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The Leader

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Before its cancellation, student leaders share how they were preparing for Culture Night

Martha Christensen finds her business niche with J-Slips

Nepali students say their culture keeps them grounded while at BYU –Hawaii

MARCH 2020 • VOLUME 125 • ISSUE 3

LeeAnn Lambert ADVISOR

Dani Castro

Kevin Brown

Esther Insigne

Noah Shoaf

Bruno Maynez






Haeley van der Werf

Eli Hadley

Brad Carbine

Sadie Scadden

Hannah Manalang






Carlene Coombs

Olivia Hixson

Serena Dugar Ioane

Michael Kraft

Marvin Latchumanan








Madi Berry

Leiani Brown

Emily Cassler

Brooke Guryn

Killian Canto






Lilinoe Gomez

Cody Bruce Barney

Ho Yin Li

Chad Hsieh

Keyu Xiao







Letter from the co-editor Coming to BYU–Hawaii changed my life, even though I almost decided otherwise. I chose to come here because I knew the variety of different cultures found here would teach me and help me grow as an individual. I’ve learned, for example, to reconsider stereotypes. For examle, the great Indian Club is more than Bollywood (pg. 30) and curry. Students from India, similar to other students on campus, come from unique walks of life, each with different ways of understanding the world. I think we’re all sad Culture Night was canceled because we love watching and learning how others dance, such as German student Rahel Meyer (pg. 32), who loves to dance other styles as well. Being at one of the most diverse college campuses in the world has been more valuable to me than anything else another university could offer me because I see the world much differently now. From my wife I’ve learned about Taiwanese culture, as pictured by the traditional Taiwanese clothing I am wearing. Sometimes people assume I’m Mexican. Actually, I’m half-Chilean and half-Venezuelan. I’m also a first-generation American. Along with being a member of the Church, I’ve lived my whole life trying to find a way to better balance my life as I’ve been stuck between cultures (pg. 34). I hope as you read, you learn how our individual cultures make us more than just a common stereotype. My invitation to you is to try and be more like Christ by striving to learn about others and blend different cultures into your life. Start simple by trying to listen to different music, like K-Pop, or Reggaeton. Whether you’re on Team Spotify or Team Apple Music (pg.14), you can listen and discover new cultures everywhere. Take advantage of how the world today is a smaller place. Culture is beautiful in the way it contributes to our perceptions of the world.

Dani Castro - Co-Editor NEWS CENTER

BOX 1920 BYUH LAIE, HI 96762 Pr int Ser vices Editorial, photo submissions & Distribution inquiries: k e a l a k a i @ by u h . e d u . To s u b s c r i b e t o t h e R S S F E E D or to view additional ar ticles,go to k e a l a k a i . by u h . e d u


Email: kealakai@byuh.edu Phone: (808) 675-3694 Fax: (808) 675-3491 Office: BYU–Hawaii Aloha Center 134 ON THE COVER:

Dressed in half everyday clothes and half in traditional attire, Graphic Designers Hannah Manalang and Sadie Scadden depict how everyone is part of a different cultures.

ABOUT US The Ke Alaka‘i began publishing the same year the university, then called Church College of Hawaii, opened. It has continued printing for more than 60 years. The name means “the leader” in Hawaiian. It began as a monthly newsletter, evolved into a weekly newspaper, then a weekly magazine, and is now a monthly news magazine with a website and a social media presence. Today a staff of about 25 students works to provide information for BYU–Hawaii’s campus ohana and Laie’s community. © 2020 Ke Alaka‘i BYU–Hawaii All Rights Reserved MAR CH 2020



Pg. 22 - Friends from Myanmar

Epicenter empathy

Despite BYU–Hawaii banning university travel, students share how they find hope in their faith and in their families during challenging times.

Supporting students from abroad Employers from different countries, some alumni, explain BYU– Hawaii students hold great potential because of preparation provided by the school at APCC.

More than Bollywood India Club describes how its Culture Night performance would have represented all aspects of Indian culture - not just media portrayals.



Contents Campus and Community Genuine Gold: Jen Dean 08 Epicenter empathy 10 Team behind Culture Night 12 Music streaming showdown 14 Family-owned footwear for all 16 Getting a green card after marriage 18 Supporting BYUH students from abroad 20

The A’ina and Culture Friends from Myanmar 22 Namaste from far away 24 Magnifying Māori culture 28 More than Bollywood 30 German student aspires for humanitarian career 32 When worlds collide 34

March: The A’ina issue

As a staff, we will be continuing themes for the rest of the year. This month’s magazine features the diverse culture of our campus. Although Culture Night is no longer happening, we hope you enjoy content that showcases our love for our a’ina no matter the circumstance. MAR CH 2020



C RE AT I V E W R ITING/ART/P HOTO SUBMISSIO N Nelson Leung, a freshman from Singapore majoring in hospitality and tourism management, captured what he calls this “relaxing rainstorm” looming over the Flag Circle.

Share your art, photos, or creative writing with us and we may feature it in our next issue. E-mail us your high-resolution photo or work with a caption at kealakai@byuh.edu





Campus Comment:

What part of your culture are you going to keep as you create your own family?

Justin Ioane, a senior from Samoa majoring in accounting and marketing: “One of the most important values in my culture is respect. That is one value I want to teach my kids.” Ioane added, “Always doing family prayers at night is another important cultural tradition we do back home I want to have.”

Sierie Anne Caduada, a sophomore from the Philippines majoring in psychology: “Something I want to keep from the Philippines is celebrating Christmas early. Once the cold months start, Christmas starts for us. I enjoy those months because you really look forward to Christmas, and I would like to do that with my own family.” She continued, “I also want to keep the culture of ‘bayanihan,’ or helping each other.”

Cameron Walker, a senior from California majoring in psychology: “The part of the culture I am going to keep when I have my own family is the close unity of my family. We grew up really good friends, and I don’t want to lose that because family to me is everything. Having the close bond with my siblings and parents I do is something I want to have with my future wife and kids.”

Hayeon Lee, a freshman from South Korea majoring in hospitality and tourism management: “We celebrate Lunar New Year. Every single new year, we eat special rice cake soup. We say that when we eat the soup, you get one year older. That is probably the biggest tradition. I want to keep doing it since we do it every year.”



MAR CH 2020


Genuine Gold

BYU–Hawaii alumna fulfills dream to serve refugee community with International Rescue Committee BY HAELEY VAN DER WERF Ever since she left BYU–Hawaii in 2009, Jen Dean has been working to foster change in her community. Originally from France, Dean now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, and works for the International Rescue Committee helping resettle refugees. Sometimes her biggest lessons learned, she shared, are the individual impacts each person can make and how she can make connections with everyone she meets. Political Science Department trip to Washington D.C. Jen Dean is the second person from the left on the top row. Photo provided by Troy Smith 8


What is the International Rescue Committee? “The International Rescue Committee is an international organization that serves people who are in crisis zones and war zones to help them rebuild their lives. We are in 40 different countries in places where they have refugee camps. There, we do things like health classes, crisis management, or whatever the needs may be. Specifically, in the United States, we are a resettlement agency. Any refugees who have been approved are resettled in the United States. We will be assigned to a city in

“I started in 2004, and I graduated in 2009. I studied political science. I am from France.”

How was your journey from BYUH to the International Rescue Committee?

“I moved to Washington, D.C. I worked for a nonprofit there that served the homeless. We moved to Utah five years ago for my husband’s work. I quit my job in D.C. and we moved here. I stayed home with my son for a little bit. This past March, I wanted to go back to work. They had a job opening at the IRC doing stuff I did when I worked in D.C.”

will work with a case worker for about four to six months, but in Utah, the state has put additional funding to provide case management for two years to ensure people become selfsufficient and have acclimated and can really rebuild their lives. In Utah, that is specifically what we do. A lot of programs are for refugees who have been authorized to be resettled. People who are being resettled, which is a last resort, will eventually become American citizens.”

