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Life@W&M - William Ryu '21

Life@W&M - William Ryu '21

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Week 312 — August 24 - 30, 2020 This account showcases "a week in the life" of our amazing students, faculty, and staff and features the range of opportunities and activities available both on campus and off.

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Before coming to #williamandmary, I was greatly involved in community service opportunities in the areas I lived in. When I got to campus for my first year, I found so many clubs and orgs that focus on community engagement that I wasn’t sure what to get involved in. A friend of mine introduced me to @wmbranchout, a student-led service program facilitated by our @oceatwm. My first Branch Out program was focused on the lack of affordable housing in the U.S., and we worked with Habitat for Humanity in Laredo, TX, located on the border between the U.S. & Mexico. Especially due to Laredo’s particular location, we were able to learn about affordable housing through an intersectional lens that includes issues such as immigration and education policy. Through the active citizenship model that Branch Out promotes, I learned more inclusively about all of these issues while practicing collective leadership and greater intentionality with our service efforts. This intentionality pushed me to become more conscientiously reflective and gain a deeper understanding of the privileges I hold that others may not have access to. Another opportunity I’ve participated in through Branch Out is our program with @wm_lemonproject, which aims to uncover the wrongs perpetrated against African Americans by William & Mary. Working with the Lemon Project gave me an opportunity to gain a more holistic understanding of our institution’s history, which I believe is critical for inclusive advancement. My involvement with Branch Out has taught me to translate these experiences to my daily thoughts and actions, and become a more engaged active citizen in our community. Our programs are being adapted to virtually provide comparable experiences to ensure that anyone can participate this semester (peep our zoom “passing of the trunk” transition meeting between the outgoing and new “Trunk” student coordinators). I’d highly recommend anyone interested in becoming more educated and taking action to explore upcoming opportunities with Branch Out! -WSR (@wsryu_122)

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If you have the time and resources to study or work abroad, I’d highly recommend it! Through our Reves Center (@internationalwm), I’ve been able to get connected to programs and scholarships to study abroad in four programs during my time at #williamandmary. I know opportunities to go abroad aren’t easily accessible by everyone, but lots of resources are available out there to lessen those barriers and challenges. If you need any help or advice navigating financial support feel free to reach out! My first program was a summer field-study in rural Guatemala, comparing the theories and practice of international development. Having grown up in the US & Korea, I lacked personal insight into how the development theories and policies we learn about in classes impact the daily lives of others. I also spent a summer in the Netherlands and Estonia studying European regional security from the perspective of Western and Eastern European countries. Both of these experiences exposed me to daily realities, providing me with invaluable contextual insight. Although I was initially worried about the extra financial burdens of studying abroad during the summer, I was able to find scholarships through the Reves Center to make my global experiences possible. I also participated in a winter field-study in Oman, where we learned about its tremendous geology and contemporary culture. I hadn’t taken any geology or music classes at W&M before that program, and it was an incredibly unique opportunity to explore those fields in the context of a country and region of the world I‘m less familiar with. Last but not least, I spent a semester in Barcelona, Spain to continue my studies in Spanish and architecture. Though I missed my friends at home and the beautiful W&M campus during my time away, I had an amazing time improving my Spanish skills, enjoying unforgettable homecooked meals with my host family, and exploring works of European architecture I’d studied through textbooks. -WSR (@wsryu_122)

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When I first got to #williamandmary, I wasn’t confident that all the “You Belong” posters were meant for me. Unlike some of my friends who planned on applying to come here their whole lives, I arrived in Williamsburg with anxious uncertainty. These worries quickly changed to excitement as I got involved across campus and found friends that have supported me to grow and learn. Not everyone is able to find the experience they’re looking for when they arrive at college, and I’ve been fortunate enough to discover mine. I applied to become an Orientation Aide to help other new students get acquainted to our campus with an honest but optimistic outlook. Being part of our orientation program the past two years has reminded me to be thankful of the people and opportunities that have made my experience here so memorable and fulfilling. The new students my co’s and I have had the honor of welcoming have helped me reflect on what I hope to accomplish during my time at W&M and what the communities I’m part of here mean to me - big shoutout to last year’s M3E and this year’s F3U!! As a sentimental senior starting my last year, I want to thank my fraternity (@wm_kdr) and the greater fraternity-sorority community for introducing me to some of my lifelong friends, my a cappella group (@wmgents) for our unforgettable nights creating music together, and the Reeder Media Center & Cohen Career Center for the best student employee families. Thanks for tuning in to my W&M story this week!!! -WSR (@wsryu_122)

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