“I’m a third culture kid by definition. I don’t like that term because it comes with a lot of notions. I’m Indian by birth and by blood. I moved to Hong Kong when I was around 9, I’ve been really integrated into both cultures. But it also means I had Indian social norms at home; and very internalized, capitalist, social norms outside. The conflict resulted in a lot of internal dilemmas and this constant reflexivity about what is right and what’s a collective habit.

Collective habits [in relation to culture or traditions] are things you can question and decide for your own, most people have this in their early adulthood. I had to do that from when I was 9. Some things were true outside of my house, some things were true inside of my house, and it was almost always conflicting. Especially because I’m a woman! Like is it okay to wear shorts at 16 or is it not okay to wear shorts at 16. That seems really miniscule, but when you are having constant arguments at home about it and it represents some kind of honour and dignity in this other cultural context where it’s not given that significance, you as a 16 year old now have to figure out how to communicate that and that’s hard.

I took a gap year and so a part of it I worked with children and taught children. For the last 6 months of it, I worked in a psychiatric facility in Lucknow, India. I witnessed so many people coming from these small towns where they didn’t really understand what mental health even is. They had gone to cardiologist after cardiologist for 5-6 years over anxiety issues because it feels like you’re having a heart attack. Because of so many long term racial issues, we don’t have the right infrastructure. I wanted to change that, so I came here to try and get training here so I can take it back home. That’s a large part about why I’m in psychology!”