What do you love about the International Rescue Committee? “What the IRC works for and the people they serve is a community I always wanted to be involved with. I can use my French, and I feel like I’m really helping someone.Yes, I’m doing things on a computer, and there are parts of my job that don’t involve face-to-face contact with people, but there are a lot of parts that do, whether it is with a refugee client, a volunteer, or a community partner. Getting to be engaged together to serve a cause and to make someone’s life better and strengthen it really brings me joy. It is why I do what I do. I really enjoy that part. I can’t share specific details of stories, but I think the biggest thing out of all the stories is there is always something in someone’s story that, even if their story is very different from your own, you can always relate to something in some way or another. It really shows me how connected we are. “[One day] I spent the whole day with someone who arrived [the night before], and

there were things about their stories that are really difficult, and that I will probably never fully understand because I didn’t go through it. But there are things that in a small way I can relate to and understand some of their pain and their dreams and aspirations. I think human connectedness to them makes everything worth it and reminds me that in one small way, I can do something to uplift someone. That’s why I choose to work in this kind of environment. “Every day is humbling. Every day is a reminder that there is always one small thing you can do that will ... really impact someone. To show up for someone else and show them you can make time for them makes a huge difference, even though you might not think so. There are so many stories, whether I was working with the homeless in D.C. or in Salt Lake with the refugees, where you can truly build friendships and relationships filled with love, compassion, and understanding.”

What did you learn at BYU–Hawaii that you have taken with you? “Something I have retained from BYU– Hawaii is the fact that every single one of us can do something. We can find a cause that matters to us, whatever it may be, and get involved and help change things and help uplift someone. I think people should get involved with the International Rescue Committee. There are plenty of places people can do that. There are also so many worthy organizations people can get involved with. “If people can reflect on what matters to them and find a way to make an impact there, if there is anything we are taught at BYUH, it is we are of worth and we can show people

they have worth as well. We can guide them and remind them they have worth as well, no matter what they have been through or what their story is. Everyone has worth. That is something I was always reminded of at BYUH because of the relationships I built there and all the different cultures there remind us of how rich the world is. “Every single one of us has something to bring. It is important to be able to remind other people of that, to be able to look in their eyes and see they are worth it and see there is something special. The richness of BYU–Hawaii and the diversity of the people,

all the cultures, are some things you can’t go without after you graduate. In some way or another, all of us in our different jobs look for that richness. “I found it in working in the nonprofit world in being able to be exposed to so many different stories and cultures in a way that reminds me of being in a classroom with 15 students who have a completely different story than me. With different opinions, at the heart of it we all have things we can share. That’s what I get out of working at IRC, is being able to have human connection at a deeper level no matter what.” MAR CH 2020


Graphics by Sadie Scadden

When did you attend BYUH?

the U.S. and work with an agency there that has the authorization to resettle them. In Utah, there are only two agencies that can resettle. Those are the International Rescue Committee and Catholic Community Services. Any refugees who are being resettled will come and be assigned to one of the agencies and we take them from there. “We pick them up from the airport. They will work with a case worker for about two years. In most cities in the United States, they

Epicenter empathy Chinese students share concerns and hopes for their country amid coronavirus outbreak BY BROOKE GURYN Coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, has caused travel suspension, sickness and deaths around the world, according to various news sources. Since China was the epicenter of the outbreak, Chinese students shared fears of judgment and encouraged people to reach out to their friends who may be concerned for family back in China. YuanYuan Lyn, a sophomore from China majoring in hospitality and tourism management, shared, “I am worried about my family. If my family happened to get sick, I would want to go home right away, but I am not allowed to. I [probably] wouldn’t be able to come back [if I did.]” Student concerns Lijuan Du, an exchange student in the Asian Executive Management Program from China, said her husband and daughter are in China at this time. She described her worry and concern, especially for her young daughter. she said they are confined at home until further notice. Du said she has “gratitude to all the people who have shown kindness and for the members of The Church of Jesus Christ who have prayed for the people who are suffering from the coronavirus.” According to Deseret News, the Church has sent medical supplies to China, like protective gear, masks, coveralls and goggles. “I am moved by the medical supplies donated by the Church,” said Du. She also said, “I am looking forward to the day when everyone can hold hands again and be one with another. We are all human beings and can conquer all difficulties together.” 10


Lyn shared, “The problem is there are people thinking all Chinese people have coronavirus. People think it is not just a virus but a ‘Chinese virus.’ That is [generalizing] a whole country, not just a person.” Sunny Wong, a senior from Malaysia majoring in business management with an emphasis in human resources and organizational behavior, said he wants students to know “we are going against the virus, ... not [against] the Chinese people ... we are against the virus, not the person or race.” The concern, shared by students at first, was the shortage of masks in their countries. “Students are buying masks and sending them home,” said Wong. Suffering in silence Wong said, “I think on the outside [students] seem calm. But on the inside, they're panicking. Their families are at home and [the students] are safe, but their families are not. I feel like it would be stressful for them because they have to study, do exams and worry about home,” Another country being directly impacted by the coronavirus is Hong Kong. Government officials were denying suspending the border to and from mainland China. According to Time Magazine, “thousands of hospital staff joined an escalating strike aimed at pressuring the government into sealing the border with mainland China.” According to South China Morning Post, “On February 8, 2020, the Hong Kong government closed most of its land borders with the nearby Chinese mainland, and ordered anyone crossing those which remained open

to undergo two-week quarantines as part of an overall effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus that first emerged in central China.” Wong, a former missionary in Hong Kong, has friends on campus but also in Hong Kong who she said are suffering. “It has been hectic for them. They had the protest and now the virus. It’s been a long and rough end of last year and [following] into this year.” According to the Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases map, created by Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering, the amount of cases of the coronavirus in Hong Kong is increasing. As of March 19, there are 208 cases. Hope is not lost Students are being impacted directly by the effects of the virus, but they said hope is not lost. Zi Wei Wang, a sophomore from China majoring in computer science, said she had planned on going home to her family. She said her family has been her biggest supporters through this trial. “When I told my family, I may not be able to come, they were sad but understanding,” said Wang. She further explained how “I have found more peace because the Church sent medical supplies to China. That [reminds] me the Lord and the members of the Church do care about all people around the world.” Lyn shared, “People just need a friend to listen to them...Don’t judge the Chinese people because of the virus. We are human as well ... Just be nice to the people around you.”

“The problem is there are people thinking all Chinese people have coronavirus. People think it is not just a virus but a ‘Chinese virus.’ That is [generalizing] a whole country, not just a person.” -YuanYuan Lyn

She also encouraged blessings from bishops regarding the matter and said it will bring peace to the students. Jaime Zhang, a freshman from China majoring in business management, also shared words of hope and encouragement. “My thoughts are ‘stay calm.’ ... [Our] friends and family will be okay. They will take care of themselves. Wear a mask and stay inside. Stay relaxed because when you’re scared, it can scare your family. When your family’s calm, everything will [be just fine.]” Thoughts outside the box Wong said he reads The Wall Street Journal, and he came across comments regarding the coronavirus. One particular comment was, “Why didn’t the people stay in their own country?” He explained how, “If you were in Wuhan, China, the virus is [spreading] and the government hadn’t locked the city, you would run for your life. “Once the citiy is locked down, you have a higher risk of getting the virus. “When you feel panic and you’re afraid of death, you are human.You will run away to different countries to possibly stay with family and friends in those countries.” “[For] me, you can’t really blame them. People may think they are selfish. But when it’s your turn and your family, what would you do?” •

Students said despite being scared, they find hope in their families. Photo by Anna Shvets.

