Our final first-year student blogger introduction comes from Victoria, who joined Fletcher via the Map Your Future pathway. Victoria’s a Wellesley grad back in the Boston area after working in China for a few years. We’re happy she decided to return to New England!
Hi Everyone! I’m Victoria, first year MALD and I’m so excited to share my Fletcher journey with you!
One of the things I love most about Fletcher is how open we all are to the question: “Where are you from?” No answer is treated as too unusual. I identify as a Third Culture Chinese-American originally from Los Angeles, CA but raised in various Chinese cities: Shenzhen, Xiamen, and Shanghai. I can now thank my parents for making me learn Chinese at the tender age of 8 in a fully immersive environment.
I still remember when I was just a Map Your Future program applicant as a senior in college. Studying just outside of Boston in the picturesque Wellesley College (see photo for some fall foliage, BTW if anyone wants hear me rant about how beautiful Wellesley is, come talk to me in person or make a visit!), I had the chance to come for what I thought was going to be an “informational interview” only to be asked at reception, “oh you mean the evaluative interview?”
While I smiled, and said “right, that” my true internal reaction was more like this. Still, I carried on and walked into this interview, which was with an Albanian international MALD student. The heavens sent me their blessings as I was able to speak about my summer internship in Bosnia-Herzegovina as well as my observations on the ground as 2015 summer was during the worst moments in the migrant crisis. I could only guess and think that my interviewer seemed to like me.
Fletcher truly won me over with two minor details: 1) the more frivolous one involves two ridiculous and hyperactive dogs I bumped into in the hall while leaving Fletcher 2) Summer 2016 is the actual deadline for the MYF program and Liz Wagoner in Admissions emailed me to check in about any further updates and noted that I have already been “waiting for a long time.” I continued to wait and by July, I nervously opened my email to find my acceptance letter. Finally, I had somewhere to be in 2 years’ time!
Before then, I kept wondering if it was a bad idea I never took my GRE again since I took it a week after flying from Shanghai back to Boston after winter break and was still jetlagged (I do not recommend, just no). Maybe I should have applied to more schools. Maybe this, maybe that. Imposter Syndrome is a very real fear to overcome. But here I am, after three years of working in China where I worked a research on Sino-Canadian research and technology transfer and then at an education consulting startup transitioning into a corporate model – would be happy to talk about the general education industry and edutech in relation to citizen diplomacy and attempts to innovate in China to anyone interested).
During orientation, I was warmed when the staff saw my Wellesley passport case and said “Welcome back to Boston!” It’s been a true homecoming, and I’ve made myself busy at Fletcher – maybe even a bit too busy. Between classes, my virtual internship with the US State Department Center for Global Engagement, involvement in various clubs, as well as all the duties of being a functional adult, it’s been a whirlwind journey.
Just last week, I attended the International Business Council’s New York Career Trek where I had the opportunity to visit the World Economic Forum and Tusk Ventures. The alumni I’ve met in NYC have been phenomenally kind and open with sharing advice and tips to thrive in graduate school as well as about the kind of work that is actually done in the field for various industries as well as how they can be different from what we learn in the classroom. With their encouragement, I’ve become more confident in pursuing my interests in the International Communications and Business for Social Impact tracks as I’m beginning to see the importance of understanding ICT technologies to see how they influence and change civil society. Would love to find a way for my future capstone to look at the intersection of public diplomacy, ICT technologies, and ways for businesses to ethically utilize these tools and resources. But until then, just going to keep on exploring!
Over the long weekend, we also had our annual Asia Night, which was also my debut with the Ambassachords, our beloved Fletcher acapella group [Editor’s note: check the video below!]. As a former member of the Wellesley College Choir, it’s been healing for me to get back into music as an outlet of creative expression and I’ve enjoyed looking at world music from across the world. We did a Maori piece for Asia Night and I hope that people can see and appreciate how it fits into the fabric of the Indo-Pacific Oceania geographic and cultural fabric. I also performed with two classmates from Mainland China to two famous Chinese pop songs, so that was also super fun! I’m always looking for new and interesting music, so if you, my good friend reading this post, happen to have suggestions, send them my way
Just realizing I’ve rambled on for quite a bit already so going to sign off soon. Thanks for sharing this journey with me so far. Just want to give Fletcher’s Map Your Future Program a shout out because it’s been a helpful loose structure to help me figure out if I want to commit to graduate school or continue working first. The option and security of school down the road lessened the stress to some degree and forced me to think more constructively about the opportunities I can take between acceptance and enrollment. I’ve learned to make the most of whatever comes my way and have grown to be someone I would not have been able to envision just a few years earlier.
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND college seniors give it a hard thought to see if it’s something that could be beneficial to your particular journey.
Alright alright, it’s actually time to sign off, now.
Peace out and thrive on~