Walking into a pub to escape the pouring rain on an English day, alumnus Isabella Tam felt secure. She was a long way from the comforts of home and the endless sunshine of Los Angeles. However, to her, Britain has been her comfort. With a pear cider in her hand and a hot meal on the way, she has nothing else to do than to enjoy the steady rainfall outside the window.
Tam had a choice going into her semester of studying Political Science abroad from CSULA. It would be either the University of Exeter, in small town England, or Hong Kong Poly, which was caught in the midst of the city’s fiercest demonstrations. Although she was eager to see her family in Hong Kong, her choice reflected her personal concerns for her safety.
“I felt it might have been potentially dangerous for me to go [to Hong Kong],” Tam said, “A month into study abroad, students were locked in the school and forced to starve or surrender, this included those who were not participating in the protests.”
However, her decision to go to the United Kingdom (UK) was not a regretful one, as she quickly fell in love with various aspects of the country.
“I love the rain and the cold,” Tam said. “I got to see rainbows on a weekly basis. The Lochs are beautiful, and being able to go to a pub for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a reasonable price was fantastic.”
Tam’s studies both at home and abroad were fueled by her desire for social change. Abroad, she challenged herself with courses on British history.
“I felt having a solid background in history will benefit me when I pursue a political career,” Tam said. “It was difficult taking a college level British history course when I had no foundation.”
Tam is now using her new gained experiences for the betterment of the community and her people back home. She has accepted a job as an intern from the City of Los Angeles and looks to be championing a movement that aims to elevate Asian voices and bring power to the Asian populace in Los Angeles.
“Being able to bring my community’s issues to the table and getting something done at a higher level would be the ultimate dream career for me,” Tam said.