Involvement: Vice president of the Multicultural Club; peer mentor for Multilingual and International Student Programs
Brandywine: Why did you choose to attend Penn State Brandywine?
Wang: Honestly, it wasn’t an active choice of mine to specifically attend Brandywine. I did choose this campus, though, because of its proximity to Philadelphia and the campus looks very nice.
Brandywine: What attracted you to come to school in America?
Wang: I’ve wanted to come to America since I was in middle school. Before coming here, I was living in Singapore. It’s a very small place and very compact; there’s not much going on there, honestly. I wanted to go out and see what the world was like outside of Singapore.
Brandywine: How did you choose your major?
Wang: I had a lot of difficulties choosing my major because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I think a lot of students face a similar problem; many students aren’t sure what they want to do after graduation. That’s why I like the American college system — it gives you two years to figure out what you want to do. Instead of choosing a major before you take the courses, why not choose after you can [gain] some knowledge?
At first, I was looking at finance, then I looked into supply chain management. After taking an accounting class, I realized it was something I enjoy doing.
Brandywine: What challenges have you faced during your time at Brandywine, if any?
Wang: It was definitely a culture shock coming to Brandywine, and honestly America as a whole. In Asia, we mainly have people of the same race. Here, we have so many different cultures and you have to be careful to remain respectful. You don't realize because if you don't come from such a diverse society, you don't realize a lot of the things that you take for granted might be offensive here, so that is one of the challenges. I'm still trying to just talk to my friends and learn about them so that I don't make such mistakes.
Brandywine: How has Brandywine supported you? Who at Brandywine has supported you most?
Wang: I would say Professor (Debbie) Ousey (coordinator of Multilingual and International Student Programs) has been one of my biggest supporters at Brandywine. She was the one who introduced me to the school and American culture. When I first arrived here, she offered to show me around campus and the Philadelphia area. She gave me a SEPTA bus card so I could go to the city and explore.
I’d like to pass this on to the next future generations of international students because I feel like it’s really important to have someone just to be there when you're fresh into the system.
Brandywine: What inspired you to join the Multicultural Club and work for Multilingual and International Student Programs?
Wang: When I first came into this school, a lot of faculty, staff and students helped me navigate the area. When I was completely lost, they were the ones showing me around. One of the people who helped me was a peer mentor at Professor Ousey’s office. She took me to Philly, showed me landmarks like the Liberty Bell, gave me some notable Philadelphia foods and taught me about the culture here.
I’d like to pass this on to the next future generations of international students because I feel like it’s really important to have someone just to be there when you're fresh into the system. I felt accomplished when we took new students shopping for necessities last summer because realizing they turn to you for help makes me feel like I’m satisfying their needs.
Brandywine: What have been some of your favorite events that the Multicultural Club has held?
Wang: I particularly love the festive celebrations. Eid was my favorite, and Lunar New Year is my favorite too. In these events, students dress up in traditional clothing. It doesn't matter if you're Chinese; you can still dress up in, say, Indian traditional clothing. During Lunar New Year, we had a lot of the students from the Multicultural Club dressed up in Chinese traditional clothes. It’s amazing to see different people appreciate different cultures. It feels that I'm actively doing something to help the community.
Brandywine: What’s been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned during your time at Brandywine?
Wang: Well, I guess it's to always stay open-minded. There are a lot of things around us that we may not experience for ourselves, we may not know them firsthand, but we have to keep trying to understand them from different points of view. We have to get to know people before we conclude different things. We can't just assume that things are this way or things are that way.
It’s amazing to see different people appreciate different cultures. It feels that I'm actively doing something to help the community.