Facilitator Corner: CJay Hon
FIUTS Facilitators are student leaders from all over the world who welcome new international visitors, help organize events, and lead activities for hundreds of students each quarter. Read on to find out more about the FIUTS facilitator experience from CJay Hon.
Name: CJay (Zhijie) Hon
Country: Singapore & Brunei
FIUTS Facilitator Since: December 2016
Hey! My name is CJay and I grew up in a small Muslim country in SE Asia called Brunei, although I was born in the thriving metropolis of Singapore, yet both of these countries have played a huge party in my identity and who I am today. I’m really into photography and I love the adventure of travel and learning about new cultures, foods and customs and I’m definitely open to new experiences and creating awesome connections with people wherever I go. This is basically why I left all I knew behind and flew halfway around the world to Seattle to try and figure out where life is going to take me next!
What does it mean to be a FIUTS facilitator?
To be involved with FIUTS challenges me to constantly test myself to be as understanding and as patient as I can. It means that I have to constantly re-evaluate what I know about the world every time I meet someone new from a country or culture I am unfamiliar with. It means that I am constantly learning through stories and realizing how incredible it is for so many diverse people to come together through this organization. I am a facilitator because as an international student, FIUTS was there when I first came into this university and I wanted to give back to an org that gave me such unique connections whenever I attended their events!
Favorite FIUTS anecdote as a facilitator
I recently took part in Global Ambassador Day where me and an awesome team of other FIUTS facilitators had to share their culture or country with local elementary students. At first, I was terrified of being stuck in a classroom of ten-year-olds and was worried that they would have gotten bored of my lesson plan, but I realized that children actually are genuinely eager to learn about anything new, especially somewhere as far away as Singapore! And they had so many questions, at least, a whole lot more than college lectures! It taught me to really embrace teaching content to the next generation of leaders. To stand in front and talk about my country’s local food, languages and daily life was so refreshing, and I was so glad to have been a part of the crew. It was also really cool to stand in front of the whole school during assembly and have them so excited to learn about new cultures.
CJay prepares a lion head, a symbol of Singapore, for his classroom presentation
How have you grown as a leader through being a facilitator?
I’m naturally curious so I feel that being a part of FIUTS also means to always seek answers to questions that naturally come up when having conversations with people from a different background than myself. It teaches me to have respect for everybody, and recognize greatness in everyone’s stories.
Tips/comments for peer facilitators
Facilitating literally takes you out of your comfort zone, especially if you’re someone who hasn’t been leading from the front for a while. I encourage new facilitators to always be open to leading events because you really don’t know who you might meet through any of these interactions and that to me is incredibly exciting – to meet people from all four corners of the planet in one day and to be able to share that space with people who are so open to sharing about themselves. Especially in college, we get so caught up in everyday tasks that we forget to embrace how many different stories there are to be told, and taking that first step into getting to know these stories is what makes FIUTS super worthwhile.
Check out our past Facilitator Corners:
Omar Altoaimi, Diana Park, Herish Patel, Cece Zhang, Nail Hassairi, Sophia Chakalo, Bader Alfarhan, Peirce Kirkham, Alissa Mustre, Ang Li, Wedward Wei, Terry Jung, Hassan Almuzaini, Isabella Ning, Lucy Deng, Nhung Le, Abigail Lim, Ferris Maghi, Kevin Sander, Joey Liao, Anya Raj, Minhtu Nguyen, Jianyang (Jane) Zhang, Jialu Sun, Fleur Xuanlin Li,