Hi! My name is Katie Silverstein and I am currently a junior at High Tech High. I am an adoptee from Suzhou, China and a member with Families with Children from China (FCC). All throughout elementary, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to enroll in a spanish immersion education and as a result, I am fluent in Spanish. I love being able to implement in whenever I go on trips, or ever need to use it here in San Diego. For middle school, I was accepted into the High Tech system and had to overcome the challenge of transitioning into a completely new environment. Despite how difficult it was switching and meeting new friends, I have been so grateful to have experienced that process at an early age because I am able to apply those skills everyday when given a new challenge.
Apart from being a busy, active, teenager, I absolutely love traveling and immersing myself in new cultures. Growing up, I was always encouraged to try new things, whether that be the simplicity of cuisine or learning about a new culture. I attended Chinese school for eight years when I finally decided that I could not fully learn the language and the culture just by being exposed to it for one day, every week, for six hours. When I was eleven, my mom, aunt, and I decided to travel to China to sight see and to revisit my hometown. We started our trip in Beijing and slowly made our way through Xi’an, Chengdu, and then finally, Suzhou. Although I was only in the fifth grade, I wasn’t young enough to realize the magnitude of me being in my hometown since I had been adopted. Being able to finally meet my caregivers from my orphanage was a very special moment for both them and me. I know that it brought a lot of good memories back for my mom.
Having to grow up as an Asian American adoptee, I’ve had to soul search for my identity and what role I play in society. I have always found films about adoption and the social media, and its effect on Asian Americans, very inspiring. For me, its very meaningful to have a sense of self, and I am very happy that I have been given the opportunity to work for the San Diego Asian Film Foundation.
The San Diego Asian Film Foundation caught my attention because as I have attended previous annual Asian Film Festivals hosted by SDAFF, I was interested in learning more about their mission and how they use the influence of film to add to the Asian American social movement. As I arrived for my first day of interning, I noticed that everyone was like a family. The way they interacted with each other was very relaxed and casual. However, everyone at SDAFF takes the purpose and mission of the foundation very seriously. Everyone here is very up to date with current social movements, specifically the Asian American movement, and how media influences, like YouTube, effects it. It’s really inspiring to be working around a group of people that have such high expectations of, not just me as their intern, but for their ultimate vision of the world. I am very honored to have been selected to represent SDAFF however, I know that I am definitely going to have to step up to the challenge and help come up with new innovative ideas to continue the movement for their vision.