Blog 6: Connecting your studies to your academic exploration

This internship has taught me many unexpected lessons. I am a Social Anthropology major, and coming to take this advocacy communications internship I did not really expect to really quite connect my academic training to my highly politicalized internship work. Yet as my anthro professors always say, anthropology is really about everything and you can find the anthropological question in almost all social phenomenon. So, the anthropologist in me found something highly interesting in my internship work.

I realized in my assignments, working with first-generation Chinese immigrants on the social app WeChat, have allowed me to peak into how complex a social issue this is. First gen Chinese immigrants, come to the United States with the habit of using WeChat exclusively, become indoctrinated with certain political beliefs, sometimes based mostly on “alternative facts.” The information in WeChat is largely short of fact-checking, probably because of the language barrier and the marginalization of the users. Yet little research has been done to study how such political education and mobilization is carried out, and how we can help change or improve it. I know for the longest time that I am interested in academia and particularly social research, so this internship has actually opened my eyes to some potential topic for my proposed doctoral research. Although in the far future, I wouldn’t directly be taking the same role as a communications intern with a nonprofit, this insight has connected to my academic training and future academic plans. I would say that this internship has encouraged me to remain passionate about the cause of civil rights and the protection of minority groups, but also helps me to find a new route to approach it.

One thought on “Blog 6: Connecting your studies to your academic exploration

  • April 30, 2018 at 5:23 pm
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    Hi Yuchen,

    I really value you in-depth engagement processing your remote internship experience. I’m sorry for the difficulties you experienced with intermittent and occasionally terse communication. It does sound like some of the issues grew from working remotely, which is a shame. I absolutely understand the ways in which urgent communications from your workplace became like instructions to get the job done rather than deeper experiences to learn. I found you post on the diversity of the organization very interesting, and it makes sense that a diverse organization would serve even niche advocacy goals. Most exciting from your work with AAAJ is finding a topic that you’d want to research further in your doctoral work. It speaks well of your academic curiosity that you identified this topic and you have a good story (for grad school applications) about how you discovered this topic. I really appreciated your presentation at the end of the semester. Thank you,

    Paul

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