Hello again, AASU!

Debating on taking an Asian American Studies course at UF, or even picking up the minor? Welcome to the third part of our blog series on perspectives of Asian American Studies at UF, here to enlighten you on different student experiences with the courses to inspire you to immerse yourself in the Asian American Studies. Today’s perspective comes from Christina Paik.

Name, year, major?
Christina Paik, Senior (4th Year), Major: English, Minor: Asian American Studies

What course did you take under the Asian American Studies minor?
AML3673 Introduction to Asian-American Literature.
AML3673 Asian-American and African-American Interactions
ENG 4130 Asian-American Cinema
AML 3607 Survey of African-American Literature 2
SYD 3700 Minorities in American Society

What were you initially looking to get out of it? What did you ultimately get out of it?
I cannot express how much I gained from this minor. Not only did all the courses teach me a countless amount of valuable information ranging from how to write critical essays to learning historical moments in Asian-American history, but the experiences I had and the peers I had the chance to speak with helped me to consolidate my own identity.

Prior to coming to UF, I had faced bullying and stereotyping for being a Korean American. For years I felt that there was something wrong with me, and I desperately wanted to fit in with my peers. I gained strength and confidence when I learned that I was not alone in my tribulations. In fact, I read many works during my courses in the minor about Asian Americans who faced hardships because of their identity but were able to contribute to our rich culture and expanding history. It was both fun, shocking, sad at times, and ultimately, rewarding.

Why would you recommend it to others?
I would recommend this minor to literally ANYONE. It doesn’t matter if you’re not Asian American at all. Many of my peers came from various backgrounds and had different chosen identities. The intense amount of learning you do in any one of the courses for the minor is worth it. I am honored to have taken so many courses with Professor Schueller and Professor Ongiri. Truly, all the professors who teach classes for the minor are brilliant and engaging and worth taking the courses for!

In general, why do you think Asian American Studies is important?
Asian American Studies is far more important than people think. Many Asian Americans are unaware of their histories and their role in society prior to taking these courses. I too learned so much about how Asian Americans have made advances in US history as well as the injustices that have taken place in the past and continue to in the present. Having the knowledge is power. We as students of the University of Florida have the ability to both change the future for Asian Americans for the better and prove the negative stereotypes wrong through our actions.