Name: Jaisang Sun
Major: International Studies
Class: Class of 2012
Facilitator Since: Spring, 2011
I joined FIUTS as a facilitator in Spring of 2011. I was a transfer student from New York, and while I was raised in Seattle area, I didn’t have much knowledge of what to expect of a typical UW life. A friend of mine, now a PhD candidate at Stanford referred me to FIUTS. Ever since that Spring, FIUTS has been an important part in all aspects of my UW life, both academic and social, also my life after graduation.
What does it mean to be a FIUTS facilitator?
FIUTS facilitator is a position of privilege, and privilege entails heavy responsibilities. For me, as a facilitator, I honor and value the responsibility of creating a space for cross-cultural understanding to take place through communication. This responsibility is particularly important to me because despite the hard work that FIUTS is putting into achieving its goals, a full cross-cultural understanding does not necessarily happen 100% of the times; being around a group of very talented students from all around the world with different skillsets and perspectives to share with others is tough for all. Given the privilege and power to create spaces in which such understanding can take place is fruitful when it happens, but it sure is a challenge to not abuse it.
Favorite FIUTS anecdote as a facilitator
I remember all of my FIUTS events and activities vividly. As much appreciated as I am for all of those, my favorite anecdote comes from the 2012 FIUTS Summer Camping to Lake Cushman that I facilitated with a group of awesome facilitators. Around the campfire always seems to generate a garrulous atmosphere in which very deep and personal conversations take place. Along with friends of different age, ethnicity, nationality, sex, orientation, etc., we talked until the next morning around the campfire about critical thinking, capitalism, nation-state, politics, and love. At times, we found ourselves debating on certain issues due to the differences in interpretation of certain things, but facilitating the discussion to be more productive and friendly definitely seemed to have allowed a space to be created for everyone with different backgrounds to understand each other and their interpretation of issues at stake. Of course we had very hard time the next day trying not to fall asleep during our hiking adventure, but talking overnight was definitely worth it.
Tips/comments for peer facilitators
Enjoy being with others and being able to share your thoughts and understanding with others. Try to understand them to the best of your ability before presenting your perspectives on things. As a leader, creating a space for cross-cultural understanding to take place is an important duty and a privilege you owe to the participants.
Click here for more information on how to become a facilitator.