My American-educated professor threw a farewell party for me yesterday. After some chat chit, she finally confirmed my suspicion and told me she didn’t want me to go to Auckland.
“I didn’t want to talk too much about it because I didn’t want to say anything negative. I was hoping that you’d change your mind and go back to the States to get a PhD.”
I told her, “I think it’s the right choice for me. My supervisor shares similar research interests with me, and he also has an American background. I believe he chose me for a reason. I’m not going there only for the degree. I want to enjoy the life experience. I’ve done my research. I think I’ll like it there.”
She said, “If you think it’s the best choice, I’ll support you because I want the best for you. I just don’t want you to come back without your American accent.”
“I will adapt! I probably will retain my accent, but I’m sure I’ll pick up a few Kiwi slangs.”
Even when I was doing my undergrad in the States, I was never the one to hang out with “my own people” and spoke my native language every day. I never want to be one of those people who bring their own countries with them when they move away. As immigrants/people make a foreign county their new home, they need to recognize the need to assimilate. If they liked their previous lifestyle and culture so much, they shouldn’t have come. In Hong Kong, we see immigrants or tourists who barge into our homeland and force us adapt to their habits. It enrages us, and I’m not doing that in Kiwiland.
I may insist on using skincare I’ve brought from home and wearing shoes instead of going bare feet, but I’ll keep an open mind, even more so than when I was in America.
Racism is something that we hear every day in the news, but I can honestly say during my 3.5 years spent in the US, I never once felt discriminated. On the contrary, the fact that I’m Asian made people think that I’m smart and hardworking and good at math. Many minorities have the mentality to assume it’s racism as long as they don’t get what they want. They don’t blame themselves. They never think that it’s because of their own shortcomings.
I hear people saying racism is a big problem in New Zealand and Australia. I wonder how many of those people have actually tried their best to make the natives feel like they are one of them.