UBC Asian Studies Class of 2024 Graduates Yearbook

Grad composite photo of undergraduate class of 2024 (partial).
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To the graduating class of 2024,

The Department of Asian Studies heartily congratulates you on the completion of your degree in Asian Studies from the University of British Columbia! We are extremely proud of you – an impressive achievement and hard-earned success overall!

To celebrate you, we composed this “UBC Asian Studies Class of 2024 Graduates Yearbook” page featuring graduates sharing their perspectives on Asian Studies and thanks to those who supported their academic journeys.

2024 Graduates Yearbook

Master’s degree

Master of Arts in Asian Studies (Japan)

Thesis title: The encoding of whiteness and blackness in Japanese manga

Supervisor: Sharalyn Orbaugh

Embarking on the path of Japanese Studies is not just an academic pursuit but a journey into the heart of Japanese culture, society, and communication norms. Through my personal exploration in Asian Studies, I've gained profound insights into the intricate societal mechanisms and paradigms of Japan. This understanding has empowered me to engage more effectively with Japanese individuals, bridging cultural divides and fostering genuine connections. As I delve deeper into Japanese Studies, I find myself developing a profound appreciation for Japan's rich heritage and societal values. This journey ignites within me a fervent passion for promoting cross-cultural understanding and collaboration on a global scale.

Reflecting on my academic journey, I'm profoundly grateful for the constant support of my family. Though physically distant, their unwavering encouragement and mental support have been my guiding light through the trials and tribulations along the way. This journey has been anything but brief, fraught with moments of self-doubt, questioning, and emotional struggles. Yet, through the phone calls, my family has provided me with comfort and relief, helping me to persevere and stay grounded. Their presence, although separated by distance, has been my bedrock of strength and resilience, for which I'm deeply thankful.

Master of Arts in Asian Studies (Japan)

Thesis title: Mediation within a moral economy: fan and industry tensions in the localization of Japanese video game series Ryū Ga Gotoku/Yakuza

Supervisor: Hyung-Gu Lynn & Sharalyn Orbaugh

To realize the importance of Asian Studies, one has to situate Asia in a geographical, historical, and cultural context concerning world events. The discipline of Asian Studies provides an avenue to recognize, understand, and analyze the ebbs and flows of this transnational cultural exchange from a critical lens. As a member of the Asian diaspora who avidly consumes Asian media, I find that the knowledge, theory, and skills acquired in this field have helped me strengthen my identity and appreciate my roots at a deeper level.

My heartfelt gratitude to my co-supervisors, Dr. Hyung-Gu Lynn and Dr. Sharalyn Orbaugh for their invaluable advice and support throughout my master’s program. Dr. Lynn has taught me everything I know about popular culture in an Asian context. His witty humour and profound comments during academic discussions were a source of joy during this learning journey. Dr. Orbaugh was a pillar of strength through her constant encouragement, and I have learned a tremendous amount under her tutelage.

Master of Arts in Japanese Contemporary Literature 

Thesis title: I am the worst woman: the disintegration of the idealised feminine and the final girl in The Forest of Love

Supervisor: Colleen Laird & Sharalyn Orbaugh

Asian Studies has taught me to look at things from new and different angles and that there is so much more to Asian Studies than East Asian popular culture. Asian Studies is rich in creative minds who, when working together, contribute significantly to the humanities.

I am deeply thankful for my friends and colleagues The Besties: Ying and Iman, and Skyler, who helped me understand that a degree is a collaborative project that changes and grows with you. You are not alone; there are like minds around you who constantly show you kindness and love.

Bachelor’s degree

Major in Asian Area Studies

A background in Asian Studies is vital for anyone who is interested in doing business in Asia. It has given me the cultural understanding to continue my career path with confidence. I am interested in working in Japan in the future. I know the cultural knowledge I gained as an Asian Studies major will be beneficial for years to come. I am excited about what the future holds and am proud to be a UBC Asian Studies grad.

I am very thankful for my mom. Her support, patience and encouragement helped to make my return to UBC a successful one. I will always be grateful to her.

Major in Asian Area Studies

Asian Studies is crucial for understanding the rich cultural, political, and economic complexities of one of the world's most dynamic regions. This degree has given me deep cultural insights, analytical skills, and proficiency in an Asian language. It has broadened my worldview and fostered a strong appreciation for diversity and global interconnectedness. I am now better equipped to engage with international issues and contribute positively to cross-cultural dialogue. This program has truly shaped my perspective and prepared me for a globalized world.

Major in Asian Language and Culture (Chinese Literature)

Asian Studies as a major has a diverse and comprehensive curriculum. Literature, movies, music, and comics become the tools of learning, and one can thus analyze everything about Asian societies from a variety of perspectives, including politics, language, and popular culture.

