Haila Amin, 20
Masters in Economics and Philosophy
Columbia University & Sciences Po
I am ethnic Mongolian, but I am Chinese. I have been living in France, the US and China for most of my life. I have a dual degree between Columbia and Sciences Po in Paris. I just started my Columbia journey, where I am studying economics and philosophy and am planning to graduate with my bachelor’s degree in one year. I realized there is a very different dynamic at I-House because people are more open and happy to embrace different culture; all the residents here love to engage in different activities and engage in different activities outside of campus. It is a really good opportunity to start my chapter at Columbia and my life in New York.
My interests are very nerdy. I spend a lot of time preparing and going to UN conferences. This February, I went to the UN Environmental Assembly, in March I went to the negotiation for biological diversity convention, next week I am going to Sweden for the Stockholm 50, an climate change conference as well, and in July there is a high-level political forum for human dignity. At the Stockholm 50, I will personally deliver an oral statement on behalf of civil society at the UN, so, usually, I spend a lot of my free time working for NGOs and learning about different Human Rights philosophy, environmental conservation, and other political issues.
Speaking of non-academic activities, I thoroughly enjoy learning French. When I joined I-House, the shiniest factor about me was that I speak a little bit of French. When Europeans learned about this, they were very excited to speak French with me. I’ve realized that speaking French is important if you want to be an international diplomat. The language exchange is the I-House program that is very pleasing to me.
In my free time, I listen to a lot of Mongolian music. Because I am an ethnic minority, it is very hard for me to keep my heritage. When I was in France, I lived with a friend from Mongolia, and we spent a lot of time listening to traditional music and thinking about how our culture can contribute to modern society. Our culture is very nomadic, people think it is very old fashioned, but we find it very beautiful, we find a lot of inspirations that can be complimentary to modern society.
The purpose of study abroad is not to stick to your own room, it’s more about talking to each other, learning about each other and to be comfortable around people with different backgrounds. I really enjoy the Language Exchange, and IHouse in general, because it allows me just this.