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Mentor Advice

Question

What, if any, concerns did you have about racism while studying abroad and what were your experiences actually like once abroad?

6 Replies from Mentors

  • mentor picture Ana Campos
     
    Ana Campos
    Associate Director, Office of Undergraduate Student Housing
    University of Chicago
    I did not have concerns about racism while studying abroad. In my life I have not experienced...
    I did not have concerns about racism while studying abroad. In my life I have not experienced overt racism based only on my appearance. I believe one reason may be because I am fair-skinned (my father's heritage is European [Spanish and Italian] rather than indigenous Indian in Mexico), so my ethnicity and heritage are not immediately obvious to others who have pre-conceived notions about how a Hispanic person "should" look. I did not experience any racism while in France due to being a Hispanic woman. And, in Spain, I was considered more of a novelty because the Spanish I spoke was "Mexican" Spanish which the Spaniards considered to sound "sing-song" like.
  • mentor picture Emily Le
     
    Emily Le
    Doctoral Student, previously International Programs Counselor
    UCLA
    I didn't have any concerns about racism while studying abroad. My concern was how a Vietnamese...
    I didn't have any concerns about racism while studying abroad. My concern was how a Vietnamese American would be treated in Vietnam. In some ways, the Vietnamese are more critical of Vietnamese Americans. Vietnamese Americans are expected to speak the language properly and understand everything about the culture and when they don't act accordingly, they are sometimes criticized for it. Vietnamese people don't always understand that Vietnamese Americans are different. They assume if you are ethnically Vietnamese then you should be able to speak the language and understand the cultural nuances. Vietnamese Americans returning to Vietnam should be aware of this and not take offense.
 
 
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