Major: B.A. in Psychology and East Asian Studies, minor in Business
Year of Graduation: 2013
Hometown: Hong Kong, People’s Republic of China
Previous School: Li Po Chun United World College of Hong Kong
Clubs and Activities: Davis Scholar, Voices of Praise, ICC representative of the Mixed-Heritage Club, member of South East Asian Club, works at the Box Office and at Chum’s, Mentor in Boston with the organization Partner With Disabilities (since spring 2010), Research Assistant at University of Hong Kong, Associate at Children’s Hospital Boston (Communication Enhancement Center)
“I think being a global citizen means to be a friend of the world, to be open to all cultures and different cultural practices. You have to have perceptive. You should think independently, have your own voice and speak up when it’s necessary for justice and for bettering the world.”
From a very young age, Katherine Wong ’13 has had an interest in exploring many different cultures. Originally from Hong Kong, Katherine had the chance to travel abroad early in life, such as on family trips to Japan and language immersion summer programs in Beijing. A mix of cultures characterized her childhood. As she explains, “My upbringing was pretty westernized, but at the same time we preserved Chinese traditions.”
Additionally, Katherine spoke about the many, stark differences between Hong Kong and the rest of China, and how she has always been interested in exploring these disparities. Also, she has had a growing interest in Japan, especially since starting college at Brandeis. She explained how “by learning about Japanese, I can learn about my own culture indirectly.” As another powerful East Asian country, there are definitely similarities, but there are also many distinctions.
Although Katherine is already abroad for college as an international student, she wishes to study abroad in another country for the academic year 2011-2012. She plans on spending the first semester in London and the second in Tokyo. As she explains, “How I will truly learn about the culture is to go [abroad]. What we learn in school is to give us a heads up, but when you go abroad, you can truly experience the culture.”
Katherine chose to go to Brandeis because she wanted a liberal arts education that would allow her to explore many different fields of interest before deciding on one major. Since coming to Brandeis in the fall of 2009, Katherine has had the chance to discover her identity, taking aspects of U.S. culture that she likes and applying it to her everyday life. One example? The individualistic attitude many Americans have.
Katherine loves the passion that Brandeis students have for exploring other cultures. As she explained, “During Chinese festivals, I’ll bring traditional Chinese food and they’ll be so excited! Brandeis students are open to new cultures and that’s really exciting.”
When she started college, Katherine decided to combine her love of traveling with her wish to help out in places of need. She has done volunteer projects in Vietnam and Iceland with Volunteer for Peace. While in Vietnam, Katherine taught English to school-age children and in Iceland, she volunteered at a homeless shelter. Katherine hopes to do more volunteer work abroad and expressed interest in doing so in India.
At Brandeis, Katherine has been able to explore her interest in psychology. Her passion lies in speech acquisition and development in children. Her interest in foreign languages (she is studying Japanese now) has led to this discovery, as did her internship at Hong Kong University last summer, where she learned about speech development. Her dream is to one day become a speech-language pathologist.
Whether she’s at Brandeis, at home in Hong Kong, teaching English in Vietnam, or interning at a hospital in Boston, Katherine has certainly had the opportunity to explore her interests around the globe. No matter where her life takes her, Katherine will surely make an impact.
For more information about Volunteer for Peace’s international programs, please go to http://www.volunteerforpeace.org.