I possess the highest degree of freedom of choice in this journey to focus on my favorite field of literature and language.

Major in Asian Area Studies, Minor in ACAM

Going into Asian Studies was originally a way for me to learn more about my own culture, but quickly also became a way for me to personally connect to my own heritage. In my four years, my ideas of what makes a civilization and society were challenged, I learned how immigration affects the Asian diaspora and the subsequent generations, and I was forced to critically think about how the past truly has an effect on our lives and cultures today. I continue to be fascinated by the diversity in Asian cultures throughout history and am excited to see the impacts and effects that Asia will have on this global world we live in.

I want to thank all the Asian Studies, ACAM, and ASIX professors I had, each of them broadening my horizons in many different ways. I'm also extremely grateful to my parents who have supported me throughout my whole education journey.

Major in Asian Language and Culture

For me, Asian Studies is a bridge to connect me and the culture I am interested in. During these four years of study, I went from not being able to speak Japanese to being able to communicate with Japanese people, and at the same time, I was given more opportunities to understand Japanese literature and culture more deeply. I will continue to study Japanese literature and hope to work in a related field in the future.

I would like to thank all the professors I've met on my learning journey. They have provided me with plenty of knowledge and new perspectives. I would like to specifically thank Professor Kyoko Kobayashi Hillman and Ihhwa Kim , they gave me a lot of help during the journey of learning Japanese. I am also very grateful to Professor Shota Iwasaki, His course led to my interest in gender and family relationships as expressed in Japanese literature, and became a subject I want to research in the future. Finally, I would like to thank Karen, my best friend at UBC, who has supported me a lot in my life and my studies.

Major in Asian Area Studies, Minor in Creative Writing

The importance of Asian Studies for me was to learn about Asian history and understand more about my own cultural background as an Asian born Canadian. This degree gave me the opportunity to connect with my grandparents about where they come from and how their experience differs from mine. I'm looking forward to expanding on what I've learned in the future!

I feel thankful for all the professors I've had from the Department of Asian Studies! I'm especially thankful for all of the language professors I've had in Mandarin, Japanese, and Korean. They were all so kind and encouraging. Those were my favourite classes to take because of them.

Major in Asian Language and Culture

I believe the importance of Asian Studies lies in understanding the diverse cultures and histories of one of the world's most influential regions. Through engaging with various beliefs, studying unique cultures, and exploring their core values and literatures, Asian Studies introduces the rich and vibrant historical narratives to the world.

What I most want to share is my experience in the CLP Chinese Language Program. As a volunteer, I helped other students understand Chinese and worked with TAs and professors to learn how to convey the charm of the language. This experience taught me how to professionally assist students with their Chinese speaking, learning the Chinese culture in different views with non-native Chinese speakers, which has been very important for my future career choices and current impact.

Major in Asian Area Studies

By pursuing Asian Studies as my major, I immersed myself in the rich tapestry of Asian cultures. Delving into the philosophies of Buddhism and Taoism, I found profound wisdom that has deeply influenced my personal growth. These ancient teachings have instilled in me a sense of tranquility and a balanced approach to life's challenges. As I graduate, I carry with me not just academic knowledge but also a profound understanding of the importance of the peace of mind and the right attitude in navigating daily affairs.

I'm immensely grateful for the unwavering support and guidance of my professors and classmates throughout my academic journey. Their expertise, encouragement, and camaraderie have been invaluable in shaping my growth and learning experiences. Each interaction, whether in lectures, discussions, or collaborative projects, has left an indelible mark on my journey. I extend my heartfelt thanks to all my professors for their dedication to teaching and mentoring, and to my classmates for their friendship and shared pursuit of knowledge.

Major in Asian Area Studies

As a Chinese, Asian Studies is pretty good for me to learn about Asian history and politics.

I am so glad to have the opportunity for this academic journey. My professor and classmates are so supportive and helpful.

Major in Asian Area Studies

Asian Studies highlights diverse histories and cultures. My time in the department has helped me become a more critical thinker and shown me the importance of intersectionality and societal context. Many think that you leave university with all the answers; when in reality I am more curious and have even more questions now. The difference is I have gained the skills to research and piece together the answers (even if those answers are complex and require 4-5,000 words to fully explain).

I am grateful for the professors whose passion not only for the subject matter but for the act of teaching and genuine care for students made all the difference. I am thankful for the classmates who became friends.

Major in Chinese Language and Culture, Minor in Korean Language and Culture

Asia is a very large region that is home to many diverse cultures and languages and I think that Asian Studies is important in understanding Asia's diverse cultural landscape. Through my studies, I gained a good understanding of the historical, cultural, linguistic, and political factors shaping Asia today. Going forward, I hope to continue learning and work in a field where I can use the skills I gained, whether it be in Canada or abroad.

