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Student Spotlight

Read about this month’s International Studies Student Spotlight. Students were asked to share an influential experience they had that connected to their International Studies major or minor.

January 2018

Tazia Miah

BS International Studies (Global Environment and Health); minor, Asian Languages and Culture (Japanese) ‘19

Hometown: Hamtramck, MI

Affiliations: Secretary for the Bangladeshi Student Association, outreach to Hamtramck High School for Colleges, member of Global Scholars Program, member of CommCon (Planning Community Service & Social Bonding Events), two-semester internship with ALPHA Education, member of the Foundation for International Medical Relief for Children: Global Awareness Committee, community service member of the Muslim Student Association, volunteer at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Ann Arbor, volunteer at Michigan Medicine, circulation desk assistant at the University of Michigan Libraries, past peer advisor for Health Science Scholars Program and Summer Orientation Leader, MAC-ASB volunteer, past UROP research assistant in the effects of dietary changes for lowering type 2 diabetes, and Past Fellow with the Campus Election Engagement Program

“I believe that the world and the people within it have an infinite amount of knowledge to offer. It is by taking the time to understand others that allows compassion to be sustainable in this world and discrimination to not. Seizing the opportunities to learn this knowledge is not something that I am keen on forgoing.

From a young age, I have been intrigued with how individuals and groups are both unique and the same. This curiosity sparked my passion to pursue International Studies as my major with the sub-plan of Global Environment and Health at the University of Michigan. What I specifically found intriguing about the International Studies major is its emphasis on incorporating culture and gaining insight into how people interact with each other and the rest of the world. International Studies provides a foundation for understanding people on a personal level and global scale, which provides me with necessary resources as I plan to pursue further health and medical education after graduation. I believe understanding people and their stories is crucial to providing the best healthcare and educated preventative methods. International Studies allows me to choose an individualized course load in order to do so. I believe it is the incorporation of what we learn inside and outside the classroom combined that provides the most learning opportunities, which is exactly what the International Studies major promotes!

Last summer, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Tokyo, Japan. Traveling to Japan had its overwhelming pros, but there were still challenges along the way. Although I have taken Japanese classes, I am far from fluent. Having to overcome the language barrier, it was challenging to always be able to communicate smoothly or to be able to understand the Japanese spoken around me. It also made me realize the luxury of English being such a prominent language in the world. From menus to the directions on subways, there was more incorporation of English in Tokyo than I expected. Many people also knew bits of English, but I doubt that can be said for people knowing Japanese as frequently in the United States. Being in Japan definitely encouraged me to want to continue taking Japanese classes to be able to communicate more readily. Throughout my childhood, I have also seen how my mom has faced barriers due to her Bengali accent and her original lack of fluency in English. This pushes me even more to retain the languages that I speak (Bengali) or am learning (Japanese) and continue to strive to be welcoming to anyone who speaks another language. I agree with the many that say we should praise those who know multiple languages because without people taking the initiative to understand each other, how would we ever communicate?”

Future plans: “I hope to continue pursuing global experiences abroad. In the summer of 2018, I will be going on a Global Intercultural Experience for Undergraduates (GIEU) study abroad trip to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to learn from and work with non-profit organization on community development and entrepreneurship. As I continue my undergraduate education, I hope to increase my understanding of cultures and various perspectives around the world. I also hope to learn more about what different food systems entail for people’s health, the health barriers people face, and how we can tackle these complex health challenges. After graduating, I hope to attend graduate school to pursue a Master in Public Health (MPH) in Health Behavior and Health Education in health disparities and food accessibility and later a Doctor of Medicine (MD) program in family medicine or neonatal care.”

Read about past International Studies Student Spotlights: