Students Present Documentaries on International Issues

Pomona College students presented their original documentary films at the Oldenborg Luncheon Colloquium Thursday.

The students were recipients of Summer Film Grants from the Pacific Basin Institute, which provided students the opportunity to make films related to Asian studies while studying abroad during the summer. The films explored relevant subjects in students’ respective countries.

Ruiyi “Vera” Zhu PO ’14 presented her documentary, “Chinese Foodprints in New Zealand.” Zhu spent her summer abroad in New Zealand studying immigrant Chinese populations. Zhu especially focused on the experiences of Chinese immigrants working in the food industry, such as restaurant owners.

Spencer Heim PO ’15 made a documentary entitled “The Blossoming of Japan’s English Education.” Heim lived in Yokohama, Japan, a city near Tokyo, for five weeks during the summer studying English education in Japan. Heim went to a university in Tokyo and an elementary school in Yokohama to talk to teachers and students.

“Japan’s English education has a reputation of being one of the worst in Asia, and I wanted to find out why that was,” Heim said. “Their speaking is the main problem because they can read and write just fine. Because of the system, it’s a lot of lecturing, but they don’t have much language practice until college. But because they don’t speak a lot in class, their confidence is low.”

LaFaye Garth PO ’13 made her documentary about the Chinese population in Ghana, entitled “Chinese Settlers and Transmigrants in Ghana.” Garth spent her time abroad in Ghana interacting with Chinese immigrants. Her documentary focused on topics ranging from undocumented Chinese workers in Ghana to Chinese hotel workers and students.

In addition to Zhu, Heim and Garth, Corey Fayne PO ’15 presented “Exploring the Gay Life in Contemporary South Korea,” though his film was cut short due to technical difficulties.

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