Lydia Talen is a transfer student from Minneapolis, MN. After her first year in college she took a year off from school and traveled in Southeast Asia for three months where she lived with local families and volunteered at schools. Since transferring to UNC, Lydia has been involved in Tau Sigma, the UNC Symphony, and APPLES Service Learning. Lydia is passionate about traveling, community service, education, and multicultural awareness.
“I am very fortunate to have grown up in a diverse family and community. My family structure is a bit unusual with two lesbian mothers and three adopted daughters of different ethnicities. My younger sister and I were both adopted from China when we were infants and my older sister was adopted from St. Paul, MN. My family and I have always been politically active and involved in organizing lesbian and gay families in the state. I have always valued education, giving back to the community and promoting multicultural awareness. I live these values through volunteer and intern positions. This past summer I interned at a non-profit organization in Minneapolis, MN called YouthCARE. YouthCARE is a multicultural organization that helps low-income youth develop life skills that are needed to make a successful transition from adolescence to adulthood. At my previous school, Macalester College, I was a member of the Bonner Community Scholars. Bonner Scholars are a group of diverse students who are passionate and committed to service, equal rights and civic engagement. Between transferring from Macalester College to UNC Chapel Hill, I took a year off from school and traveled around Southeast Asia for three months. I went to Thailand, Vietnam and India with a group of twelve other students. We stayed in hostels, slept on trains, and in each country I was fortunate enough to live with local families. I loved this trip for many reasons, but one of the best parts of the trip was being able to learn first hand about different cultures. It made me aware of the amazing diverse cultures around the world and the importance of understanding other cultures. I would truly enjoy and appreciate being involved in the Cultural Competence Leadership Institute to help develop my leadership and professionalism skills as well as further my interests in multicultural awareness and inclusion.”