Episode 16 – YASMIN NGUYEN, UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD – HOW TO THINK, HOW TO ARGUE, HOW TO ARTICULATE
Even as a third-culture kid growing up in a dynamic environment, changes are hard. Now in her second term at the University of Oxford, Yasmin Nguyen reflects upon her move to university with Michael, and shares her experience of gaining new perspectives throughout this journey. As a graduate of Shrewsbury International School, a Bangkok international school operating on the UK education system, one would’ve thought that this transition would be easier — but a variety of factors led Yasmin to feel completely foreign in this environment, and more importantly, learn critically about her own experiences in the process.
Michael and Yasmin first discuss the topic of culture — who they are, how that’s been traditionally defined, and how they’ve continued to subvert this expectation as third-culture individuals. While names, nationalities, or religion has historically been synonymous with identity, Michael elaborates on this, expressing how this isn’t necessarily true in today’s world, and how this is what makes this generation of kids different, unique, and exciting. They talk about they implications that this trend in identity has on our future political world.
Yasmin then shares her experience at Oxford realizing that for the first time in her life, she was a minority within her own community. Michael tells a similar experience of first moving to Japan, and both agree upon several key takeaways from the experience. With the theme of identity and belonging being critically explored, the two make their way through through several perspectives ranging from gender and race to religion and national identity. Overall, Yasmin shares how being exposed to this environment helped reflect on her race, privilege, and identity, and asserts that leaving the ‘Bangkok bubble’ helped put things into perspective. As a result, Yasmin feels more aware and comfortable in her own skin — of who she is, what she represents, and her perception of herself.