Wilson Chang is a writer. He finds inspiration in the ingredients that create identity and culture for a community or a country. Wilson Chang also is afoodie.
"I am a complete foodie," Chang said. "And food is really an unofficial ambassador of a country and culture."
Chang, a graduate of the UH College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences where he received a bachelor's degree in English, has been selected for a prestigious Fulbright Fellowship. He'll spend a year teaching English in Macau. He'll also research and interview local food growers, bakers and food vendors as he creates a narrative of Chinese culture through food.
"People can live their lives eating certain foods, but it means more than just food," he said. "It's about tradition, like the giving of wife cakes or the century-old use of wooden molds by some bakeries or the noodle food cart that always has a long line."
Chang will chronicle his experiences and research in a year-long series of food blogs and videos, presented in both English and Chinese. While the audience for his research is American, he hopes to use the bilingual productions as a tool to help his students learn English.
"I hope to be a teacher one day," he said. "I'm hoping that hearing the English and Chinese versions of the videos will assist them as they are learning a new language."
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards scholarships to U.S. graduating seniors, graduate students, young professionals, scientists and artists selected through a national, merit-based competition for study and research abroad. Academic fields include the social sciences, humanities and the sciences. Since 1995,there have been 15 UH students awarded with Fulbright scholarships.
"Food is food. You eat it to survive. You eat it to be happy, but there are deeper meanings to some of the things we eat," he said.
Fulbright Fellows are part of what's happening at the University of Houston.