Gillian Chan (BA, English Literature)

Gillian is a recent graduate of English literature and Asian Canadian & Asian Migration Studies who has lived, worked, and studied on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) people. Her experiences as a second and third generation Chinese Canadian have fueled her interests in the early waves of Chinese migration to North America, in particular the mid-twentieth century.

What is a favourite memory or story you have from ACAM? 

My favourite memory of ACAM was taking part in ACAM390 during the summer of 2019. We travelled and ate our way through Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia, and it really was a highlight of my time at UBC. It was my second time in Hong Kong and first in Southeast Asia, so getting to see these places through different perspectives was a very exciting and impactful experience. 

Why did you declare a minor in ACAM? What drew you to the program? 

In one term, I took three English literature courses that were also ACAM courses, so it made sense to apply for the minor since I was fulfilling the credits already. But what really drew me into the program were the conversations we were having in the classes on different diasporic experiences and the book selections. I felt like I could truly resonate with the course themes in a way I never could with other courses I took before. 

Name an ACAM faculty whose class had a significant impact on you and share why. 

Dr. Laura Ishiguro! I took both HIST305 and ACAM300 (History of British Columbia and Dis/Orienting Asian Canada: Asian Canadian Histories for Our Times, respectively). As someone who went through the BC public school system, it was so refreshing to take classes that focused on less reported histories and stories, and those two classes completely reframed my knowledge and perception of what is often considered British Columbian and Canadian history. 

What is one piece of advice you would give your first-year self? 

Expand your knowledge beyond the books you are already reading and relax a bit more.