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Contact Zone

Jessie Zong's picture

For my project, I wish to explore the contact zone of multicultural students: specifically, Asian Americans. In this class, we talked a lot about contact zones and contact zones in various different forms and perspectives. As a multicultural or multiracial student, you are constantly put into a contact zone of conflicting and clashing cultures that you have to accept. In this project, I want to explore different experiences of different multicultural Bryn Mawr students. Last weekend, I went to the ASA: work in translation performance, and many Bryn Mawr students shared their different experiences of living through this lens of being Asian American. I would like to conduct questions and schedule interviews to ask about their experience of being Asian American at Bryn Mawr. I want to analyze the similarities and differences of these experiences. 

As an Asian American, myself, I am constantly in this contact zone of conflicting and clashing cultures. A background story about myself, I was born in Arcadia, California and lived there for the first 3 years of my life then me and my family moved to China, where I spent most of adolescent and teenage life. I went to international schools all my life, that just means that I was getting “an American” curriculum education and spoke english in school. Up till 7th grade, we never thought about going back to America for school but me and my family agreed and decided that going abroad would give us the best education. My older brother left first then followed me. We both went to a private boarding school in Concord, Massachusetts. Concord, a very rich and white town was kind of a shock to us. People looked at us weird and surprised because we spoke perfect english but wasn’t white. As an Asian America, I have also found out that it is hard to fit in. You are constantly stuck between two groups, the asians and the americans. You never really fully know how to fit in without being fake or not yourself. In my own experience, orientation my freshman year was extremely hard. Everyone has preconceived assumptions and that was extremely hard to understand and accept. 

From my own experiences, I want to get through to people, especially people who don’t understand these issues. I want to others to understand these contact zones through different people’s perspectives. 



hannah's picture

hey jessie!

i saw your post on serendip (i was in this esem last year, in jody's section -- best. esem. ever) and just wanted to let you know that i see you, and i know what it's like to feel "stuck in-between", and i think your project sounds lovely. <3 

jccohen's picture

Jessie Zong,

This sounds like a rich contact zone for you to explore, and I like the idea of your exploring through 1) your own experiences as a starting point, 2) attending (and documenting) events such as the ASA performance, and 3) interviewing Asian American students at Bryn Mawr.  As you noted, your interest is close to Dorothy’s, and she and Francesca have laid out some additional ways of investigating these questions.  Please go ahead and contact them at this point to propose that the three of you work together on this project.

I look forward to learning from your project!