Euroculture Spotlight #7: Yining Chen › Euroculture

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Euroculture Spotlight #7: Yining Chen

14 Feb 2017

The seventh edition of the Euroculture spotlight features Yining Chen (Euroculture student and editor-in-chief of The Euroculturer).

Thanks, Yining, for taking the time to answer our questions!

What is your affiliation with Euroculture?

I am currently doing my research track in University of Groningen.

What is your current occupation?

I am a student. Learning, doubting, and making the most of the student discounts (hopefully) is my profession. Other than that, I am a volunteer of the queer refugee team at COC Groningen&Drenthe—a local national rainbow organization branch in the Netherlands. The volunteer work prevents me being stuck in some first world problems, but it also frustrates me with the gap between theory and practice (“Ugh, I’m done being the voice of reason. It’s exhausting. I got to take an angry nap”).

Alright, let’s get to the point. You might be wondering why I am here answering these questions: Well, this year, I am the new editor-in-chief of  The Euroculturer.

Where have you studied during Euroculture?

I studied in Göttingen for the first semester and have been staying in Groningen since. I spent a week in Olomouc during the IP and another week at Utrecht University for the NOISE summer school on gender studies.

Would you like to share something special about your Euroculture experience?

Hmm, is there anything not special about my Euroculture experience? I remember our a cappella Göttinger group (four quirky girls and well… me) chorusing “Row Row Row Your Boat” on the train back from Hanover after a 15-anniversary Euroculture conference; I remember those Friday-night parties at one of our classmates’ house and his “orange juice with flavor” made me take a two-hour nap while the party went on; I remember the first sunlight I welcomed on the very day that our Eurocompetence II film premiered; I remember the long and bright hallway in Palacký University where I prepared my IP presentation; I remem… Cut. Sorry I have to cut it here, otherwise it will extend to numerous pages and I will not be able to live forward.

What did you like the most about Euroculture and why?

Sometimes I really wonder if there is any causality in terms of liking something. Isn’t it at some nuanced moment that you liked something without rhyme or reason, and then you start seeing the beauty of it? I cannot recall the moment I liked Euroculture, but when I realized it, I have long been enjoying the discussion with people from diverse backgrounds and disciplines, the encounter and reunion in each semester, and many other trivial things and moments that Euroculture brought to me. It is not very difficult to like Euroculture, but maybe a bit difficult to not like it too much.

What did you do before Euroculture?

Trying very hard not to grow up as a bad person. I’m not sure if studying Japanese at Beijing Language and Culture University or doing a Master program of comparative literature at Osaka University was part of it.

What are your plans for the future?

Try harder not to be a bad person. Pursuing a PhD in gender studies at Utrecht University might help?

Where is the best place you have traveled to and why?

I really don’t have a favorite place in particular. The places usually lingering in my mind are the ones where I had irreproducible memories, for instance a shabby hostel on a beach in Nago, Okinawa where I encountered a Japanese woman who had been a nurse in Russia. I can still see her bright forehead and determined eyes from that night when she was talking about her beliefs and ambitions. It was the first time I realized how people shine when talking about something they are really passionate about. And the places with spots I failed to go to for various reasons, such as Steidl Press in Göttingen, City Lights bookstore in San Fransisco, Elizabeth Bishop’s resident and Better Than Sex, a dessert restaurant in Key West.

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