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“How Do You Preserve Your Culture While Still Being A Global Citizen?”

October 26, 2014 Written by | No Comments

James Wong, a 20-year-old international business major at Baruch College, hopes in his career to explore many different cultures aside from his own personal background. As a team member of AIESEC, a global ambassador, and an Asian American, Wong has found a way to express his heritage while traveling across Eastern Europe and experiencing different cultures.

AISEC is an international student run organization that provides internship opportunities and professional experiences for students abroad while breeding global leaders and promoting cultural awareness. In over 125 countries and 2400 universities, AIESEC Baruch sends the most students abroad every year. As a team member, Wong acts as a guide who assists students as they prepare for their own travel abroad journey.

Here is a recap of our interview as Wong shares his views on how his heritage plays into his travel abroad experience.

James Wong, 20, Brooklyn, Student at Baruch, International Business Major


Wong interning abroad in Romania during the Spring 2013 semester.

Q: How do you identify yourself?

A: I am Malaysian and I identify myself as Asian American.


Q: What does being Asian American mean to you?

A: I don’t know what being an Asian American means to me. I don’t really categorize them into having any specific beliefs or traits, not myself at least.


Q: What is your role in AIESEC and how did you come to be involved with this organization?

A: I’m a team member and I became involved after going abroad to Romania. I loved the experience and wanted the opportunity to help others have the AIESEC experience.


Q: How does your background play into your role in AIESEC and affect your decision to go to certain countries?

A: It definitely contributes to the diversity of the organization. In terms of choosing countries, I’ve been to Malaysia and China before so I guess it made me want to see Europe, more so Eastern Europe because it is so much different than American culture.


Q: How does your Asian background influence your view of the world?

A:I think growing up in Brooklyn and around many Asian Americans, I had a lot of the view Asian Americans have such as when you grow up, you must go to college, do well in school, money is important. But my parents have a non-traditional background since they studied in the UK so I have mixed perception about things.


Q: Why do you think it is important to travel abroad and experience different cultures?

A: The world isn’t just where you live, and if you stay in the same place your whole life, you never realize a lot of things. Things like there’s more to life than money, there are beautiful places out there, different kinds of people, beliefs, and the world has a multitude of experiences to offer. It allows you to see things from a different perspective and realize that the world isn’t one dimensional. There’s no one answer to live life and that life is about your story and how you want to express it.


Q: How do you preserve your culture while still being a global citizen?

A: I don’t really have an answer to that. I don’t openly express my Asian culture. I guess it’s in the little things I do, how I dress, speak, say hi, give hugs, joke around. I don’t think of it as preserving. Oh, I celebrate Chinese New Year and get red envelopes.


Q: Where do you consider home?

A: America and I guess Malaysia.


Q: What do you wish you know about your culture?

A: I’m not looking to learn anything specific but I love diving into cultures and learning as much as I can about them to develop a better perception of the world.

Categories: On The Other Side of the World · Spotlight