MAR CH 2020


The team behind Culture Night Student club leadership discusses Culture Night and their role in its organization BY CARLENE COOMBS

In preparing for Culture Night, members of the student club leadership shared the behind-thescenes of Culture Night and how their role as a leadership team was to work with clubs and individuals to help them feel more comfortable and get the most out of Culture Night. Hei Long Ip, a senior from Hong Kong majoring in business management, said he was excited for Culture Night because they get to see all the work that goes into the night. “To me, the exciting part is to see their efforts… their blood and tears… The audience doesn’t know. They just see that 8-minute performance, but they don’t know how much… planning and time they spent on it. But we, as a management team, we know.



“What makes me excited is their smiles, their excitement, their attitude, their appreciation of their culture. The attitude from them makes me more excited to help them let their culture shine in front of the world.” Ip added he believes Culture Night is something BYUH students are blessed with and is something that sets the university apart from others. “I think Culture Night is a privilege the school provides to the students. Culture Night is very unique. None of the other BYU [schools] have it.” Talamonu Tupou, a junior from Tonga majoring in accounting, said, “If we recall Brother David O. McKay’s prophesy of Laie

being a gathering place for the people of … the Pacific, we have to integrate Culture Night into the fulfilling of that prophecy.” Mark Lois Eyo, a senior from the Philippines majoring in TESOL and political science, said Culture Night is about displaying the hard work put into the performances. “Culture Night is not a competition. I think we should try to clarify that. Culture Night is where you showcase your talent because you want to be united with the community.You want to showcase your talent because you want to be your best around people who are your friends and who are your loved ones.” Eyo also shared being part of the leadership team is more than being in charge.

Student leaders left to right are: Talamonu Tupou, Mark Lois Eyo, Hei Long Ip, and Samuel Jonata de Souza. With Culture Night canceled just days before the performances, this team and club members on campus say they worked hard to promote cultural understanding and unity. Photo by Keyu Xiao

“I think as a leadership team, our goal is to empower the individual clubs. We don’t want to be seen as someone on top of the clubs, but someone who works with the clubs to empower them so they can do better. We work with them so they can better serve the individual students.” Tupou said his responsibility of helping the students and club members is the most important part of his job as the Asian clubs supervisor. “For me, it’s about people. It’s about individuals. Our titles are supervisor and club manager, and it seems like people think we are there to control them and what they’re doing. At the end of the day, it’s bringing

people together and helping them have a better experience at BYUH.” Samuel Jonata de Souza, a senior from Brazil majoring in supply chain, shared he values the work put in by the students of the clubs, especially the club presidents. “I just love working with the students… especially the [club] presidents. I just appreciate how they have everything I have, and they add another huge responsibility of being a club president.” Organizing events such as Club Fest, Culture Night, and Food Fest is part of what club leadership does. Along with these tasks, they also work with the club supervisors, according to Eyo.

Eyo explained the main thing they do is work with the supervisors as they work with the clubs. “We work with all the student clubs on campus, whether it's a cultural club, an academic club, or a special interest club.” Helping clubs through the logistics of their performances and making sure everything is going to go smoothly for Culture Night is another thing the team does, according to Souza. “We have a big Culture Night meeting where we teach them the basics. We have a more individual meeting where we go over every little thing they need to do in order to not be too stressed out. We help them do the little details, the budget, the presentation.” Eyo also shared they help with setting guidelines for events such as Culture Night. “We started with setting the rules for Culture Night, like what are the standards. We still need to keep the dress and grooming standards even if it’s Culture Night. There needs to be limited hours of practice per week. It’s two hours per week.” •

MAR CH 2020



g n i ream

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Survey shows students prefer Spotify for streaming music; Apple Music is runner-up BY EDEN JONES The winner of an unofficial campus music streaming service poll appeared to be Spotify. In a recent survey conducted among BYU–Hawaii students, 65.5 percent of students reported using Spotify more than any other service, with 25.5 percent preferring Apple Music and 9 percent preferring other music streaming services including YouTube and Amazon Music. Apple Music is considered by students to be an up-and-coming music streaming service. Launched in 2015, the service boasts 60 million users worldwide in comparison to Spotify’s 271 million worldwide users, according to The Verge. Spotify was launched in 2008. Apple Music does not offer a free subscription with ads, whereas of Spotify’s users, only 124 million, less than half pay for their subscription says the Hollywood Reporter. About 25 percent of participants in 14 campus KE ALAK A ’I the survery were asked to share

the reasoning behind their music streamng preferences. “I’ve used Deezer, iRadio, Pandora, Amazon Music, Apple Music,YouTube Premium … but I just keep using Spotify in the end,” said Anel Canto, a junior from Panama studying computer science. “My favorite is its integration with Google Assistant. I can just ask Google to play a song and Spotify will play it for me.” Spotify’s personalized suggestions for new music is a big win for Spotify users. Jesse Skeen, a junior from Utah studying psychology and a former user of Apple Music, said Spotify “suggests better music.” He added, “Apple Music gives me the same generic genre stuff, [but] Spotify leads me to new stuff.” Malia Tupuola, a senior from Utah majoring in communications, agreed Spotify had “better suggestions” and added she enjoys


using Spotify’s “year in review” for her favorite artists. Technical difficulties also played a factor in her decision to use Spotify. “Apple Music ... would always delete my saved songs, so Spotify is the move,” she said. Podcasts are also a win for Spotify users. Brinley Dotson, a sophomore from Utah studying marketing, said she prefers Apple Music, but said since Apple has a different app for podcasts, Spotify was better in that regard. “I like how [Spotify] has anything— episodes of podcasts, music, anything,” she said. However, for Dotson, other factors influenced her switch to Apple Music. She said she had seen several artists release new material on Apple Music before it could be found anywhere else. She also listed other factors including aesthetic, music selection and a search-by-lyrics feature that was hailed among Apple Music users when they were surveyed about their favorite part of the app. I can never remember the names of the songs,” Dotson said. “With Apple Music, I can just type in the lyrics, and they’re like, ‘Do you mean this song?’ And I’m like, ‘I always mean that song,’” she said, laughing.

“I’ve used Deezer, iRadio, Pandora, Amazon Music, Apple Music, YouTube Premium … but I just keep using Spotify in the end.” - Anel Canto

Other Apple Music users mentioned this feature, including Mallory Lemmon, a freshman from Arizona studying psychology. She said she also thought Apple Music’s playlist-sharing system was more user-friendly. “Many people in my high school would request personal playlists from me,” Lemmon said, explaining with Apple Music, she could send the playlists to others, and they could add

the playlists to their libraries. “Every time I update that playlist, it will automatically update for them,” she added. Ellie Toia, a sophomore from Arizona majoring in graphic design, said Apple Music has better options for clean versions of songs, explaining she occasionally listens to rap music and finds that Apple Music has a better selection for clean rap. Competing with Spotify and Apple Music is Amazon Music, which was one of the most common streaming services in the “other” category. Launched in 2007, it is the oldest streaming service preferred by survey participants. Joey Oliver, a junior from Washington studying applied mathematics, explained why his preference is Amazon.

