spend more time with my family. We are not all living together but with the reopening, I have made this exception for them. I also have close friends that I’ll hang out with in my hometown, Santa Clarita (where Six Flags Magic Mountain theme park is). I’m still very hesitant to attend crowded events and places but I will spend one-on-one time with these groups of people I call “my inner circle.”

While I do want and tend to spend time with my “inner circle” of friends and family, I spend even more time absorbed in self-care practices such as meditation, journaling, and exercise. Some of the physical activities I have been engaging in are swimming, skating, and kayaking. I tend to engage in these activities either alone or with my inner circle and the fulfillment they bring is like no other.

My friend and I masked up and ice skating in Santa Clarita, California

Some other fulfilling activities I do alone to fill up my time are cooking and writing poetry. These activities allow me to express creativity which is very fulfilling – not to mention delicious! The poetry I write does tend to be more emotional because for me personally, it’s a great way to release any emotional pain/feelings I may be experiencing at the time.

Continue reading Staying comfortable with your own pace in a Reopening world

Teaching in Taiwan

By Tanya Chen

“Good morning, teacher!” Twenty-three little bodies greeted me in English with heavy Mandarin accents. Looking at their gleaming smiles that seemed larger than they were, I couldn’t help but smile. Compared to our first meeting, many things have changed.

On my first day of teaching, I entered the room with a sunny and exuberant persona that quickly dimmed when it was paralleled by blank faces and defensive stares. For a couple of 4-foot kids, they sure held a lot of hostility. But the inner-teacher within me refused to get discouraged that easily. I realized that by growing up in rural Taiwan, many of the values these kids had were not the same ones I possessed. They lived sheltered lifestyles and many had never even seen a plane. As someone with an English accent from a foreign land, I must have appeared frightening.

With each day, I began devoting my time to not only teaching English but also furthering my knowledge of their world. From conversations at lunch and sly observations, I learned that my students were obsessed with a British pig. In an effort to make the task of learning English less intimidating, I swapped out my Google Slides with a more amusing theme: Peppa the Pig. The lesson plans I came prepared with were altered to include underlying examples relevant to Peppa.

As I learned more about their interests, I began to connect the gap between our two realms. These small efforts proved successful when I saw their growth in confidence. Gradually, I became their friend, not just their teacher.

When I submitted my application for this month-long teaching program, I had spent months preparing formulaic lessons. I was confident that the warmth I had made those lessons with could be conveyed into the interpersonal relationships between me and my students.

However, lesson plans could only do so much. This experience has taught me the importance of maintaining personal skills when faced with the task of forging real, human connections.

In a changing, globalizing world filled with differing perspectives, empathy and understanding have continued to play an increasing role in how I develop my personal and work relations. As a young adult faced with opportunities that will invariably lay outside of my comfort zone, this experience has positively impacted how I communicate and perceive others.

During my short time at USC, this has become extremely evident. Having lived in an ethnic enclave my whole life, I lived in a sheltered bubble that prevented me from reaching out to people who are different than me. Upon my arrival at a school as diverse as USC, I have interacted with peers from all across the globe in addition to individuals who come from different ends of the socioeconomic spectrum. Rather than defining these interactions through stereotypes or our differences, I dedicate myself to finding similarities and connections that bring us together as two individuals who each have a unique perspective to bring. As the year progresses, I am excited to see how my experiences will continue to enrich my interactions.

Featured image from Wikimedia Commons

Tanya Chen is a freshman studying Business Administration. She is from Southern California and enjoys taking advantage of the SoCal beaches. After teaching Mandarin to kids in underprivileged communities, she realized she had a strong passion for social work. On campus, she is involved with LA Community Impact and a Marshall Research Assistant. In her free time she enjoys watching film analysis videos, designing graphics, and playing with her dog, Mochi.

Leaving a Global Footprint

By Jackie Kim

Coupling my global cultural background and my passion in finance, I got the opportunity to travel to Honduras this past spring break with an international group called Global Brigades. My fellow brigadiers and I were paired up with a rural community in Honduras to rebuild a community bank. Because it was a seven-day brigade, we had to work under a strict time limit to deliver a high impact solution. Ultimately, we opted for innovative solutions that taught basic concepts such as saving and borrowing and even introduced advanced topics such as keeping track of interest rates and accumulated dividends through general ledger accounting. We accomplished this by adapting a segmented approach, where we targeted both children and adults in the community so that there would be awareness among different age groups. We used interactive models and colorful graphics as our communication strategy, and established a community bank with a clear set of regulations.

However, the most memorable part of the trip was not the planning process nor the actual implementation of our solution. Instead, I was most affected by the values that the community bank stood for and how the community members reflected them in their daily actions. Unlike a commercial bank, a community bank is not for profit, and exists to better the community. The community bank can only run with the volunteerism of dedicated community members who are not afraid to trust the community and the bank as an institution, and consequently, are willing to ask for the same trust from other community members. In a rural village, it proved to be difficult to convince many community members to save their money, especially because they were living on a day-to-day basis to sustain their families.

Even with the difficulty of communication to the rest of the community, the faith that the community bank members showed in the system inspired me. As a foreigner, I had felt rude when introducing and implementing a strange system of banking into such a tight-knit community, but the fact that various members opened their homes and minds up for us helped me understand the human trust and connection in its raw form. It was eye opening to not only build up a bank in a rural village with no prior knowledge of basic finance, but also to experience feelings and interactions that are so uniquely human.

Photo is author’s own

Ultimately, this experience strengthened my desire to serve the global community. The beauty of the intercultural exchange that I observed was so positively overwhelming that I was determined to still be involved with Global Brigades even after the trip. I’m so honored to be leading Global Brigades at Marshall (the USC Chapter of Global Brigades—you don’t need to be in Marshall to be a part of it!) this upcoming school year! I found a way to leave my global footprint while also getting inspired to seek more personal interactions in an intercultural context, and I invite all of you to do the same!

Featured image by Stuart Herbert on Flickr

Jackie is a Junior majoring in Business Administration, with potential minors in Computer Science or East Asian Studies. She has lived all over the world, from Korea to Singapore, to various parts of America. She is fascinated by cultural diversity, and her goal in life is to become a diplomat for the United Nations. She is a big fan of learning languages, and she is hoping to learn her sixth one soon. Jackie is involved in various international campus organizations such Model United Nations, as well as community service groups, and the residential government, and would love to introduce you to cool leaders on campus if you want to get more involved! She loves playing ice hockey, playing traditional Korean music and, and socializing with people in her free time! She can’t wait you meet you and get to know you! She also has a lot of school spirit because she absolutely LOVES USC