Duke Daytime MBA Student Blog
Connecting With Classmates Through Cultural Experiences
The biggest takeaway from this journey for me is that I know I have so many people who support me and will advocate for me, for Taiwanese, and for East Asians.
Looking back on the last two years, I have so many feelings about my MBA journey in Fuqua. I am so proud to say that I am a Taiwanese, East Asian woman. One question I had coming in was how to meet more classmates and how I should introduce my culture to them. Fuqua has such a diverse student body that facilitate cultural experiences, such as identity workshops and diversity week to make this community better, but here is how I navigated sharing important parts of myself throughout the two years.
Getting Out of My Comfort Zone
I attend many activities and events, trying to push myself out of my comfort zone and meet different people. One thing I like a lot about Fuqua is they promote allyship and give students the flexibility to join different affinity clubs’ events. For example, a party hosted by Black & Latino MBA Organization (which starting in Fall 2023 is splitting into two groups: the Black Business Student Association and American Latinx Management Association), a Latin American Student Association (LASA) conference, a festival hosted by INDUS, the South Asian Business Club, or even trips organized by classmates to their home countries. Those events gave me the opportunity to get to know my classmates with various backgrounds extensively. Knowing my classmates more and seeing how passionate they are about their countries makes me humbler in my own point of view but also more confident about where I’m from and how I identify myself.
Connecting Through Food
Sometimes, I enjoy connecting with people more in a small group social setting to really form a connection with each other. Nothing can bring people together like food! Some classmates and I share our own home-cooked dinners and invite classmates over. For example, I’ve been to Italian, Moroccan, Korean, Israeli, and other dinners hosted by my classmates. I think those are the most authentic ways to engage with different cultures.
I like to make Taiwanese meals, especially dishes that are very special for people who have never tried it before. Also, at the dinners, I would tell stories about Taiwan and the meaning behind those dishes to my classmates. In those casual but meaningful environments, we can get to know so much more about each other and connect deeper. I also held several hot pot dinners for my whole section to get to know more about East Asian culture and food. I cherish these experiences.
Gaining Confidence Through New Connections
Because of those different bonding experiences with my classmates, they are also willing to teach me anything I don’t know and would like to learn. One big improvement is my speaking and understanding of conversational English, something I would never learn from textbooks. Looking back again on the past two years, I am much more confident and have so much gratitude for the environment that I’m in.
These two years have been a journey full of cultural experiences for me. I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs. The biggest takeaway from this journey for me is that I know I have so many people who support me and will advocate for me, for Taiwanese, and for East Asians. We should all be proud of who we are.