Walking to another village to buy lettuce
  • Crystal C. Yan (严晨)

    Hi, I'm Crystal. I'm an analytical yet artistic economist/designer and speaker. I work in business development and marketing at the intersection of emerging markets, technology startups, and design.

    Previously, I worked at Innovation Works, Standard Chartered Bank, StackMob and Infosys Limited in Beijing, Shanghai, San Francisco and Bangalore. I am currently pursuing a BA in Economics at Amherst College.


Reconnecting and Recharging

It’s been so weird being back at Amherst for senior year, seeing some people for the first time after a year away. Still, it’s been great to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. LEARNING IN THE CLASSROOM: Microeconomics of Development: This course was a seminar of 10 students and I was always self-conscious … Continue reading

Urubamba Valley at 5am

A “Deeply Unsettling” Semester

The title of this post comes from a quote from one of our professors. We were sitting around on a ranch in the middle of nowhere in Argentina and discussing reverse culture shock, what it would be like to go back to the US and explain our time abroad to friends and family who would expect … Continue reading

View of the city, from the rooftop of Hotel Bauen

Buenos Aires: Community and Leisure in Porteno Life

When I first arrived in Buenos Aires, I was walking around downtown past shiny retail stores and crossing the street with crosswalks. It reminded me of Manhattan. I wondered, with all the familiarity of skyscraper-tall malls symbolizing a consumption culture and without the chaos of street markets and informal forms of transportation, would Argentina would … Continue reading


Da Kar Rapide: Informal Transport and “Being On Time”

The informality of the transportation systems in Dakar and Delhi are examples of the effect that informality and informal structures have on perceptions of societal norms. During a site visit to Patte d’Oie, a station for informal taxis in Dakar, we learned through interviews with the clandestine taxi drivers (with the help of a translator) … Continue reading

So many beaches in Dakar

Dakar and Keur Samba Kala: Privilege, Tourism, and Nok Bokk

The first thing I noticed about Dakar was the air. I could smell the sea in the air, and as cheesy as this may sound, it smelled like possibility. I moved into my homestay the second day in Senegal. My host mom is 60, and her surname is Kebe, so my Senegalese name is Mariame Kebe. … Continue reading

Art project at One Billion Rising protest in Delhi

Delhi and Ahmedabad: Displacement, Development, Social Silos, and Feminism

The city of Delhi is different for everyone, it all depends on how you view it and who you are. One night a classmate and I sat together, and talked about how we were worried we had blinded ourselves to structural inequity, extreme poverty, oppression of minorities, problems we knew existed but didn’t want to see. We worried … Continue reading


Beijing State of Mind

These past few months have gone by too quickly. I’ve had many humbling conversations that have challenged my beliefs, and many experiences that defied my expectations of myself. I love Beijing, and here are a few things I’ve learned this semester: 1. The funny thing about being in your 20s and in a big city is that the … Continue reading

Pudong skyline, view from the Bund

A Geek Among Banksters: My Month at Standard Chartered Bank Shanghai

This August, I interned with the Digital Ventures Group at Standard Chartered Bank China’s Shanghai office. My work included doing usability testing and user experience research for an iPad app, being a part of product development meetings, creating product demo content for the English version of the website, conducting research for location-based marketing for merchant … Continue reading


Food Trucks, Dog Tug-of-Wars, and Joining the Mob

This May and June, I interned with the business team at StackMob, a mobile development platform company in San Francisco. My work included conducting customer calls, writing case studies, writing blog posts, planning and helping with community events, and producing a recruiting video. I learned so much about customer engagement for technical products, product evangelism, … Continue reading


Eurotripping and Gyros

On this quintessential college backpacking through Europe adventure, I’ve met many milestones, including: Accidentally crashing a cocktail party at Somerset House in London Seeing the Queen as she was going into Windsor Castle Standing less than 0.5 km from Boy George Accidentally crashing a wedding in Paris Eating. A lot of eating. Chorizo sandwiches, kebab … Continue reading


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 34 other followers