“I have found it very easy to navigate. The menus/tabs are easy to understand and find new songs. It also keeps a record of the 50 last playlists, albums [and] artists you listened to, which is really nice. It’s very easy to download songs and playlists.You can follow artists to receive notifications on when a new song or album is released by them.” Another student-cited service in the “other” category was YouTube Premium, with users commenting they liked how it customizable. Some Spotify and Apple Music users commented they used YouTube Premium in addition to their preferred service. •

Preferred music streaming apps of BYUH students * Spotify 36 Apple Music Amazon Music


YouTube Premium





* 55 students surveyed

Graphics by Hannah Manalang

MAR CH 2020


Family-owned footwear for all BYU–Hawaii alumna says time at BYUH as student and faculty member led her to start brand J-Slips BY CARLENE COOMBS

Graphics by Hannah Manalang

Inspired by business majors to start her own company, Martha Christensen, a previous academic advisor for the Faculty of Business & Government, began her journey towards creating her company J-Slips. Presently, J-slips offers students business internships as the company continues to spread across Polynesia. She said these student interns have brought great ideas and connections to the J-Slips family. According to Christensen, a BYUH alumna, J-Slips is a family-owned footwear shop located in Laie, which sells Hawaiianstyle sandals around the world. In addition to running her business, she also provides students with on-campus internships through BYUH. 16


“I was an academic advisor in the Business Department for 10 years. All these students would come in with their ideas, but I had never done a business myself. I just majored in business and was around people who did business,” said Christensen. She said watching these students come in with their business dreams is what made her want to start her own company, and after her children had gotten older, she decided to do just that. “My kids had gotten older, and I kind of wanted to start something, but I didn’t know what to start. The only thing I could think of was jewelry ... You can make a lot of money

off of it, but it’s hard because there’s so much competition.” After attempting to sell jewelry and even Hawaiian food on Amazon, Christensen said she realized there was a high demand for Hawaiianstyle sandals, often referred to as jandals. “My son went to Utah … and he came back and said, ‘Mom, everyone is wearing these sandals in Utah, in the winter, with socks. Maybe we should sell some of those.’” After selling for another company, Christensen decided to begin her own brand, J-Slips. She currently sells on Amazon and to distributors on the mainland and throughout Polynesia.

Martha Christensen walks with her pair of J-Slips on the beach. Photos by Keyu Xiao.

As her shop has grown, Christensen said she agreed to work with BYUH to offer oncampus internships by providing students with real-life experience and assist with the thriving business. Jake Billings, a California sophomore studying business management, is a part of the team of five students interning for J-Slips this semester. Billings said something cool about Christensen is her desire to help students. He said she hopes to improve their knowledge and their talents from wherever they are coming from.

Christensen said her team of students has been able to bring fresh ideas as well as new connections into J-slips. “I think it’s a really good experience for [students], and it’s super helpful for me. They have tons of good ideas. One served his mission in Fiji. We’ve haven’t really shipped to Fiji. We do Tonga and Samoa. I don’t have connections [in Fiji], but he does.” Ian Seiuli, a senior from Samoa majoring in information technology, said as part of their internship they help with promoting the business on social media and work towards increasing revenue for J-Slips.

He added he believes bringing in students will have a positive impact on the business in the future. “Martha is doing an awesome job with the internship and partnering with the school. There are so many kids here with a lot of ideas. “We might just have a tiny impact on her business for now, but in the long run … consistently doing [internships] and involving [students] in her business … can help improve things which need to be improved. J-Slips has a big future ahead of them.” •

“I was an academic advisor in the Business Department for 10 years. All these students would come in with their ideas, but I had never done a business myself. I just majored in business and was around people who did business.” - Martha Christensen MAR CH 2020


Getting a green card after marriage Residency process is daunting but manageable when taken slowly with help and organization, say students and advisor


Married couples with an international spouse on a visa said going through the U.S. green card process can be overwhelming because of the cost, amount of forms, and stress of importance. However, by communicating with those who’ve completed the process, saving money, and taking the process step-by-step cautiously, those who’ve experienced the process said getting a green card is achievable. U.S. citizen Melina Sy, a senior from Utah studying marine biology, shared her experience filing for a green card for her husband from the Philippines. Sy said, “It’s like when you have a big assignment.You don’t want to start it, but once you have, you realize it isn’t too bad.” She shared how it was initially overwhelming, but as they took it step by step, they were able to manage. Ted Guildner works at International Student Services on campus. After pointing out he has extensive history working with Immigration Services and going through the process with his wife, he said he has the right qualifications to help. He said students should not be worried because, “You’re not alone.” 18


Guildner said it can be overwhelming for couples “because it is something new and ... a lot at once.” Teal Baniago, a sophomore from Florida studying communications and political science, married a man from the Philippines, and she said filling out the forms is a lot of work, but it’s necessary. Baniago shared how her husband’s motivation and the campus ISS Department have encouraged her through the process so far. Sy agreed with Guildner’s sentiment while talking about watching one of her friends go through the process. Sy said, “I [did not] even know what to do to get a green card. I had never thought about it.” She said she was intimidated by all the required information and was nervous about making errors. Guildner broke down his process with students, saying after he gives them the online of sources they need, students need to read the instructions and fill out the required forms as best they can. If students get stuck on a question, Guildner offered encouragement, assuring students not to worry if they can’t understand. He said students should write down what they

don’t understand because later he’ll work with the students to fix the forms “when you come in for your review.” Nedding to get her husband’s green card before they could come to school, Adrienne Miyabe, an alumna from Ohio, married a Japanese citizen, and she said was mainly worried about how long the process took, including filling out the forms and hearing back from USCIS for the biometrics and possible interview. According to Miyabe, her cousin took two years to get through the process. “We were kind of like freaking out,” Miyabe said. “There’s always the chance of getting declined.” Baniago explained her fears revolved around rumors of recent changes in the process. She told stories she had heard about spouses being sent back due to mistakes on their application. She said she wondered, “Is this going [to get] difficult?” Guildner said he gets visits from students who are overwhelmed with the experience. “They don’t know what to do, how hard it’ll be, what it’ll cost.” He agreed the process is intimidating. “There’s a lot. They look at this piece of paper,

[and] they go, ‘Oh my gosh! It’s going take me forever.’” Guildner said the hardest part depends on the couple and their circumstances. For some couples, it is the cost. “You’ve got to have, upfront, about $2,000 to cover all these [expenses].You’ve got two filing fees and you’ve also got a medical fee that can be $200400 to get your [medical] exam done.” For others, he said, it is gathering all of the documents. “The foreign students have to have a birth certificate, get it translated and notarized if it’s in a foreign language. That’s not so hard, but some of them have trouble just finding it,” he continued. Guildner said the difficulty of specific forms, “like the I-864, is very important and somewhat complicated.” He said people need to make sure applicants pay attention to every detail and provide all the right evidence the couple is in a real marriage. Having already gone through the initial two-year green card process and about to start the 10-year-card process, Miyabe said, “Getting all the documents together and making sure that they’re correct [is the hardest part].”

She said under the current presidential administration they fear the government changed the rules. “Before, if you messed up, they would send it back and tell you to fix it and you can mail it back.” She said she believed they can now just deny an application for a small mistake. According to a policy memo from September 2018 from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, immigration officers now have the option “to deny an application, petition, or request without first issuing a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) if initial evidence is not submitted or if the evidence in the record does not establish eligibility.”

