Participant Name: Akif Khan 

Major: Comparative Literature and Cognitive Sciences

Year: Third year

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Hello! My name is Akif Khan, I am a third-year Comparative Literature and Cognitive Sciences double major, and I am very excited to be a participant of this year’s Costa Rica Program. Describing myself is always a struggle for me because I, like most, am always changing and I can’t say I know every change that goes through until sometimes months later when I notice how differently I’ve been thinking and acting.

Now that I’ve mentioned my difficulty describing myself, I’m going to try and describe myself. As I said, I look back on my life to notice my changes, which has become a very integral part of who I am. I am a strong past-learner, a quality that helps me constantly figure out ways to improve myself because I have 20 years of experiences to learn from.

On campus, I have been involved in the Ant Leader Mentorship Program, Campus Representatives, and Orientation, which have all given me opportunities to learn what it means to communicate effectively and empathetically. All three organizations are also very focused on students who aren’t too familiar with UCI—whether they’re prospective students on campus tours, freshmen and transfer students during SPOPs, or first year, first-gen students as mentees in AMP. I have the unique opportunity to share my UCI experiences with new students to our campus, and through them, I find reminders why I want to keep reaching for the opportunities I’m given.

I am also a part of the Campuswide Honors Program at UCI, which has allowed me to take a series of classes called Sustainable Societies with a cohort of students. These classes allow us to view sustainability and resilience as both social science and science topics, covering ideas about food and water efficiency, carbon neutrality, social sustainability and more.

Ultimately, though these experiences have led me to care deeply sustainability. I want to learn how cultures of sustainable living are formed in communities. I want to understand how to create a shift in our society’s view of sustainability as a job to more of a way of life. The Costa Rica Program is a huge step for me in starting to learn how to actually make a change.