Tiger Wang, Education Studies and History

Where are you from, and what brought you to UW–Madison? Tiger Wang Portrait

I am from Beijing, China. I chose UW–Madison for two reasons. First, it has the best education programs in the United States. Our School of Education has been ranked number one among all public universities. Second, the city of Madison is a quiet and beautiful place to study. Growing up in a metropolis like Beijing, I really want to explore a different environment.

What is your major, and how did you choose your major?

I declared Education Studies as my major in my junior year. I have always known that I want to be a teacher like my mom, who has devoted her entire life to college teaching. This family legacy encourages me to explore different possibilities in the field of education. I was attracted to the Education Studies program by its diverse curriculum options that cover a wide range of topics, including education policy, education history, education psychology, and curriculum and instruction. I believe that only learning about the practical knowledge of teaching won’t be sufficient for me to have a thriving teaching career. I should also be familiar with other areas of education and, especially, be aware of the educational issues we strive to address today. Therefore, Education Studies is a perfect match for me.

What was your most meaningful experience at UW–Madison?

The most meaningful lesson I learned at UW–Madison is the value of multiculturalism. Growing up in a homogenous society, I have long ignored the role of culture and identity in my daily life, but my experience at UW–Madison presented me with another possibility. In a multicultural environment, my culture suddenly becomes the “stamp” of who I am. The situation provides me with a precious opportunity to reconsider the value and meaning of culture to me. By interacting with students of different cultural backgrounds, I have gradually discovered the uniqueness and value of myself and my culture. All elements of my environment while growing up are an integral part of my cultural identity. My culture enables me to be the “special” one in the crowds and share my unique stories. My culture is also the shelter where I can seek support and recognition when lost in the swirl of an identity crisis. This experience leads me to be more tolerant and respectful, because I know others love their cultures the same as I do with my culture. The value of studying in a multicultural campus like UW–Madison is best manifested here. The harmonious co-existence of different cultures teaches me to value both myself and others.

"By interacting with students of different cultural backgrounds, I have gradually discovered the uniqueness and value of myself and my culture. All elements of my environment while growing up, are an integral part of my cultural identity. My culture enables me to be the 'special' one in the crowds and share my unique stories. My culture is also the shelter where I can seek support and recognition when lost in the swirl of an identity crisis. This experience leads me to be more tolerant and respectful, because I know others love their cultures the same as I do with my culture."

Tiger Wang

What class or professor had the greatest impact on you, and why?

History/ED POL 412: The History of American Education is the greatest course I have ever taken in my college life. The course required me to finish a final project on the history of American education. I chose to research the long engagement between UW–Madison and China. Doing the research was an exhausting yet rewarding process. I had to go to the UW Archives every week to immerse myself in primary sources and put pieces of the history together. I successfully completed the project with a 19-page paper on the establishment of the exchange program between UW–Madison and Chinese academic institutions in 1979. This paper later won the award of the Outstanding Education Studies Undergraduate Research Paper. This project gave me hands-on experience doing historical research, led me to discover my passion for education history, and encouraged me to be part of transnational academic and cultural exchanges.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

1. Do not limit yourself to one area or one subject; you never know what you will eventually do, so keep your options open. 2. Be active; there are tons of resources on campus waiting for you to explore and utilize — don’t waste them. 3. Be brave to jump out of your comfort zone since that is the critical step to grow. 4. Never be afraid of challenging yourself; only by doing so will you know how capable you are.

How will you celebrate your graduation?

I will take pictures of different landmark buildings on campus, have dinner with my friends at Memorial Union Terrace, and travel. Most importantly, I will share the great news with my parents. I am sure they will be so happy and proud.

What are your plans for the future?

I will join the University of Pennsylvania this fall for a two-year master’s program in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). After I finish my master’s program, I plan to be an English teacher in China and help more Chinese students to overcome the language barrier and to connect with the broader world.

You’re a UW–Madison expert now, so we must ask: Where’s the best place to eat on campus?

I will recommend the food trucks on Library Mall. They have a variety of great food for you to choose from!

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