Gene Kent Lin is a Running Start student at Green River College. He is currently enrolled in a computer science pathway and also plans to pursue business studies. After college, he aspires to travel the world to experience diverse cultures and places, especially in East Asia.
Gene took 2019-20 Asian Studies Fellow Michelle Marshman‘s revised course, HS 231 Modern Asia in Fall 2020. In this interview, he explained how his newly enhanced understanding of Asian history and culture has affirmed his ambitions to travel widely after graduation.
Why did you decide to take this course? How does it relate to your program of study and/or academic or professional goals?
Both my parents immigrated to the US from China in 1998, in hopes for a better future. My father, who lived in a small Taishan village in China, often told me stories about the lush mountains, rice fields, and culture that he experienced. However, because of the language barrier, my parents never became proficient enough to garner a decent paying job in the US, and thus I never got to travel to China to experience the cultural side of my family in person. Because of this, I have always been fascinated by many parts of Asia, wanting to learn more about its history and wanting to be part of the culture. This is why during my first year of college I decided to take this course. Because my family sacrificed a lot for me, I only hope that one day, I will be able to make a sacrifice for them, a dream where we can travel the world freely.
How does the course differ to others you’ve taken before?
Although I haven’t taken many college courses yet, I can say Modern Asia will probably be my most memorable one. Professor Marshman teaches in a way no other professor has. She is always engaged and responsive with her students. I’ve learned so much more throughout the quarter than I previously have. In all, the course pushed me to become more informed on modern issues in Asia, as what we hear today will become history in books in the oncoming years.
Are there any particular assignments you can tell us about? In what way were they valuable learning experiences?
One of my favorite assignments occurred when we had to watch and discuss the movie Taxi Driver, directed by Jang Hoon. The movie took place during the Gwangju Uprising, which occurred after the assassination of President Park Chung-hee. As South Korea struggled to keep a national democracy, many citizens and especially college students went to the streets to protest, which led to President Chun Doo-hwan demanding martial law. Because of the movie, I learned that many countries struggled for democracy and that many governments continue to be oppressive and corrupt.
Why do you think it is important for students at your Green River College to be given more opportunities to develop competencies in Asian Studies, Global Learning and international exchange?
I think that learning history is a way to understand the world from another perspective. This is especially important given how easily propaganda can be spread with a click of a mouse. I think that people should learn to understand history, instead of listening to information that could potentially be inaccurate. The term “fake news” is often heard all around the world, and if we could educate ourselves to become wary of misinformation, many people would benefit.
What impact will this course have your ongoing learning and professional development?
Overall, I think that the learning from this course will stay with me for my entire life. As knowledge is key to life, I feel that by understanding and educating yourself, it will be for the greater good. In the end, I believe that by taking this course, students can transform their views on the amazing history of Asia.
Interview Conducted December 2020.