While I am thankful to all my teachers for their support in my academic journey, it is hard to list everyone. I'm especially thankful for Lu Laoshi, who was my first Chinese teacher in UBC, and has been very supportive till now. I feel that she is a very inspiring and compassionate person and I have truly learned a lot from her. I am also thankful for Lee Anyi Laoshi, as she taught me for a few years and helped me in my application to go on exchange in Taiwan, which greatly improved my Chinese language skills and confidence in using the language.

Major in Asian Language and Culture (Korea), Minor in Asian Canadian & Asian Migration Studies

A degree in Asian Studies has enabled myself in understanding Asia in a global context. This degree has broadened my perspectives and has helped me in honing my critical and analytical skills. Engaging with course materials within the Asian Studies Department as well as the ACAM Department has provided myself with a deeper understanding on how Canada and Asia connect.

I am thankful to all of those who I've had the pleasure of meeting within the Korean program, and the Asian Studies Department. This program has shaped myself into a better person academically and personally.

Major in Asian Area Studies

It gave me a wider understanding of East Asian culture. With the knowledge I have gathered from my degree, I want to use it as best as I can to create a diverse, inclusive and equitable environment in my future workspace.

I am thankful for all the support I have received from my friends, parents and teachers.

Major in Asian Language and Culture (Chinese Literature)

I believe it is fascinating learning in Asian Studies with my undergrad years at UBC. With my Major in Asian Language and Culture, I learnt from a variety of cultures, with different countries mainly in East Asia including China, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea. And with India dating back to the time of the Mughal Empire. Overall, it has been a great experience and journey getting to know other countries’ culture and traditions, instead of just focusing on Chinese Culture (which I am more familiar with). But there’s always something new and more to be learned from your existing experience or knowledge, as with the saying, “One is never too old to learn”. Thus, even after graduation from Undergrad, I will never stop learning, either with the focus in Asian Studies or not.

I am thankful for the opportunity and experiences I had in UBC over the last 4-5 years. I have gained so much knowledge and experiences with my studies here, in such a beautiful campus. Time really flies, it still feels like yesterday when I first started studying at UBC (I guess partly due to the two years of COVID). After coming back to campus I feel like time has passed even faster, and didn’t have more time to enjoy studying on campus. Thankfully, I am able to start graduate school in September, I can then enjoy studying for longer periods of time on campus. Overall, studying in UBC used to be a dream for me in high school, but now it has become a reality, and I am graduating as an undergraduate. I can’t wait to graduate and to start graduate school. Hopefully, I will be able to work as a staff in UBC someday.

Major in Asian Area Studies

The Asian Area Studies major has fostered a mature, reflective worldview, preparing me to adapt to diverse environments and embody global citizenship. After years of being a professional accountant, I am inspired to learn about the wider world and embrace the changes in my life once again.

I would like to thank UBC for giving me the second-degree opportunity, all my professors and peers, my family, and my boss for allowing me to pursue my academic journey without distractions. I am glad I have completed my degree under the pressure of being a full-time student and employee.

“Believe that you will succeed, and you will” ~for all my friends at UBC.

Major in Asian Area Studies, Minor in Education

Growing up in Montreal and Vancouver, Canada, I was immersed in Western culture, which instilled in me a profound appreciation for its intricacies. However, recognizing that true language mastery extends beyond mere linguistic proficiency, I embarked on a journey into Asian Studies. Understanding that language is intertwined with culture, I delved into the nuances of both Chinese and English cultures, seeking a holistic comprehension. This multidimensional approach not only guided me through my master's studies but also laid the foundation for my career in linguistic teaching. By bridging the cultural gap between these two languages, I facilitate effective cross-cultural communication, leveraging my unique perspective gained from cultural immersion.

I wish to extend my sincere gratitude to Professor Fuyubi, and Professor Guo (Weiting) for their exceptional classes.

Major in Asian Language and Culture (Korea), Minor in Asian Language and Culture (China)

My degree in Asian Studies was an amazing way to immerse myself in many different facets of multiple rich cultures, such as history, literature, international relations, and language. My studies broadened my perspective and introduced me to concepts I never would have known to research on my own. I look forward to continuing my studies of these concepts in my own time.

I want to shoutout Professors Eurie Shin, Owen Stampton, Biz Nijdam, and Naveena Naqvi for fostering my love of learning throughout my time at UBC. I am eternally grateful to my family and partner for their ongoing support.

