Liu Chia Wei (Shane Liu)

Hello! My name is Liu Chia Wei but I am commonly known by my anglicized name, Shane Liu. I am a 4th year International student who came to Toronto from Trinidad and Tobago in August 2013. Since it had been decided quite early that I would attend university abroad, I had been looking forward with anticipation to my move to Canada for some time.

I had not anticipated however, my feelings of culture shock, the ambivalence I felt concerning home, as well as how my identity changed in relation to the diverse population of Toronto. These issues were immediately felt: growing up in Trinidad, the ethnic Chinese population was regarded as a minority, whereas in Toronto the Chinese community comprises one of the major population groups of the city.

I had no idea how to act or speak with anyone during my early years here and I decided to analyze these thoughts and feelings in a project known as “Toronto of Now: Views from Another”. The project itself involved video walking tours of the areas in Toronto most significant to me, and these tours were accompanied by personal dialogue relating to both my current and initial feelings of living in the city.

As a result of this analysis of my own personal experience, I began to wonder whether or not my case, concerning these feelings of ambivalence and culture shock, was unique or if other students migrating from their home countries had experienced these feelings too. Therefore, I decided to explore this idea further, resulting in my newest project, Internationality, where I interview various international students concerning their feelings towards the concept of home, culture shock, city life and how the migration had changed their identity.

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