31 / 08 / 18
In this edition of Interfaith Voices, Jinpu Wang writes about how being a part of UCL’s Dance Society has helped her to be more appreciative of people from backgrounds different to her own, and how she is looking forward to returning to China with a more open mind.
The power of cross-communal initiatives in bringing people together is something that I have very recently understood the importance of appreciating.
Having been born and brought up in China, I used to have a somewhat limited understanding of how diverse the world was – until I came to London and saw interfaith gatherings myself, that is. Over the last 21 years, I lived in China where most of the people were Chinese and I studied for my Bachelor’s degree (Chinese International Education) in China. During my internship at the International Student College, I got the opportunity to meet people from many different countries and diverse backgrounds. I also realised with time different faiths and beliefs may causes misunderstandings / unnecessary conflicts – something which cross-communal interfaith initiatives and charities such as the Faith & Belief Forum can resolve. With curiosity to know more about how interfaith initiatives can help to break down barriers, I decided to pursue a Master’s degree in the UK.
After I started my new life here in the UK, I realised it is natural for people to have a tendency to talk or stay with people who share a similar background to them – at least I know for my own case I have a habit of mixing more with Chinese people. But UCL being a very diverse university, through events it has given me the opportunity to meet and communicate with people who come from very different backgrounds to myself.
I have to say, also passionately believe that the arts are a great way to break down barriers that different groups of people may happen to have. As I am very fond of dancing I took the initiative to join the dance society at UCL, where a love for dance brought people of diverse backgrounds. Joining UCL’s Dance Society is probably one of the best decisions I ever made as it enabled me to further meet people from backgrounds different to my own.
We went on to have lots of in-depth conversations in our spare time, through which I understood a lot more about other cultures. I believe that if it were not for intercultural events and cross-communal gatherings that I had been invited to, I would never have known so many people with a non-Chinese background. The experience in this country has been very enriching. I am looking forward to returning to China with an open mind and a much greater appreciation of a diverse array of cultures.