Major in Asian Area Studies

Major in Asian Area Studies

I'm proud and thankful to be graduating with a degree in Asian Area Studies. This field enabled me to gain a profound understanding of diverse Asian cultures and languages. This degree helped me develop better critical thinking and analytical skills that will most definitely benefit me in my future careers.

I am thankful for my professors, family, and friends for their ongoing support towards my academic journey at UBC.

Major in Asian Language and Culture (Chinese Lit)

Majoring in Asian Studies allow people to gain a greater understanding of another culture that is different from their own.

Even during the COVID-19 epidemic, everyone still insists on participating in courses online.

Major in Asian Language and Culture (Chinese Language)

The courses offered by Asian Studies not only exposed me to the diversity of Asian cultures, but also brought to light the stories and histories of many countries and ethnic groups that I was unfamiliar with.

I did not have to be pushed into taking science courses that I disliked, except for the required credits. At the same time, my major course instructors were always unstinting in answering any questions I had.

Major in Asian Language and Culture (Chinese Lit), Minor in Economics

Asian studies help me develop critical thinking, communication, time management, and other skills, broadening my cognitive boundaries. It helps me realize the significance of both knowledge input and output. Besides reading and learning, we also need creativity and new ideas. And I hope my worldview is based on independent, deep thinking, rather than just following what others say.

I feel very fortunate to have met many knowledgeable and warm professors who inspired me to pursue literature and culture. I am very grateful to my friends, who have been with me through many challenging times with encouragement and company. Life is a long journey, and what the university leaves us with is far more than just knowledge acquisition. I would like to particularly express my gratitude to Professors Josephine Chiu-Duke, Xiaowen Xu, Renren Yang, Alison Bailey, Li-jung Lee, Zheng Cai, and Xueshun Liu. They helped open up my understanding of academics and influenced me with words and deeds about how to study and be a good person. And I genuinely hope our campus becomes more and more beautiful!

Major in Asian Area Studies

I am very honoured to join the UBC Asian Studies family! As an Asian, I have gained deeper understanding of various groups in Asia from different perspectives through taking Asian studies courses. During my studies, I was fortunate to continue improving my Japanese skills and have the opportunity to learn Cantonese. Asian Studies deepened my understanding of the cultural diversity of Asia, providing a comprehensive perspective to explore the language, culture, history, politics and society of different countries and regions in Asia. It equipped me with critical thinking, cross-cultural communication and research skills. This learning experience will inspire me to pursue a career in cultural exchange and promoting international cooperation.

I am very grateful to all my supportive professors, teaching assistants, family, classmates, and friends. Because of your guidance and help, I have continued to grow and improve and become a better version of myself. I would like to express special gratitude to the professors in the Japanese and Cantonese programs whose profound knowledge has greatly enriched my understanding of Asian cultures and languages.

Dual Major in History and Asian Studies

In the global age where Asia is increasingly influential and important to the people worldwide, understanding Asian culture and history is crucial.

I feel thankful for the instructors who were utmost helpful when I was in need, and without them, I wouldn't be where I am at today.

Double Major in Asian language and culture (focus on Korea) & French

I learned a lot about Chinese and Korean history, as well as the languages. It will help me build knowledge for when I step into the translation field in the future.

I am thankful that I chose Korea as my focus because I got to know great profs that helped me along my academic journey.

Major in Asian Language and Culture (Korea)

The study of Asian Language and Culture has been a transformative journey. Delving into the intricacies of Hangul, from its modern nuances to its ancient roots, has enriched my comprehension of the Korean language's evolution and unveiled the profound beauty inherent within its structure. Yet, beyond the linguistic aspect lies a broader exploration of the East Asian cultures in a global context, which has widened my perspective and deepened the understanding of my own culture. As I step into the future, I carry with me the wisdom gleaned from these experiences, poised to navigate the boundless horizons ahead.

I am immensely thankful to my family and friends for their unwavering support throughout the long voyage of learning. Special gratitude goes to Dr. Ross King, whose exceptional teaching ignited my passion for the Korean language, particularly Hanmun. Dr. King’s guidance and dedication have been instrumental in shaping my path. With heartfelt appreciation, I celebrate the enriching experiences and knowledge gained, paving the way for an enhanced understanding of Asian Language and Culture. Here’s to the mentors and loved ones who make the journey meaningful.

Major in Asian Area Studies

I learned a lot from the courses offered by Asian Studies, and these courses provided me with different perspectives to study and understand the history and culture of Asia. The events held by the Asian Studies Department also gave me opportunities to interact with many people and make friends.

I would like to thank all the professors who have taught and supported me. Thanks for the UBC Cantonese Language Program. I learned a lot through studying and working in the program. Lastly, I am thankful for my family and friends.