Through the Looking Glass: Monisha SHCHERBAKOVA and Fitting In / 鏡中人: Monisha SHCHERBAKOVA

(按此看中文版)

With a pile of books in one hand and a circuit board in another (definitely an engineering student) Monisha SHCHERBAKOVA (HSBC Prosperity Hall) makes her way through the bustling crowd. She greets me with a radiant smile and her calming presence is infectious.

To give a little background, Monisha’s father is from India and her mother from Russia. She was born and raised in India, moving within the country a few times and speaking Russian at home with her parents. Currently in the second year of her degree, Monisha majors in Computer and Data Engineering. After she completes her bachelor’s degree, she intends to go to Australia for her postgraduate degree.

Monisha SHCHERBAKOVA (right) and her friends explore Stanley together. / Monisha SHCHERBAKOVA(右)閒時與朋友一起探索赤柱。

With such a mixed background, I cannot help but ask her why she chose to come to Hong Kong. She answers that she wanted to live in a cosmopolitan city that was bursting with an international lifestyle. During her search for universities in places like Hong Kong and Singapore, City University of Hong Kong popped up and she was immediately intrigued. The degree she wanted was provided; there were opportunities for international students like scholarships and exchange programs, as well as an on campus residence. Monisha knew CityU could give her a chance to live in a city with so many people coming from different backgrounds – a place where she felt like she could belong.

This need of belonging stems from her time back home in India, “In the inside, I felt Indian but on the outside, I don’t look like one, so most people did not receive me as one,” she says. For a long time, she thought she was the problem. Identity is partially defined by the people you are with. But her attempts at pleasing others to “naturally fit in” were not always successful, making it hard to socialize and form a solid group of friends. However, since attending CityU, she has realised it is not about fitting in, rather its about finding the right people who bring out the best in you. Ultimately, there will never be a reason to change yourself. Also, since CityU is overflowing with people from diverse upbringings, there should be no pressure to only hang out with people who come from the same physical place as you.

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Helping out at the Indian booth during an event in the Student Residence. / 在宿舍活動中負責製作和推介印度特色小食。

As a result, Monisha has made some life-changing friendships, even though she has only been in Hong Kong for a year and a half. Every person she has met has changed her perspective on the world and she still continues to grow and learn from the people around her.

This one individual displays how every person, no matter who you are or where you are from, has goals and dreams they want to achieve. I hope this first “Through the Looking Glass” feature is an inspiration for our fellow residents and can be the kick-start to a relatable and encouraging series that shall serve as a reminder that even though you may feel alone in pursuing your aspirations, you can always find support and motivation from the diverse range of CityU residents.

Writer:   Hanna Suchanya LIM (Alumni Civility Hall)
Photographer & Images:   Ellen DING (Alumni Civility Hall), Monisha SHCHERBAKOVA (HSBC Prosperity Hall)

~~~

一手抱著幾本書,一手拿著電路板(毫無疑問是工程學學生),住在滙豐業昕堂的Monisha SHCHERBAKOVA穿過喧鬧的人群。她對我露出燦爛的微笑,讓我也感到愉悅起來。

Monisha的爸爸是印度人,媽媽是俄羅斯人。她從小在印度長大,在國內搬過幾次家,在家和父母都說俄語。她現在就讀二年級,專攻電子計算機及數據工程學。在她取得學士學位之後,她打算去澳洲繼續進修。

Monisha SHCHERBAKOVA loves the outdoors. / Monisha SHCHERBAKOVA 熱愛戶外活動。

她有著如此複雜的背景,所以我情不自禁問她為何選擇來香港。她回答說她想生活在一個東西文化薈萃的世界大都會。當初她在篩選一些位於香港、新加坡等地的大學的時候,香港城市大學就這麼抓住了她的眼球。她想修讀的科目能在這裡找到;這裡為國際學生提供了交換和獎學金的機會,也提供了住宿。Monisha了解到城大能賦予她和來自不同文化背景的人一起生活的機會--一個讓她有歸屬感的地方。

這種對歸屬感的需求源於她在印度的生活經歷。「在印度,我自我感覺是印度人,可是從外表上看,我並不像,所以大多數人並不接受我是他們的一員,」她說。很長一段時間,她都認為自己是問題的癥結所在,苦惱非常。自我認同感很多時需要身邊人來定義,但由於她的混血背景,Monisha 自小便很難「自然融入」任何社交圈子,使得收獲堅固的友誼變得困難。 然而,自從來到城大之後,她就意識到了真正重要的不是努力融入,而是找到能讓你成為更好的人。歸根究底,人本來就不應勉強改變自己來奉承他人。正因為城大四處都是背景不一的人,她不再局限於與同鄉來往。

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Monisha is half-Indian, half-Russian, making her a fine spokesperson for the two very distinct cultures. / 身為印俄混血兒的Monisha,可說是印度和俄羅斯這兩種迥異文化的最佳代言人。

因此,儘管她才來這裡一年半而已,Monisha已收獲了不少改變她一生的友誼。她碰到的每一個人都在改變她看待世界的方式,她也一直在不斷向身邊的人學習,不斷成長。

Monisha and friends enjoyed a fun evening with her fellow Prosperians at the Prosperians Night. / Monisha 和她的朋友們積極參與了業昕人宴。

她的經歷,展示了每一個人,無論你是誰,來自哪裡,都有著想要實現的目標與夢想。我希望這第一篇【鏡中人】人物專訪,能鼓舞到所有宿生,並提醒你即使在追逐夢想的過程中,或會有孤獨相伴,但在城大文化背景多元的宿舍中,你也總能找到新的支持和動力。

文:   Hanna Suchanya LIM (校友樂禮堂)
攝/圖:   丁琳笠(校友樂禮堂)、Monisha SHCHERBAKOVA (滙豐業昕堂)

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