As a product of immigration, I was shaped by the unique benefits and challenges of spending my developmental years in multiple cultures. I was born in the rural province of Nueva Ecija, Philippines but spent most of my early childhood years in the country’s capital city of Manila. When I was six years old, my family moved to Singapore for several years before settling down in Guam by my ninth birthday, when my father contracted a job with an international hotel franchise. Learning to navigate the cultural discrepancies in my life soon became a norm, one that shaped my values and priorities. Through trial and error, I developed skills to adapt and succeed across cultural boundaries as I encountered new people ceaselessly through my travels.
While I capitalized on the benefits of and loved my nomadic life, I could not ignore the inevitable costs that accompanied my experiences. Some of the challenges included an acute lack of stabilization and the feeling that “home” was always elsewhere, which hindered a sense of belonging to any one location. For example, I hesitated to claim ownership of any of the countries I grew up in due to ethnic and cultural barriers, yet I also felt perceived as a foreigner every time I returned to my legal homeland in the Philippines. Throughout the years, my fluency in English masked my international upbringing and nomadic history, which produced a “hidden immigrant” mentality. Moreover, as a result of my family’s constant relocating, the transition to a new culture and cost of living proved to be very challenging. I knew from a young age that my parents would not be able to afford many things, let alone a college education for my siblings and me. The endlessly changing horizons in my life incurred both benefits and challenges that defined my identity and shaped my goals, including my dedication to studying these processes through the lens of psychology, sociology, and education.
At University of Guam (UOG), I dove into my first learning of theories, practices, and issues in the field. Among the many academic opportunities, the highlights of my college career involved instigating ideas, and conducting and presenting research that meaningfully added to the current body of knowledge. In my psychology senior project, I initiated a study that investigated the effects of acculturation on attitudes towards gender roles and intimate relationships. I also explored concepts of language, culture, globalization, and community development during my academic travels to the Philippines and Indonesia. The learning process strengthened my knowledge, character, and methodological skills to best decipher and address prevailing educational needs across disciplines.
Furthermore, working for the Social Behavioral Sciences division at UOG, I assisted in the teaching of various courses, including Child Development, Social and Cross-cultural Psychology. Aside from preparing and grading course assignments and exams, I led class...