Headshot of Marian Mendoza

Marian Mendoza

What are your academic or professional interests in relation to the Asia Pacific region?

I have been involved in a few research projects with a focus on Asia. One project studied Asian cultural festivals in the Toronto area and the impact of Asian heritage and Canadian social environment on identity. Recently, I am interested in how various Asian cities are responding to new mobility modes and changing transportation demands.

Is there a special place in Asia that you feel most connected to (whether through travels, family, or another experience)?

I spent four memorable months studying at the National University of Singapore. I loved the tree-lined streets, reliable transit, and the abundance of half-indoor, half-outdoor spaces to sit and drink bubble tea with friends.

Why do you believe Canadian students and young professionals should take an interest in Asia?

During my trips to Asia, I was inspired by the landscapes, transit infrastructure, and history of numerous cities. I was moved by the stories of people I met. By learning about Asia, I grew an appreciation for cross-cultural exchange and how we can apply lessons from other cultural backgrounds in various parts of our lives. I invite anyone to try a unique learning experience in Asia, whether it is a semester exchange, teaching abroad, or simply an Asian studies course.

What do you hope to accomplish this year as part of the Toronto Asia Pacific Youth Council?

Through using new technology and media, I hope we can involve the youth in discussions that are relevant, accessible, and engaging.

What is one interesting/fun experience you had while travelling through Asia?

I was waiting at a bus stop in Beijing and met three other women who were also going to visit the Great Wall. We spoke different languages and used translating apps to communicate between English, Japanese, and Mandarin. I was very grateful for the technology that allowed me to befriend people I could never have spoken with otherwise.

Where would you go next in Asia and why?

I would like to visit Vietnam and see the beautiful islands and rainforests. I also love a steaming bowl of pho!

What is your favourite Asian snack?

Anything matcha, but especially in langue-de-chat or ice cream!