Alumni Spotlight: Kerri Lu
product marketing manager, onesky localization
Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2014-2016
What was your most valuable takeaway from the fellowship?
The YCF played an incredible role in my becoming who I am in terms of my career choices, life values and my perspective of the world. I learned that I always have a choice in every situation and how I react to it. Often, the most challenging circumstances ended up being resolved in the most rewarding ways. Nowadays, even in situations where I feel uncomfortable or out of my depths,
the YCF allowed me to build a real confidence to know that with a steady and open mind, I can figure it out.
what makes YCF unique?
You learn what you are capable of "in the real world" by applying skills you have learned throughout your Fellowship.
You figure out what works and what doesn't; you learn from it and keep going.
Do you see the YCF in your life today? If yes, how so?
The Yale-China Fellowship is part of my life today in so many wonderful ways, but
the two most valuable parts remain the community it has given me and the gift of seeing this part of the world in a whole new light.
Beyond the news, I learned the real stories behind life in Hong Kong from my students, who taught me so much more than headlines ever could. The visits with Mainland Fellows were invaluable as well in teaching me the nuances of living in China from both student and Fellow perspectives. Questions like, what are family dynamics like in Xiuning vs Zhuhai? What role does English education play at each site? What are the students' view of their hometown, their country, the world? Are kids in Changsha as obsessed with the NBA as the adults? I now understand at a deeper level than before that there are always multiple sides and real-life stories behind every article we see in the news.
This has empowered me with a kind of flexibility to keep an open mind when I meet someone new or encounter a new situation.
(And yes, the NBA is a big deal for everyone.)
What would you say to yale students nervous about teaching for the first time?
Moving to Hong Kong straight after college was a huge transition, not to mention jumping into the classroom--and with students not much younger than me! Not only was Yale-China's community extremely supportive along the way, but
hearing the wisdom of all the Fellows before me and our Fellowship family of co-fellows and our cohort really helped me feel empowered to take on my new situation.
Why would you recommend this experience to another Yale student/alumnus?
It's one of the most exciting opportunities out there for young grads!
Especially for those interested in teaching and deeply engaging with US-China relations. That aside,
it's also a great adventure to have where you'll be fully immersed in a community and a fascinating culture.
Many fresh grads worry about the two year commitment, but I found the length crucial to truly getting to know my surroundings and being able to improve my teaching. China is a complicated place; so is Hong Kong. It can get pretty overwhelming at times--but the Fellowship also taught me that this is perhaps new for any new community that you commit to engaging with deeply, as we did in our time as Fellows. And that at the end of the day, it is worth getting to know this place and its people.