In keeping with the spirit and theme of the International Week celebration, "Your World, Your Story," Outlook invited nine members of the university community -- some from other countries, some from the United States with international experiences -- to interview one another on camera.
Today's video features West Salem, Ohio, native Stephanie Miller and Keng We Koh, who is originally from Singapore. Read a transcript of their conversation:
Stephanie: After all of this world traveling that you have been doing, what brought you to Ohio University?
Keng We: The work of curator at the Overseas Chinese Cultural Center at Alden Library. It brings with it a global dimension and the promise of more traveling and learning more about parts of the world that I have not learned about in my previous studies.
Stephanie: You've done a lot of research on a wide variety of areas, in quite a few different countries. What do you think was the most interesting research that you did and why?
Keng We: I think that the most interesting research, the one that is closest to me, is my earliest research on Chinese temples in Singapore, where I had to interview my own grandfather. Through my interviews with my grandfather and the research about the temple that he was involved with, I got to know my extended family and the brother of his that I didn't know existed for 20 years of my life. It was very close to me, and I was learning something new at the same time. It sort of forced me to put into practice what I have learned in my studies -- in sociology and anthropology and history -- for myself and my own social surroundings.
Stephanie: What is something that you have found in America that you would like to introduce back in Singapore, something that you think your friends back home would enjoy?
Keng We: The outspokenness, the sort of daring and belief in the right to speak out for what you believe in and for your rights. In Singapore, that is something that is often put across more subtly and more indirectly. It is something that has struck me during my stay in America: the frankness in that sense.
Stephanie: You choose Indonesia as the place you'd like to be right now; you'd like to sit in the archives in Indonesia and study. What interests you so much about Indonesia? Why did you pick that country?
Keng We: My research is on Indonesia. I have been there only for short stint. For my Ph.D. research, I have dealt mainly with archives and documents, mainly in the Netherlands. The Netherlands was the former colonizer of Indonesia; a large portion of the archives on Indonesia are in the Netherlands. When you do research about a country, you should spend the bulk of your time in that country. Culturally, ideologically and historically, (the Netherlands) carries a different message about Indonesia than you would get if you were actually there.
Keng We: I see that you've gone to different continents to travel. What made you choose Newcastle and Beijing for your study-abroad programs?
Stephanie: When I went through study-abroad programs at Ohio University, there were two or three different universities that I could have gone to in Australia. I basically only chose Newcastle because it was close to Sydney; it looked like a better location. There were equally competent curricula at all of the universities; it was just closer to Sydney. I ended up being very glad that I chose Newcastle. It had wonderful beaches, but I think that I would have enjoyed myself anywhere in Australia. The location didn't matter all that much.
What is kind of interesting about Beijing is that I knew absolutely nothing about Asia until about two years ago. I went to study in Australia knowing nothing about Australia either. I made so many friends from Japan, Taiwan, China, Singapore, Indonesia -- so many Asian countries. They really inspired me to want to know more about it. When I came back from Australia, my first day back, I dropped Spanish -- which I also enjoyed -- and started taking Chinese. And I just got this idea in my head. My teachers encouraged me: "Why don't you go study in China? Why don't you continue with this?" Ohio University just stared a program in Beijing last summer; I went on the first program to Beijing. I studied there for about six weeks. I got to meet some of my friends that I made back in Australia. I never thought I would see them again. And I went to Japan for a couple of weeks. Now I have an East Asian studies certificate, and I plan to work in Asia. Going to Newcastle is what really led to me studying in Asia.
Keng We: What do you see yourself doing after you finish your degree?
Stephanie: I would say studying abroad made me realize that I don't think that I will ever be happy just staying in the same place ever again. I still love the United States very much, too. Let's just put it this way: I think that my ideal job would be to work for a company based in the United States, but have the opportunity to travel to Asia on a frequent basis, perhaps six months to a year at a time, to be a liaison between the two places. I am also a very big baseball fan and Major League Baseball, which is based here in the U.S., just opened an office in China last year. I think it is perfect timing. I would love to work for Major League Baseball in China and help to introduce the sport to China. It's not very popular there, but I'd like to help spread it.