This was a tough week, as I’m starting to get home sick.
It was also exciting. We went camping and hiking. It was very different from the sightseeing style of traveling I’ve had back home. Living in the tent many times reminded me of k-ville, and I’m surprised at how excited I am being so close with nature.
So much reflection went on this week. As a group, we reflected, reflected on what we’ve reflected, and reflected on what we’ve reflected on what we’ve reflected. Individually, I also learnt more about myself through the multiple events going on. It was interesting that being in the States for two years, board games related to the U.S. pop culture still made me nervous. “Let’s keep in mind that it is HIM who is playing”. Being one of the two people with international background, I still got triggered when the ability of my friend was questioned, though we did have limited knowledge regarding the names, pop songs, and slogans on the cards.
Many times through this DukeEngage experience we were told that we, as Duke students, were privileged, though many times I did feel the differences among us under this generalization. The casual way people talked about study abroad, paid by their financial aid, reminded me of the pressure – of getting the most of it – I had last summer in Berlin because of the fee I needed to pay. Relying on student visa to stay at Duke, reforms like CIR affect my life directly, and however much I like computer science, the situation of the job market played a big role in my choice of major. Yet I have the “luxury” of going back and forth between Hong Kong and the States, speaking an Asian language, having access to the resources and gourmet food back home. As thankful as many people we’ve met here of their experiences, I’m thankful for my identity, as there are different kind of privileges. There are privileges like my gender and race determined by the community, yet there are also privileges like my growing-up environment and the personality developed through such experiences that also shifted the position I stood in the privilege pyramid.
I’m also getting closer with the people in our DukeEngage group. I feel very appreciated of the reflections we had over ourselves, our experiences here, and our experiences prior to Tucson. I can sense the trust that’s taking place among us. I think this is a point that all of us are getting tiring and homesick, yet as we are all learning and receiving so much from this program, this will also become an experience that bond us tightly.