Rocio Yao

Rocio Yao ’24

Paperwork can get interesting sometimes, as checkboxes cannot usually express all the places that have shaped me. However, not fitting inside a box is the definition of being a TCK.

I was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina and I am a porteña at heart. I like my mate with honey, I complain about Argentinean politics daily, and my Castellano accent always gives away my hometown among other Spanish speakers. However, many won’t be able to see that side of me at first glance. My parents are from Southern China and we speak Cantonese at home, so I am Latina with Chinese heritage. My parents were persistent in passing down our language and culture, which was hard to proudly embrace due to the racism I faced being the only Asian kid anywhere I went. Regardless, I loved our weekends spent wrapping dumplings and learning Mandarin through the kids’ books my dad would bring back from Guangzhou. My parents moved to Latin America in search of better economic opportunities, but despite being grateful for the little lavanderia we had, the economy kept getting worse over the years. At age 13, my family and I left everything behind to immigrate, again, to the United States for better opportunities. A few years later, seeking more international experiences, I found a scholarship to study abroad in Toulouse, France over the summer through CIEE and continue my French studies which I began in elementary school, attending one of the only public elementary schools in Buenos Aires to teach French since first grade. Right before COVID-19 hit, I was on a gap year in Thiès, Senegal living with a host family, attending Wolof classes, and participating in two apprenticeships with a scholarship through Global Citizen Year. Eventually, I made it to Portland, Oregon for my undergrad studies where I learned to call my new home. I chose to attend this school because of various reasons, but most notably the interpersonal atmosphere, a perk of a small liberal arts college. I remember during my visit to campus through the Compass Scholar program several staff members I met already knew my name from my application, standing out from the other schools I’ve visited where I mostly felt like another statistic. Being my second year, I can see interpersonal relationships playing a huge role in my academics with my close relationships with professors and classmates. Hopefully (if COVID allows it), I will be studying abroad both in Taiwan and Ecuador, and I’m excited about the new life experiences and connections I will build then.


Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina


Double in International Affairs and Sociology & Anthropology

Has Lived In:

Buenos Aires, Argentina; Guangzhou, China; Northglenn, CO, USA; Toulouse, France; Thiès, Senegal; Portland, OR, USA

High School:

Northglenn High School, CO