Rishi Ling ’18 has received a highly competitive Princeton in Asia fellowship to teach English at the University of Macau. He also is a Fulbright finalist for an English Teaching Assistant grant to Taiwan.
Ling, who is from Libertyville, Illinois, graduated cum laude with a degree in music and currently serves as a paraprofessional in CC’s Music Department. He is the third Colorado College recipient of the prestigious Princeton in Asia fellowship in the last three years.
Ling’s desire to join a community in Asia stems from his family’s experiences relocating; his father’s parents fled China at the end of the Chinese Civil War, and his mother’s family fled India during the Partition. “My Chinese and Indian grandparents lost so much because of the political turmoil that transformed their home countries,” he says. “My family’s narratives inspire me to give back and offer support to communities through culture and language teaching.”
Although the Princeton in Asia fellowship in Macau does not focus on helping settle refugees, it does provide Ling an opportunity to teach English to undergraduates who wish to expand their worldviews and cultural perspectives. “I will be able to offer my own experiences and advice to those who wish to work and live overseas, furthering their understanding of the variety of cultures and communities that make up America,” he says.
Ling served as a First Year Experience mentor and later as an ethnomusicology research assistant in the Music Department. He plans to translate his experience as a research assistant who formatted class materials, developed a syllabus, and designed a digital humanities final class project into his English course curricula during his yearlong fellowship in Macau.
After graduating from CC and while serving as a paraprof, Ling worked with the Colorado College Refugee Alliance and the Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains Refugee and Asylee Programs, mentoring refugees and helping them find jobs, work inspired by his family’s own narrative. Ling says while working with refugees in Colorado Springs, he has pulled from his music and arts backgrounds to help bridge cultural dissonance and language barriers.
“For example, in my meetings with a young man from Eritrea, I found extra-verbal activities that ask him to draw pictures of job advertisements and label them in English help me communicate with him, despite my not speaking Tigrinya and his limited English proficiency. Our time spent learning from each other and cultivating a friendship encourages me to meet peoples from around the world, learn from them and teach,” he says.
“As a multiracial post-grad, I am intrigued by Macau’s rich cultural heritages, specifically its fusing of Portuguese and Chinese cultural influences,” says Ling. “Through exploring the region’s multiculturalism, I hope to have the opportunity to more deeply reflect upon my own multicultural identity.
“As a Princeton in Asia fellow at the University of Macau, I hope to connect to my students’ diverse heritages through building a community that fosters multicultural identities,” he says. “I also will seek to pull from my background in music by designing projects in which students engage in cultural sharing through group music making.”
The mission of Princeton in Asia is to promote goodwill and understanding and to facilitate the free interchange of the best ideals in the civilizations of both East and West. The organization aims to foster “mutual appreciation and cultural understanding by connecting service-minded graduates and partner organizations in Asia through immersive work experiences that transform perspectives, cultivate long-lasting relationships and benefit local and global communities.”