Growing up in Howard County, Maryland, Manisha Vepa ’18, economics and global studies, developed an understanding of her Indian-American identity through dance. She also found common ground with classmates from other cultural heritages, particularly Chinese- and Korean-Americans, through the arts, including orchestra. As their friendships developed, they shared food, religious, and cultural traditions. “Instead of focusing on my ‘otherness,’ I started to recognize and become comfortable with the similarities we shared and the differences that made us unique,” says Vepa.
What started as a personal interest became an academic and professional one. As a Fulbright Scholar teaching English in South Korea, Vepa hopes to use popular music as a teaching tool. She also looks forward to learning traditional Korean dance. Vepa plans to enroll in a graduate program on East Asian Affairs upon her return.