She explained, “We have multiple copies of our marriage certificate.You will need your taxes, all your taxes. W-2’s, stuff like that. “They want everything. And take pictures, lots of pictures. They want to know you like each other.” Sharing the ways she and her husband have endured through the process together, Baniago advised, “Start saving money, and take it slow.” She assured, “You’re not in any rush.” She said it is also important to check each other’s work to make sure everything is correct and talking to others going through the same process to discuss what is going on. Sy said her biggest advice was to pay for help if you can afford it. “We paid for a service and they helped us fill out all the paperwork, they printed off the papers and sent it to us, so Advice during the process we didn’t even have to print it ourselves and Miyabe suggested couples who are about then they have step-by-step instructions.” to start the process or who are going through However, Guildner warned against hiring it now, to keep all of their documents together. help. “The only reason you’d ever want to go She uses a binder for their documents. to an attorney or a consultant like that is if you “We have everything. It’s so easy now.” She hate money.” He said it is comforting to have also counseled current applicants to be diligent someone who knows the process helping you in keeping copies of their forms, documents, walk through it, but he said he has not had a and photos of themselves. good experience with a paid service. •


MAR CH 2020 19 Graphics by Hannah Manalang



BYU–Hawaii students from APCC employers share desire to recruit on campus to promote IWORK program and student success BY BROOKE GURYN International employers from New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti, Samoa, and American Samoa shared they accepted the invitation to attend the Asia-Pacific Career Conference to continue the mission of IWORK and create opportunities for Pacific Islander and Asian students to succeed. Many of the employers were BYU–Hawaii alumni, and they shared how they believe students from BYUH are impressive and wellrounded in the way they manage work, school, and social life. “They are definitely [well-prepared]. Some of them are already supervising 20-to30 people at work,” shared Sharon Prasad, a representative from Punja & Sons Ltd in Fiji. She said students balance their lives so well adding, “I don’t know how they get the energy to do it.” Kenneth Kuaea, vice president from Klaod Solutions in American Samoa, described how, “There’s a wholesomeness about the students here. I value that.” Kuaea graduated from BYU in Provo, and his wife attended BYUH. He wanted to come to BYUH to recruit because of the caliber of students and the values they share, he said. Merehani Parker, representing Tahiti Travel from Tahiti, noted, “BYUH students stand out to the world...I have seen enough mediocre people. We need people who stand out.” Pursuing the mission of IWORK According to the BYUH website, “The IWORK (International Work Opportunity Return-ability Kuleana) program is to assist students from the Pacific Rim (South Pacific &



Alumni said they returned to BYUH for APCC due to a belief in the mission of IWORK. Photo by Keyu Xiao

East Asia) in obtaining a quality education at BYUH and help students become self-reliant.” The site adds the goal of the IWORK program is to provide necessary financial assistance to worthy members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Dennis Williams, head of Business Solutions in Samoa, said he came to support the mission of IWORK. He said he was an IWORK student when he attended BYUH, commenting, “I believe attending here gave me the opportunity to be successful... “There’s a focus here on Pacific Islanders at this college, and we operate in the Caribbean, South America, and the Pacific Islands. My goal here is to look at opportunities for the Pacific Islanders who are here.” He shared it wasn’t hard to get a job after graduation because he and his wife took the challenge to return home. “We took on the David O. McKay promise that we will be blessed when we return home. I can say we have been blessed,” said Williams. Kuaea said, “We give students the opportunity for those who want to come to American Samoa… Our goal is [to] get the IWORK students from Samoa to come back to work.” Faleni Leauanae, representing Utah-based Workfront, said he could give back and share his story

about being the first person in his family to go to college with students in hopes it will motivate them to move forward in their careers. He said, “I believe it was proposed for me to come to [APCC] because of my story. I look at a lot of the students who are Polynesian and come from different backgrounds. They are first-generation college students. I’m a first-generation college student. “When I came here, I was thinking about how I can help these students move faster than I did. I felt I could help in the area of mentoring students. I have gone through the experience of understanding what it took to go to school and coming from a background of low income.” Mare Haimona-Riki graduated from BYUH last year and is now a video journalist at Maori Television in New Zealand. He said, “As alumni, I wanted to be involved...I saw students I was in classes with, and they shared how it was inspiring that I was here [now].” He shared how throughout his life, he was preparing to be a journalist. There are photos of him using a hose as a microphone, and while at school, he was shooting videos for people. He shared a quote by motivational speaker Les Brown, “It’s better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than have an opportunity and not be prepared.” Haimona-Riki counseled students to prepare continuously, and “as soon as you know what you want to do, you can start.” •

Photos by Keyu Xiao

Employers said they were impressed with how BYUH students appear to be well-rounded. Photo by Keyu Xiao



MAR CH 2020


Four students say they came to Laie to be around more members of Church

Coming from the same branch to BYU–Hawaii BY CARLENE COOMBS Four friends from Myanmar said a childhood dream and being around others of the same faith were some of the motivators that led them to BYUH. They also shared facts about their food and culture from their home country. Ei Ei Phyu, a sophomore from Myanmar studying finance, said going to Hawaii was always her dream. “When I was young, I watched a movie. I remembered the place [in the movie] was so pretty, and I asked my auntie ‘Where is that place?” and she said it might be Hawaii. I said I would go to Hawaii one day. When we were young, we were so poor, and she just laughed and said, ‘Okay, you can go there.’ “I always had in mind that Hawaii is the place I’m going to go to. Now, I’m living my dream.” Phyu shared she is the first in her family to pursue a college degree and was encouraged by her family to come to BYUH. “Because my parents don’t have the education, they want [my siblings and I] to have a good education and encourage us to study.” Sa Myat Yadanar Shin, a freshman from Myanmar studying biology, said getting to be around those who share the same religious beliefs is what drew her to BYUH. “In my country, the main religion is Buddhism. Throughout high school, I was the only Christian. Not even just the only Mormon ... .So it’s really hard. I felt lonely.”

Three of the four Myanmar students note how they love BYUH because of the Honor Code and its welcoming atmosphere. Photos by Keyu Xiao 22


All four students knew each other before coming to BYUH because they attended the only Church branch in Myanmar together. “I was the first sister who came out from Myanmar. Everybody after they served their missions, knew about BYUH, so they wanted to come and study here to enhance their education,” said Phyu. Eh Htoo Shee, a freshman from Myanmar studying social work, said the Honor Code and welcoming atmosphere is what she enjoys about BYUH. “Everybody is like a brother or a sister. Unlike other schools, we don’t have bullying. I also like the Honor Code, so everybody has the same standards. That’s why I feel like it’s safe being here.”

“I miss the food. If we want to have Asian food [in Hawaii], it’s expensive, and the taste is different,” said Shin. Lwin said the typical meal in Myanmar contains rice, fish or meat, vegetables and soup, which is very spicy and sour. Salad is also something they eat, added Shin. “We make salad with onion, garlic, chili, cilantro, a lot of chili. [Our food] is kind of similar to Thai, but honestly, I don’t like the taste [of Thai]. Thai is sweet and spicy. For us, it’s just spicy.” Shee shared while she enjoys Hawaii and the culture at BYUH, some things were different and surprised her.

“One main thing, especially islanders, when they talk or laugh, it’s so loud. It shocked me. Even when they greet each other, they shout. “It’s not annoying, but it shocked me. We don’t do this in my country. If we do this, my parents or older people will say ‘No, don’t do that.’” Shee added she likes how Hawaiians embrace their culture and share it with others. “I like how [Hawaiians] keep their culture. At the Polynesian Cultural Center, I see that they still keep their culture like their dress, their food, the songs. I admire that.” •

Myanmar culture and food and adjusting to Hawaii Yin Lwin, a sophomore from Myanmar majoring in social work, said the people in Myanmar are typically warm and kind. “We are friendly. We smile at everyone, and whenever someone comes to our house, we feed them.” Phyu shared another trait of Myanmar people is helping those around them. “Normally, people are more independent, and they do things by themselves. But when someone sees something that is needed, they just help.” Lwin added being respectful of adults and your elders is another part of their culture. “In my country, the culture is that we respect [our elders]. If someone is older than me, we say sister or brother. If we just say [their] name, it’s rude.” Shee said in Myanmar,“we have many languages there. The main language is Burmese, but we also have many ethnic groups, more than 100.” According to worldatlas.com, there are nearly 100 languages spoken in Myanmar, with Burmese being the official language. Lwin and Shin both shared how one thing they missed from their home country was the food.

