On May 29 ASUCR held a Ted Talk event about global perspectives at 6:30 p.m. in HUB 265. With the aid of ASUCR President Semi Cole, the event was hosted by the chair of the international student committee, Harrison Liang. The event consisted of seven international and domestic students who spoke about their global experiences of traveling throughout the world. Pizza and water bottles were provided when the event began.
Liang opened the event with a summary of the international student committee’s mission to “provide opportunities for international students on campus and help them adapt to the diverse culture of the U.S.” He stated that the committee hopes to improve the well being of the students by giving resources such as housing options and improving social engagement at UCR.
He mentioned the difficulties he faced communicating with international students domestically and abroad. He emphasized language barriers and cultural differences as major obstacles that come with traveling. The first speaker following Liang was international student, Sathish Kumar. Kumar described his time living in India, Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong and detailed how being exposed to a “new culture can be a really fun challenge.” Moving to an environment where he did not understand the language and had to ask for help in translating, Kumar had to adapt to countries with different cultures and languages. Integrating himself into the food culture was another thing which he grew accustomed to.
Kumar spoke of the way people eat with their hands in India while people in Korea eat with chopsticks. Kumar highlighted people from different places have a different life outlook through traditions and culture. He concluded that “when you get comfortable with new people, you open yourself to new perspectives in life.”
Subham Barua, who was born and raised in Bangladesh, discussed the universal perspective on poverty. He went on to present examples of the extreme poverty foreign people must face compared to those in the U.S. and other privileged nations that have less severe forms of poverty. Barua spoke on how hunger and homelessness is a prominent issue in many of these impoverished countries.
“We need to change our mindset on what poverty is and how we should treat it in the future,” stated Barua. He went on to state, “What I realized after coming to the U.S. and studying political science is that our notion of how to help people in poverty is very backdated.” Barua asserted that since the U.S’s economy is so globalized right now, people in urban areas are separated from people in rural areas.
Barua stated that providing aid and donations to homeless people will not help them. He asserted that this causes homeless and hungry individuals to become dependent on aid, which disincentives them to find work, and leads to them being unable to support themselves in the long run. Therefore, they will not be able to “extract themselves out of poverty,” stated Barua. Barua said that to help these impoverished people, they must be provided with the tools, skills and opportunities to support themselves to get out of poverty.
International student, Yuvraj Kataria spoke of his Indian background and travels to 15 countries since he was 10 years old. He mentioned his time in a primarily white Minnesota high school that had no diversity. Kataria compared Minnesota to the largely diverse California which he admires.
Cole also spoke of his first experience traveling when he joined a UCR program to go to Japan and work with Japanese students on their leadership skills and English. He talked about the difficulties he faced when he traveled to Japan and constantly doubted his reasons for traveling to the country. However, Cole maintained that during his struggles traveling, he kept the mentality that he traveled abroad to meet new people and make connections with them.
Stephanie Warren who was born in the Republic of Georgia talked of the language barrier she had to overcome when moving to New York with her family. Even after teaching herself English, Warren said that she was teased for her accent and had to adapt to the way people talked in her environment. She described how she received a high school scholarship to travel to Italy which inspired her pursuit of a career in international education. Katie Hsieh spoke of her experience traveling to Japan and her struggles adapting to her environment. She described her difficulty meeting new people and socializing with people from Japan. However, Hsieh concluded that through her travels, she grew to be more social and open with others.
The event ended at 7:40 p.m.