Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Cece Lee's blog

Cece Lee's picture

Small Classes : Privilege

One of the lines in the readings in 'A Pedagogy for Liberation' that stuck to me was "the right to have a small discussion begins as a class privilege". It took me back to high school where all of my friends were scrambling to get into a large universities and I was the only one who was applying to small liberal arts colleges. My peers and the school administration did not understand why I wanted to go to a small liberal arts college and have undermined my decision to attend Bryn Mawr College. However, when I shared my classroom experiences to my friends over facebook, they expressed a hint of jealousy because they never had an opportunity in class to speak up or have a dialogue with the professor. Their voices would get lost in the crowd and they never had an opportunity to build a relationship with the professor whereas at Bryn Mawr, I could engage with professors easily inside and outside of the classroom. Though my peers were at big name colleges and were lauded for their decisions, I now understand that I am privileged to have the opportunity to engage with my professors. Friere stresses that education is not simply the relaying of information from the teacher to a student, it is the level exchange between the teacher and the student that makes education an art form and a learning opportunity for both parties. 

Cece Lee's picture

English Names

I am a customs person and we have just welcomed several new members onto our hall this past week. One of these students is an international student from another dorm and my first years have been very sweet and accommodating to her and I was very touched by their actions. Most international students go by an English name for comfort’s sake and it cuts down on confusion when names are called out during class or when interacting with people. I too go by an English name because my name is constantly mispronounced/misspelled and the mispronunciation of my name is actually another Korean name and so I would never know if someone was calling me or another person and would cause A LOT of confusion. My Korean name is a very big part of my identity and I value what my name stands for because it shows my heritage and the history of my family (most Korean names have unique Chinese roots and belong to certain regions of the country and so lineages can be easily traced). I feel as if we lose a bit of our identity when we decide to go by an English name because most students pick a name that they have read in a book, heard on tv or in a movie or was given to them by friends or strangers. What really touched me was that my first years really made an effort to learn our newcomer’s real name and other international students’ names on our hall. Being called by our real names brings, at least to me, comfort and I feel little bit more ‘whole’. 

Cece Lee's picture

Lee's and Park's

After an excruciating 13 hour flight from Seoul to New York, I waited in line to get through immigration. I was pulled away from the line by an officer after peering into my passport and led into a plain room. On our way there, the officer jokingly commented on how there were “so many of you Lee’s and Park’s” (which is partially true - Korea's most common last names are Lee, Jeong, Kim and Park but each of these last names have a very unique Chinese root and can be distinguished by region, class, and clan) and I nervously laughed and agreed, unknowingly giving into a micro-aggressive comment and leading him to think that statments like that would not offend anyone. The room was filled other international students like me and there were families with young children who were anxious to start their vacation. I was not in any trouble and the immigration office just merely wanted to make sure and interview us that we were indeed college students. The process took a long time and I sat in the room staring at the blank walls and listening to the conversation amongst the officers. However, an instance that stuck out to me was when an officer read someone’s documents and started laughing and passed it around with his coworkers. The officers were laughing at a name because it sounded funny but what struck me the most was that they did not care that we were in front of them and could hear and understand every word.

Cece Lee's picture

Cecilia, Seoyeon, Khwa Pu Thin

I have always struggled answering questions like "where are you from?" "where's home?" "are you Korean?" "what's your name?" because I don't really have one direct answer for any of these questions. I was born in Seoul, South Korea but my family relocated to Yangon, Myanmar when I was a mere 2 months old. I have lived there for 10 years and spoke Burmese, English, and Korean at home and went to an American international school where I briefly learned Spanish and French (and forgot) and went by 3 different names. I then moved to Hanoi, Vietnam and lived there for about 6 years where I was surrounded by remnants of French and Russian colonialism which lingered in the architechture, language, and food. I also went to an international school where I was friends with sons and daughters of UN diplomats who shared similar nomadic backgrounds as I did and never really knew which country to cheer for during the Olympics or the World Cup. I finally moved back 'home' to Seoul, South Korea to finish my last few years of high school before coming to the U.S for the first time. It was until I came to Bryn Mawr where I had to sit down and think about where I was from and how I identified myself. I was always surrounded by friends who, like me, understood that we have a blend of cultures and we called ourselves 'Third Culture Kids'. We knew to expect to hear a string of different countries someone has lived in when you asked them where they were from.

Syndicate content