MAR CH 2020


Namaste from far away

Students from Nepal say culture and traditions of their country keep them grounded while away from home

Students are reminded to always be humble and grateful for what they have. Graphics by Sadie Scadden



“When I say we are poor, it is in comparison with other countries. When you compare it on a global scale, there is poverty. But I don’t think anyone in Nepal thinks they are poor or would even admit it. They will always have food to eat around where they live. In a global community, we are unfortunately seen as poor.” -Rajkumar Tamang

Nepali students discuss how their upbringing influences their perspectives at college. They do not want Nepal to be considered a poor country. Photo by Eli Hadley

BY ELI HADLEY Living far from their mountainous home country, three students from Nepal said they always remember where they come from, no matter the distance. As they work to attain degrees and a future career, the Nepali students shared how they hold onto their heritage through physical reminders and thinking of family. Rajkumar Tamang, a junior from Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital city, majoring in social work, said his identity is tied inseparably to his home country. Growing up attending boarding school away from Kathmandu because of his family’s financial issues, Tamang shared he learned great respect for his homeland. Even though he lives thousands of miles away from Kathmandu, Tamang explained he hopes to return one day and make things better for the lives of others.

Growing up “I lived in the middle of the jungle, not with my family, starting at age five,” Tamang explained. “I grew up without a father, and my mom could not take care of all four kids. I never thought I would ever go out of Nepal, but as I grew up, I learned more about my country and the world outside where I lived and became interested in leaving.” Ayusha Bayjoo, a junior from Swayambhu, Nepal, majoring in biology, said she grew up in a fairly well-off household. Bayjoo said she believed there were some things one could find in Nepal that could not be found in the Western world. “Growing up, I didn’t live in the city, but Kathmandu was a big part of my life. From Swayambhu, it’s about a half-hour drive. When

we were younger, we would have to walk 15-20 minutes just to get to the bus stop to go into the city. As kids, we have two very big festivals, Dashain and Tihar (known as Diwali in India), so most of my childhood was waiting for those.” Dikshyanta Lama, a senior majoring in business supply from Kathmandu, said she grew up in the city, which she said included the privilege of going to a nice school outside of the villages her parents lived in while they were growing up. Despite having these privileges, she said she always remembered where she came from. Because her father’s family still lived in the village away from the city, she shared she would go back at least once a year to see her extended relatives. “It was always a reminder to be grateful and to be humble for what I had.” MAR CH 2020


Image Both Tamang and Bayjoo said they do not want others to think of Nepal as just a poor country or as “the home of Mount Everest.” “When I say we are poor,” Tamang began, “it is in comparison with other countries. When you compare it on a global scale, there is poverty. But I don’t think anyone in Nepal thinks they are poor or would even admit it. They will always have food to eat around where they live. In a global community, we are unfortunately seen as poor.” Bayjoo said she believed comparing countries to each other was not a good idea, saying, “I think we should just appreciate what is in both countries. Nepal is so rich in life, culture and natural beauty. Nepal has a lot of potential. Rather than compare our home to another country unfairly, we focus on the good we’ve got.” Tamang shared an experience he said demonstrated the difference between Nepal and America. As he walked down the street the week before his interview, he was offered a very sugary candy, which he said was considered luxury in his home. “I thought, ‘This shows a lot about America,’” he exclaimed. He said it had been many years before his family was able to get a refrigerator or a washing machine in Nepal, because they are traditionally Western luxuries. “The way we consume food is very different from the

Western world. Back home, we hardly eat anything with a wrapper. If it’s in a can, it’s from another country. Now I have come to America, I have seen the lifestyle is privileged. There are so many luxuries.” Bayjoo added how people from more developed countries might come to Nepal and think most of the people were poor because they did not have a fridge or furniture at home. “But for us, we have a roof over our head and always know where our next meal is coming from because of our agricultural society and that’s enough.” Nepal relies heavily on tourism for its economic growth, according to Lama. Her father works as a trekking guide, or sherpa for tourists. “There are so many jobs in the tourism industry there. A lot of people rely on it to survive, whether it’s running a shop, being a porter or guiding tourists.” Lama said she does not necessarily see tourism in her country as a bad thing, but she sees its dangers. “When I first came to America, I thought nobody would know where Nepal was, but I was surprised a lot of people knew. Tourism is a big reason behind it. “I guess there is a danger of tourists seeing Nepal as just a tourism country and not seeing the people as people. They may see it as a ‘cheap country,’ a place to have a good time and go back home. Potentially, the culture could be exploited by visitors who don’t take the time to understand.”



Despite devotion to their home country, students say due to few job opportunities, they may have to make the hard decision to not return home. Photo by Eli Hadley



Source: CIA World Factbook Graphics by Sadie Scadden

Unity “Nepal is a predominantly Hindu country,” according to Tamang, “with a lot of Buddhism as well ... All of the religions in Nepal celebrate the common things, like [the festivals] Dashain and Tihar. All the Hindus, the Buddhists and the Muslims celebrate each festival, and we come together as one.” Lama agreed, as she said she loved the sense of harmony. “All the people who are Hindu and Buddhist live together with no sense of division. Growing up, there was a sentence in a book I read that said, ‘Nepal is like a garden of different flowers.’ So many ethnic backgrounds, languages and religions make my country beautiful.” Like Bayjoo, Lama is not a member of the Church, but is a part of the Buddhist faith. However, she said she does not feel out of place at a school where she is the religious minority. “There are times when I feel a little different, but I guess it comes from being the minority. I’ve been talking to my friends, and I’ve told them how living here feels normal.” Staying connected After she graduates with a degree in biology, Bayjoo said she plans to return to Nepal, but she does not know if there will be many job opportunities suitable for her degree there. “With my advisor, I’ve been looking for jobs I could find back home, but I may need to travel to a country with more opportunities.” Tamang, while devoted to his home country, said he knew he might have to make the hard decision of not working in Nepal. “There’s a bigger job market outside of Nepal. I think, though, at the end of the day, I will face the future and see how things go. Going back home gives a sense of freedom, which stays a part of me. The feeling of freedom I get when I’m at home cannot be found anywhere else, no matter how developed. “The way Americans feel proud of being American, I feel proud to be from Nepal, despite its political problems. I always feel connected to my country. There are, of course, some things I don’t like about my country, which I’m sure is the same for everyone. When I sing songs, it’s the biggest part of being

Nepali students say Nepal is rich in life, culture, and natural beauty. Photo by Eli Hadley

connected with home. It overwhelms me every time. “To be in my soil, to be in my own land, no matter how poor, this feeling drives me to work hard and remember who I am – to be true to my country. I still miss back home because of all the good memories. I feel like I’m not in Laie. I feel when I get out of the school, I’m going to go home, and things will be like they were before.” To keep part of her home and remember who she is culturally, Bayjoo said she cooks Nepali food and gets together with Tamang and his wife to celebrate Dashain, as well as wearing traditional clothes. “Being in touch with my family helps too because I can remember who I am.

