Dear Future ETHN 120D Students,

Welcome! Nice to virtually meet you. My name is Kimberly (Kim) Merene. I am currently a senior/4th year student majoring in Human Biology with an Ethnic Studies minor. I might be a super senior/5th year or an alumna by the time you read this.

I took ETHN 120D just a few months after the sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although I had anticipated to take this course in-person, I still thought ETHN 120D was a memorable opportunity unlike any other course I have taken at UC San Diego. As an LA native having lived in La Jolla for nearly 5 years, I was astounded to hear about various cultural communities of San Diego. I virtually interned with the Refugee Health Unit in spring 2020. Before I took this course, I recently learned about how San Diego has the biggest refugee population in all of California. I wanted to learn about the healthcare barriers that refugees faced, especially during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In order to gain the most out of your experiences, whether you take the course in-person or virtually, be present in class at all times and keep an open-mind throughout the course as you learn about different organizations and meet new community leaders. Be punctual and attentive to what your professor and your internship supervisors expect from you. Take initiative and ensure that you are up-to-date with your weekly assignments and devote time to your final group project. When working on your final group project, make sure that everyone knows what they plan on presenting on. I suggest doing multiple practice runs to know if your presentation time is enough for each person in your group to convey the information they want. Another important thing to keep in mind is to schedule your oral history interview ahead of time. The earlier the date, the more time you’ll have to accurately transcribe the interview. From my experience, transcription of my oral history interview was one of the most enjoyable yet longest processes. You’ll catch many bizarre mistakes that were translated by audio that you didn’t think you mentioned, but alas it’s enjoyable since it’s one of the last assignments in the course. Lastly, don’t hesitate to reach out to your TA or your professor for support if you need it!

I hope you enjoy your time at ETHN 120D learning about San Diego’s precious history. Thank you for reading through my future letter.


Kim Merene
Spring Quarter 2020