She knew Sweden as “one of the happiest countries in the world.” The big lure to Sweden, though, wasn’t just the promise of opportunities and an education. She was trying to find a way out of China.
Xueying or Sherry, as she prefers to be called here, spent a few months with us at Impact Hub Stockholm as an intern earlier in the year. She studied English translation and literature at Wuhan Textile University in China before making the move to Stockholm to complete a Master’s in Marketing at Stockholm University.
Many daughters have experienced growing up in the hands of a Chinese tiger mother. Sherry’s life was already planned out for her. She would live in her hometown and do the work that her mother thought was best — as a teacher, in banking, or working for the government. Anything else would be shameful for the family and cause them to lose face in the community.
“In her [my mother’s] perspective, I am quite abnormal because I am not the same as her friend’s kids, because what I am chasing and what I want to do makes no sense to her.”
Sherry’s is not an uncommon story. “Some of my relatives would come to me and told me how bad I was because what I do in Chinese is called 不孝. It means you don’t treat your parents well. Simply because I want to do what I want?”
She moved to another city to finish her education and eventually ended up in Sweden, but throughout it all, she continued to be plagued by the difficulties of familial relationships back home.
“We [my mother and I] haven’t talked for several months, but actually sometimes I feel glad because now I could be myself and do things I want to do.”
Her greatest fear was that she would become she would become another Swedish statistic, unable to find a job in her field, and left no choice but to return to China and to her mother.
Here at the Hub, Sherry prided herself on having had the opportunity to gain real hands-on experience in her degree field and, most importantly, rebuilding the confidence that was chipped away by years of domineering cultural conditioning.
As a marketing intern, her work focused on social media, marketing and event coordination. Through our network and events, she connected with startups and hard-working people. Her experience at Impact Hub Stockholmled to her current position as Assistant Marketing Manager at Gastronaut — a startup that aims to improve opportunities for cultural integration through food. Her own focus lies in social media and data analysis.
“I really learned something and had a great time with amazing people. It’s good for me to know this way to work.” Touching on the subject of dreams, she is confident: “I don’t want to confine myself. I’m still young and have a lot of opportunities. I don’t know where I will be in three years, but I really look forward to go into an ad agency to do some amazing campaigns.”
When asked for advice for future interns, Sherry says, “People need to try to learn everything they can. Learn by themselves.” We couldn’t agree more. Take every opportunity you’re given with both hands, and learn as much as you can.