Previously in these blogs I’ve written about how I became involved in a group I never thought I would join: HanChum Traditional Korean Dance Team. I joined the fall semester of my freshman year, and now I’m six semesters in and absolutely loving the experience. I’m not Korean, and I had never done any kind of traditional dancing.
I have really enjoyed, and I continue to thoroughly love, my time spent learning the choreography of traditional Korean dance and also the culture of both traditional and modern Korea. I’ve also made amazing friends along the way. This exposure to another Asian culture besides my own Chinese culture has opened my eyes and really caused me to embrace intersectionality.
Through HanChum, I was for some time involved with CAPSU, the umbrella organization for Asian groups on campus such as HanChum. It was there that I first had so much exposure to a wide range of Asian and Asian American students on campus. I really got to interact with so many people who had such similar experiences of growing up in America and who went through many experiences that I went through. Because of this, I was able to see a bit of a gap in representation: I wasn’t able to find a space for LGBTQ+ and APID/A (Asian, Pacific Islander, Desi / American) folks on campus. I thought it was important that there is one, because it was a space that I had been looking for during my time at Cornell, and I hadn’t found it for two years. Now, there’s oasis, an organization started by, created for and run by LGBTQ+ and APID/A Cornell students. It’s amazing to see this space which has come to be, and it’s pretty awesome that this all arose from my taking a step into a group that I never thought I would be a part of. I’ve attended the annual ECAASU (East Coast Asian American Student Union) conference in Pittsburgh to meet with other Asian American students and to grow our community, locally and nationally, together.
And to think, all this because I joined a traditional Korean dance team. I think it goes to show that you really don’t know where this college journey will take you, but if you try to branch out, explore things and take the opportunities that are so hard to find in places that aren’t a college campus, I think it will be incredibly rewarding to spread your wings and see where the wind will take you.