Khyle Capulong expresses his experience as an international student from the Philippines during AAPI History Month

Jocelynn Landon, Photo and Art Director

From cultural shock in America to fake diversity on campus, Khyle Capulong explains his experience and joys of being an international student from the Philippines.  

“It was really like restricted in [the Philippines] because there isn’t a lot of diversity… I wanted to venture out and explore what the rest of the world had to offer.” Said Capulong an international student from the Philippines. 

Capulong is going into his junior year in Fall 2023 and has an opportunity, with his student visa, to study at California State University, Bakersfield to pursue a degree in marketing.  

“There’s like a lot of stuff that I’m passionate about. I feel like all these things come together with marketing,” Said Capulong. 

Although Capulong came to CSUB with an image that it would have a sense of diversity, he soon realized that CSUB has work to do when it comes to the Asian America Pacific Islander community. 

“Truthfully, I feel like there is a lot of underrepresentation when it comes to Asians in general… it’s not given as much importance,” Said Capulong. 

Capulong goes on to say that college is a great time to get exposed to different cultures. Bakersfield has a pretty big population of Filipinos yet their community lacks representation. 

Capulong isn’t as immersed in the community as he would like to be. CSUB used to have a Filipino club, yet it died down during covid. A way that CSUB can bring more recognition to the community is starting the club back up and having events that bring awareness to the Asian community. 

“I don’t think it’s just about Filipinos… a lot of the diversity that CSUB tries to show its students, its faculty, and everyone I feel like most of the time it’s just a facade… it’s not truly helping the cause,” Expressed Capulong. 

Photo provided by Khyle Capulong.

CSUB students are not that knowledgeable with Filipino culture. Because of the privilege of living in a first world country, Capulong goes on to explain how Americans are given a ton of information about different countries and what’s going on within them. Americans don’t ever experience or understand the issues that are happening up close. 

“The country itself doesn’t experience as harsh of the problems that other countries face… Americans never truly like experience it or have seen it firsthand,” Explained Capulong 

In conversations with other locals, it was easy for Capulong to realize that issues in America at the beginning have a heavy importance, yet after a while, there isn’t a big focus on the communities and we become desensitized to the ongoing issues. 

Different places can bring up a bit of shock; Capulong experienced firsthand the discrimination that his cultural faces in America. 

“Back in the Philippines… we don’t really call each other with any slurs… but when I came here, I was surprised to find out that there was slur for Filipino’s.” Stated Capulong. 

During Covid 19 pandemic, when a lot of the Asian hate started to surface for the first time, Capulong was, thankfully, back in the Philippines. Capulong didn’t really face the hate head on, like some of his international friends who stayed. 

Most issues in the Asian community are waved over and not seen as important. The conversations regarding hate, discrimination and even the culture doesn’t seem to stick. 

“I don’t think it’s important to know the full extent of everybody’s culture… what I think is more important though is just being open and learning to destigmatize all of the… stereotypes that we have been taught growing up… and the basic things [slurs] know where they came from.” Stated Capulong. 

While it’s easy to focus on the bad within the Filipino community, they adjust when they need to.  

Capulong’s favorite thing about his community is the positivity and light felt conversations. A popular saying in his culture is, “When the going gets tough you learn how to adjust.” Said Capulong. 

Capulong has created his own community at CSUB and the outside areas of Bakersfield. He has made a few friends. Capulong has been able to celebrate his culture here in Bakersfield by attending events and eating traditional food’s that his friends and family has made.