Alumni Yvonne Fan | Always Searching for a Better Self

16 Aug 2021
by Yuxin Shen

Yiting (Yvonne) Fan, is one of our new Demola China interns. She is a Demola alumna, having finished a One for Humanity project called De-urbanisation earlier this month. She is about to start her studies in London School of Economics (LSE) as a Finance student.

Before this interview, Yvonne has just finished a hectic day. She is currently taking part in two internship programs - one in Demola, the other in Development Society at London School of Economics. Although she just graduated from high school last year, she had already been feeling anxious about the lack of internships because of the fierce competition at her future university, LSE.

Yvonne lived in Guangzhou, China until the age of 12, and then moved to Singapore with her family. Immersion in diverse cultures has made her fluent in Chinese, English and Cantonese. After attending secondary school in Singapore, she learned Japanese and Korean by herself. Originally, she studies elementary Japanese for a trip to Japan, but after the trip, she was so fascinated by the culture, food and scenery, that se decided to study Japanese systematically. 



In her daily life, Yvonne likes dubbing of movies and dramas; not only for pretending to be the characters, but also to practice spoken Japanese and Korean. In one of their demo tasks for their De-urbanisation project, Yvonne's team used dubbing and animation to envision the future rural community. As a "project team leader", Yvonne's international background in different countries and confident personality made her stand out.

Yvonne's Demola team consisted of five members - Yvonne, two Chinese, a Finn and one Turkish. Yvonne found it absolutely exciting to team up with students from diverse cultural backgrounds, especially in brainstorming. Yvonne, who received a Western-style education in Singapore, had a chance to experience the art of being direct in Western cultures when she was with her teammates. She used to worry that she might be too straight-forward and blunt, but it turned out that westerns are more of that. 

For example, one team member sometimes said they couldn't attend a meeting, right before it started. Being Asian, Yvonne took a more euphemistic and indirect approach. But the Finnish team member would directly express their dissatisfaction with such absences, stressing the importance of teamwork. As a result, the meeting was not adversely affected, and the team contunued to collaborate in harmony. Yvonne thinks she still needs to learn more about this tactful approach. 

Be a qualified leader

When it comes to the differences of educational systems between Singapore and China, Yvonne feels what made her experiences unique were the enriching extra-curricular activities in Singapore. She participated in a plethora of project work with her classmates and served as the president of the dance team in secondary school. In most projects, Yvonne took the role of a leader voluntarily. 

In all of these experiences, Yvonne' greatest lesson was to choose the right way to communicate. She confessed that she is a straightforward person who is accustomed to speaking frankly, and sometimes she uses funny memes to lighten the atmosphere in her group. In the regular weekly meeting of Demola project, she summarized her weekly progress and asked each team member to share any constructive feedback. Moreover, she made sure that everyone tries their best to speak with the camera and the mic on. 

In addition to organizing the meeting, Yvonne wrote feedback to each team member's work in Miro. "If someone's ideas strike a chord with me, I will have endless things to discuss and must write them  down to maintain effective communication", she comments. 

When asked what the most important qualities of a leader are, Yvonne ponders for a long time and says: "The most important thing is character. A leader should be able to break the awkward silence by making light-hearted coffee-talk and be responsible at critical moments."

Strive to be better than ourselves, not others

"I grew up in a loving household and attended an excellent high school where I was surrounded by outstanding peers, so I have always tried to improve myself", states Yvonne. This September, Yvonne is going to study Finance at LSE. During the summer vacation, she has firmly decided to enter the financial industry. 

"I'm not always this energetic, but I can recover after a good cry and let all the sorrow, desperation and frustration out", Yvonne smiles. "Don't keep the negativity around you for too long, or else we'll be easily trapped in a vicious cycle that makes us more helpless than before."

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