Tiffany Teng

Katarzyna Chwalenia

Community Bursary Award Holder

Joining us from: New Jersey, USA

MSc Social Anthropology (2020)

I’m currently an MSc. Social Anthropology student. Born and raised in the U.S., I spent the past few years living in Myanmar, an experience that shaped my career and outlook. Before that, I was marketing cosmetics and fashion in New York. Using that knowledge, I began working with NGOs and social enterprises in Myanmar on communications, while I pursued freelance writing and started an ethical clothing brand with traditional Myanmar textiles. Just before arriving in Oxford, I spent half a year studying intensive Chinese in Taiwan. I was drawn to anthropology, a discipline that uses ethnographic research to study humans from multiple perspectives, as it ties together historical, political, social, and economic contexts. I wanted to slip a foundational structure under my experiences immersing in different cultures. Here, I can engage with the interplay of my own Asian American identity and how identities and lived experiences shape, and are shaped by, our society and worldview. I plan to apply anthropology to researching migration, labour rights and sustainable food systems. I hope to continue my passion for storytelling to help shed light on these issues, through writing and photography. 

The St. Cross Community Bursary validated my decision to study at Oxford because I am an advocate for sharing knowledge and cross-disciplinary participation. Since childhood, I have always been that person joining every club and activity, finding joy and meaning in each. The bursary allows me to continue pursuing informed, applicable, real-world solutions to social problems, in particular the barriers that prevent immigrants or children of immigrants from mobility or achieving a higher quality of life. My studies have already opened my mind and challenged my way of thinking from a scholarly approach. Classmates from all over the world bring their own perspectives and interests, an unparalleled boon of small group discussions and tutorials. Despite an unusual start to the academic year, St. Cross has made us feel like part of a community. I look forward to exploring the vast opportunities that studying at University of Oxford will open for me.