“It is hard to connect with people who have had those first-world opportunities since they were young,” Bayjoo said. “You can be very good friends with them, but it is hard to connect. When people from the same place interact, there is already so much common ground.” To stay connected with her home, Lama said she stays in contact with her family and holds on to her traditional clothing. “It was my first year here, and my mom sent me a piece of clothing, which I keep in my room to remind me of home. My last name is also ‘Lama,’ which means ‘priest’ in Buddhism. My grandfather on my mom’s side was part of a line of priests. I believe there is an entity, something out there, in praying.” •

MAR CH 2020


Magnifying Māori culture New Zealand Club seeks to showcase its language and teach cultural respect through song and dance

Club members say performing in M āori in a respectful and proper way is important to perserve their culture. Members are shown practicing in the Heber J. Grant Building. Photo by Chad Hsieh



BY EMILY CASSLER While they prepared for the Winter 2020 Semester Culture Night that was canceled due to COVID-19, New Zealand (Aotearoa) Club members said they hoped to bridge gaps that come from different upbringings. Club members said they wanted to showcase the Māori language and teach cultural respect through their performance. Club President Devon Beatson, a sophomore from Whangarei, New Zealand, studying social work and psychology, worked behind the scenes to honor her culture. “For me, Culture Night is all about celebrating culture. It isn’t a competition, but it’s just an opportunity for everyone to learn about each other,” said Beatson. Beatson said it was her first time being involved in Culture Night but she came to understand how important it is for the community to participate in Culture Night. Beatson said they planned this year to do a choral song, perform a haka and also an exit number. The girls predominantly would do the poi, which is a form of dance where weights are swung through rhythmic patterns. The boys wold do the haka, which is a traditional dance involving vigorous movement and stamping of the feet, noted Beatson. Tiare Metekingi, a freshman from Hamilton, New Zealand studying psychology, said she grew up dancing at home with friends and family and practicing the Māori language, te reo, to celebrate and keep the Māori culture alive. “Around my grandparents’ generation, the government banned te reo Māori. They said it was a dead language, and there was no use for it. They thought a lot of the Polynesian culture was savage, and their way was proper. “They would punish kids in school if they caught them speaking te reo Māori. It’s not too

Though from Malaysia, Marvin Latchumanan participates in the New Zealand Club practice learning the haka. Photo by Chad Hsieh

far off, but it affected the language and culture afterward. “Since then, there has been a lot of effort to bring it back. If you lose the language, you lose the culture.” Club members said their Culture Night performance was to showcase te reo Māori through their choral performance. Te Manu Matenga, a freshman from Tauranga, New Zealand, studying music, said she loves her culture and wants everyone to feel the love as well. “New Zealand is filled with so much love for family, not only in person but also in spirit as well. “Our culture is what keeps us eternally close with our loved ones, even to those who

have passed. It makes me proud to be from here because of the endless love we give through song, dance, prayer and service.” Both Metekingi and Matenga agreed devotion to the community and family makes their culture special. They added Culture Night allows others to come together and understand how different upbringings do not have to divide us. Metekingi explained, “Because you love and respect your own culture, treat others like you would treat your own. If I saw someone performing Māori, I would want them to do it respectively, and to do a good job.” After working with other club members at the first Culture Night practice, Metekingi said,

“Seeing everyone get really into it by singing, dancing and paying attention was humbling and touching.You love your own culture, but it’s nice to see someone else loves it too.” Not only are New Zealand natives welcomed to partake in their own culture, but the New Zealand Club members are making efforts to reach out to those who may not be from their home country, said Metekingi. “Everyone is very open and welcoming. The club gives you a grounded place to go to. Don’t be shy about trying something new.” •

Graphic by Brad Carbine

MAR CH 2020




India Club members work to share their culture while creating life-long memories and friends



BY CARLENE COOMBS Showing India is more than Bollywood and providing students with life-long memories are the primary goals the Indian Club presidency had in mind when putting together their performance for the 2020 Winter Semester Culture Night that was canceled because of the world-wide coronavirus pandemic. Through four individual dances, the club hoped the audience, as well as the performers, would gain a better understanding of Indian culture. “We wanted to show our culture and show even though people think of India as one thing, we are from one of the most diverse countries in the world. We have 22 official languages, over 1,500 dialects, and every state has their own dance and their own... attire,” said vice president of the India Club Vidya Irene Purushottam, a junior from India majoring in TESOL. Purushottam said when deciding what to do for the performance, they wanted to showcase traditional Indian dances rather than exclusively Bollywood, which the country is known for internationally. “When people think of India, they think of Bollywood,” said Purushottam. “Bollywood is a huge part of India because it’s the cinema experience, but that’s not really our culture. Bollywood is inspired by the diverse culture we have in India. “We’re showcasing cultural dances from four corners of India. So, we have one classical

dance, two traditional dances, and one folk dance.” According to Purushottam, the performers were split into two groups, with each group performing two of the four dances. She also added they planned to have very colorful and traditional costumes. Shimran Sharma, a junior from Fiji studying biochemistry, said she was excited to learn the traditional dances and not just Bollywood dances. “I thought it was perfect because I have Indian blood. It’s nice to see where my [ancestors] come from and to actually learn what their culture is like.” Purushottam said she hopes the traditional dances will educate people, as well as club members, on what Indian culture is.

“Slowly, I think people are starting to gain a better perspective of what Indian culture is. We are more than curry and Bollywood.” - Vidya Irene Purushottam

While the club focused on traditional Indian dances, it still included Bollywood elements in its performance, said Rajkumar Tamang, a junior from Nepal majoring in social work and president of the India club.

“We are doing the cultural dance, but it’s fused with Bollywood music. There is a Bollywood taste.” Tamang shared one of his favorite parts about putting together a Culture Night performance is seeing those performing learning and enjoying the dances. “If we see they are making memories, that’s [my favorite part]. I see this as the [students] coming and dancing and having fun.” Rosemae Maagad, a junior from the Philippines majoring in education, said she loves participating in clubs outside of her culture so she can learn about other countries, which is why she joined the India club. “It gives me the opportunity to experience a new [culture]. It’s a privilege to learn a new culture.” Purushottam shared she enjoys seeing others who are not from India participate in learning about Indian culture. “It makes me so happy people are so open and willing to participate and showcase your culture, and they have the same enthusiasm people [from India] have. For someone else who is not part of my country to be as excited, I think that’s something I’m really looking forward to.” • Below, Members of the Indian Club work on four different dances. The club vice president said India has 22 official languages and more than 1,50 0 dialects. Photos by Keyu Xiao

MAR CH 2020


Rahel Meyer said in Germany young students follow the same plan throughout their whole education and into their careers. But she said studying here has given her more options for her career. Photo by Keyu Xiao

Born in Germany, dancing in the USA Rahel Meyer prepares for humanitarian career at United Nations by attending BYU—Hawaii BY EDEN JONES



“Here, I have the feeling you can establish yourself and bring in new ideas. You can be more creative and make something out of yourself.” In a school where the general student body represents the United States, Asia and the Pacific Islands, Rahel Meyer, studying communication and media studies, and triple minoring in political science, peacebuilding and world languages, is one of few European students and was born and raised in Germany. She said she loves having the opportunity to be creative and establish herself in a career, and she loves the multicultural family she has made on campus. Talking about coming to BYUH, Meyer said, “I thought I would feel lonely. I thought I would miss my culture, my people and everything, but I feel like I’ve created my own family here if that makes sense. I’ve always loved different cultures, and I’ve never been a person who’s said that I wanted to live in Germany my whole life. I just love meeting new cultures. “I love adventures. And of course, I miss my family back home, and my friends, but thinking about the culture, I have a new family here, and it’s so nice.” In Germany, people are generally more closed off, Meyer explained. For her to come to Hawaii and experience such an open and loving culture, she said, helped her feel at home. “She’s adjusting amazingly well,” said Summer Edwards, a sophomore from Utah studying exercise and sports science, one of Meyer’s closest friends on campus. Breanne Gibb, a junior from Ohio studying communications, another of Meyer’s closest friends, said they instantly became friends at orientation and have been close ever since.

