Oxford College sophomore Rachel Chang is known to wear multiple hats around campus. Every day, she balances being a student and a resident advisor along with her other leadership position at Oxford to the best of her ability. However, the balancing act is nothing too new to her because Chang has been balancing multiple cultural identities her whole life.
Chang’s mother, who is from Hong Kong, and her father, who is from Taiwan, decided to raise her in a very culturally diverse household.
They decided to combine their cultures with an American one when raising Chang and her two siblings.
While both cultures are associated with China, Hong Kong and Taiwan are not necessarily Chinese.
In fact, both countries have their own strong sense of nationality and not necessarily strongly rooted with China.
“I do not consider myself as someone who has roots in mainland China since Hong Kong and Taiwan are both island countries,” said Chang. Even their way of thinking is a lot different with China being communist and Hong Kong and Taiwan are more democratic.”
When it came time for Chang to choose where she wanted to go to school, she knew she wanted to go to school in the United States. She was attracted to Oxford College because it offered her the opportunity to have a small and big college experience.
She thought two years at the smaller Oxford campus was a perfect transition tool for the bigger Atlanta campus for the final two years of her college career.
Another important aspect that Oxford offered that Chang liked was its many different student leadership opportunities.
“I thought it would be a good place to learn how to be a better leader. There are so many opportunities here to get involved.”
Chang has definitely taken advantage of these opportunities. She was an AmeriCorps Bonner Leader her freshman year and was required to serve 300 hours of service in the community.
This year, she is a resident advisor, another big and time-consuming responsibility.
Although Chang is not involved with Bonner this year, service and social change are still passions of hers. Earlier this school year, she has hosted multiple projects on how to stop sex trafficking in the world.
Chang has been very concerned with this human rights issue since high school.
She has worked tirelessly on campus to create more awareness towards this global problem but realizes that it is quite the challenge.
“Human trafficking is a very complex situation. It is very hard to eradicate it if people are doing it illegally.”
Human trafficking, which is the world’s second most lucrative criminal business right after drug trade, is the trade of human beings to provide forced labor, sexual slavery or the extraction of organs and tissue.
Unfortunately, this issue has been on the back burner of priorities of world leaders, but Chang thinks something needs to be done to help the victims of human trafficking and do something to try to prevent it.
She intends to pursue a law degree so she can better advocate for human rights and make a positive change concerning this issue.
Chang is thankful that she is pursuing her education in the U.S. rather than in Asia because she enjoys the sense of freedom to choose what she wants to study.
“In America, you pursue what you love and what makes you happy, but in Hong Kong and Taiwan, it is more tied to what you have to do to support your family. You must do what is right.”
While Chang is enjoying the liberal arts education, she does keep that perspective of pleasing her family in her mind at all times.
She is constantly caught in a balancing act between her different cultural identities.
“They are all parts of me; I can’t say one is better than the other. I am really thankful for having all these different pieces in my life because I think it has helped me have a more open perspective on where people come from and learning how to accept different people.”