Our Story at Emory, brought to you by Dr. Hong Li and Dr. Christine Ristaino, is a monthly podcast through the Emory College Language Center (ECLC).

Emory is a welcoming, diverse, and inclusive campus. Our students come from over 100 countries. Our alumni live in more than 160 countries. Our faculty and staff are also from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Because of the nature of our work, we, as both native an nonnative language teachers, felt the need to create a platform that highlights diversity and inclusion within the Emory community. We decided the only way we could do this and affect positive change was to share with the world the stories of our students, faculty, and staff who are in the United States but away from home, so the world could learn more about who they are and why they make our country better and stronger.

We want to know everything about the people we interview: Why do they come here? What do they bring in their suitcases? What can we learn from them? Why do they not only enrich our lives, but continue to be a vital part of our societal framework, a critical part of what makes Emory and this country unique, what makes us who we are, and what makes us whole. Through the power of storytelling, we hope to enhance our understanding of diverse cultures and of a myriad of experiences, so the cultures we come from, the cultures and languages we study, teach, and celebrate, are not relegated to the category of “other,” but viewed as a vibrant and essential fabric woven in to the lives of the Emory community.

The “Our Story at Emory” stories are familiar to all of us because, ultimately, they are all of our stories. They are funny, beautiful, tragic, painful, and rich with the details of life. So sit back. It’s time for us to listen to the stories of what it means to be alive, what it means to be human, stories told by those who are here in the United States, intrinsically part of our lives, and also, at Emory, away from home.