“It’s funny, because it was my very first week in Hawaii, and I’ve met people who are still my best friends now,” Meyer said. “We just do everything together. It’s just amazing. People really are super friendly [and] open.” Meyer said there were two things drawing her to BYUH: the beach and the people. “I served my mission in France, in the Lyon Mission, and there are a lot of Tahitian people living in France. I always loved the Tahitian people, and I always loved Tahitian culture. “In Germany, we don’t really have [Tahitian culture present], and I really wanted to get to know those people. I just applied. I didn’t know that I would be accepted or anything—it just happened.” Meyer is in her second year at BYUH. “And I love the weather,” she added. “I just love tropical weather. I love the beach. I love everything about it.” Germany gets “crazy” cold in the winter, she explained. There are a lot of things to miss about Germany, according to Meyer, especially the food. However, she said the people in Hawaii and the culture make it worth it being away from home, and she loves the local acai bowls. “Before I got here, I worked with refugees in Germany, so I love working with people. I want to work for the United Nations, in the Humanitarian Department and do international projects,” especially in France, after having served her mission there, she added. She said France would not have been her first choice, however. Although she had only been to Paris a few times, she had prejudices and thought the French were stuck-up.

“So, when I got my mission call, I was so excited, but I also cried. I really wanted to go to Asia.” She laughed. “But I just love France so much now. I served in the south of France and in Switzerland. It was amazing.” Meyer said the wide array of opportunities she has in the United States is one of her favorite parts of going to school in Hawaii. “In Germany, you have your education, and you follow the specific plan to become something. Then throughout your life, you don’t change jobs.You stay with the job you went to university for.” This is particularly significant for Meyer because she said she spent most of her childhood in dance training, and while she still loves dance, she felt her career was taking her elsewhere. “Here, I have the feeling you can establish yourself and bring in new ideas.You can be more creative and make something out of yourself.” While she is following her dream of working for the United Nations, dance remains a passion for Meyer, she said. She has spent a lot of time in the Hip-Hop Club since her arrival on campus. “She will destroy anyone at the school dances,” Gibb said, laughing. Edwards agreed she is an “insanely good” dancer and those were not the only good things they had to say of her. Gibb said, “She has this incredibly amazing positive attitude all the time in life, and no matter what happens, she treats everybody with such kindness. She always makes other people feel really good about themselves.” Edwards said, “I just love Rahel with all my heart. She’s the nicest person you will ever meet. She’s a light to so many people here.” •

Graphics by Hannah Manalang MAR CH 2020 33

When worlds collide

Multiracial students say they are finding balance while feeling stuck between differing cultures

BY MICHAEL KRAFT Living in multicultural communities forced Vincent Augustin and Dalvin Keil to find a balance between the cultures surrounding them. Augustin and Keil are both sophomores majoring in information technology and are from Malaysia and Samoa respectively. Being in between two cultures is an issue Augustin said he has experienced his whole life. Augustin is Indian but has lived his entire life in Malaysia. “I wanted to please both groups I was in. With the Indians, I wanted to be more Indian, and with the Malaysians, I tried to be more Malay.” Augustin grew up in a predominantly Malay neighborhood, and he said he tried to fit in with them. At the same time, at home, he was expected to be Indian. He noted he was forced to find a balance between the two. “I would just really try to be how they are. I really exposed myself to movies of all cultures. That’s actually how I learned English too.” He said embracing the Malay culture was easy for him because he was surrounded by it. The Indian culture was harder for him, he said, because his parents were “more Americanized.” When he spent time with his cousins, Augustin shared he felt not Indian enough, so he had to be more deliberate about his Indian culture. While he was in high school, he said he did not fully embrace his Indian culture. “I wanted to choose to be not Indian, and that was tough because I am Indian. I really

“I wanted to please both groups I was in. With the Indians, I wanted to be more Indian, and with the Malaysians, I tried to be more Malay.” Being in a culture different from their ethnicity is both challenging and enlightening, say two students from Malaysia and Samoa. Graphic by Michael Kraft 34


- Vincent Augustin

Graphic by Sadie Scadden

didn’t interact with many Indians until my senior year. Then I decided to embrace [it].” He shared it was more important to embrace his family’s culture than to worry about fitting in with others. Although he embraces his family’s culture more now, Augustin said he still works hard to accept and embrace other people’s cultures as well. Being multicultural has been an asset for him, explained Augustin. “It’s been a huge positive for me. It’s helped me here, to be comfortable with people of other cultures. Because I’m comfortable, I’ll be able to answer their questions, and ask them questions too.” He said he wants people to know it is okay to be different. The important thing is to be true to yourself and not pay attention to what other people think of you. Adjusting to BYUH After living in Samoa for 19 years, Keil said the move to Hawaii involved culture shock. Keil described how it took a little while to get used to being surrounded by so many students from different backgrounds and cultures. “I would say I felt in between culturally,” said Keil. He shared he had to learn how people acted here because it was different from back home. Although he had to learn other cultures and adapt himself, he said he did not mind it. One of the things Keil said he had to deal with was being intimidated by the mainland students’ English. “I always thought their English was topnotch. I was fascinated by the way ... they described their feelings, thoughts and personal opinions. It was very interesting.”

He explained the new slang and metaphors he would hear were interesting to him and things he had never heard before. However, Keil also said he felt he had to choose between his Samoan roots and the new cultures at BYU–Hawaii. “I tried to adjust myself to their culture, and I learned a lot from it. At the same time, I didn’t want to lose my roots. I also wanted to learn something new.” As he settled in, he said he realized he was not alone, and there were other Polynesian students in the same situation as him. As he connected with others, he said he did not have to choose between either culture. “I would say I felt in between culturally, but I would also say I’m more than that because having the gospel in my life makes me different … It made me want to express love and charity to everyone. It doesn’t matter what culture they are or I am.” A professional’s perspective Often, people feel they have to choose between their different cultural heritages, said Dr. Chiung Chen, a professor in the Faculty or Arts & Letters. Chen teaches intercultural communications at BYUH. She said people can have multiple sides culturally and can find a balance between their cultures. “It makes it harder for multicultural people when they are forced to choose [only] one of their cultures,” said Chen. People tend to choose one culture when they are young because they want to fit in, she said. This is because differences are often seen as negative.

People deal with cultural identity issues in different ways, said Chen. “There is no one solution for everyone.” While people generally choose one of their multiple cultures when they are children as they try to fit in, as they grow up, they tend to want to explore more aspects of their cultural identity, shared Chen. According to Chen, college is where most people learn more about the other cultures making up their cultural identity. However, there are some who do not want to embrace the different sides of their cultural identity, Chen said. People not wanting to explore their different cultures is not a problem, explained Chen. “It’s [too bad] if they don’t get to embrace their culture, but if they are happy, then it’s totally fine. Some people like the melting pot and are fine to melt into the host country’s culture.” Chen added that now more people are celebrating cultures, and it is what makes people unique. It is almost to the point where if you only have one culture, it is seen as boring or limiting, she added. The world being more multicultural now than ever before is a good thing, said Chen. “I’d prefer a multicultural society than a single culture society because a single culture society means conformity. If there’s no room for other [cultures], then you’re forced to conform.” •

MAR CH 2020


Dressed in half everyday clothes and half in traditional attire, Ke Alaka’i Graphic Designers Hannah Manalang and Sadie Scadden depict how everyone is part of different cultures.

Profile for Ke Alaka'i News

Ke Alaka'i- March 2020  

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