Heels in Asia Celebrating 10 years of the Phillips Ambassadors Program

Angkor Wat temple complex in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Photo by Lacy Rardin.

"The biggest thing I learned in Korea was how to see the world from someone else's point of view. People who had a different upbringing from me taught me the most about life... that there is no correct way to live it."

-- Ntiense Inyang '16

Ntiense (left) studied in Korea in fall 2015. Her research focused on the generational social shifts in population from Korea's rapid urbanization to the present.

The first group of Phillips Ambassadors studied abroad in Asia in the summer of 2007.

Since then, 270 students have benefited from this program.

Gabrielle Beaudry '18 studied in Thailand at the UNC Institute for the Environment Field Site in Bangkok. She particularly enjoyed learning about city planning and urban environmental policy.
"Most important to me during my time abroad were the learning opportunities that happen outside of a classroom and away from PowerPoints. Getting to learn through experiences and discussion encouraged me to stay curious and ask lots of questions." -- Gabrielle Beaudry

"The key takeaway from my summer abroad was the importance of flexibility. While working and studying in Singapore and Hong Kong, I had to adapt to living in new places with new foods, climates, and people."

-- Sam Miner '18

Financial District in central Singapore. Photo by Zoe Fisher.

Callie Brauel '09 was part of the first Phillips Ambassadors class. For her, studying in Hong Kong opened her eyes and heart to the world at large. The following year she launched a nonprofit vocational school for young women in Ghana.

Ezra Baeli-Wang '17 at Yellow Mountain in eastern China.

Ezra studied in Shanghai at Donghua University and is now looking into careers relating to national and international security and defense.

"The opportunity to study in China as a Phillips Ambassador not only ignited in me a passion for Chinese language and culture, but changed my life's trajectory." -- Wyatt Bruton '09

A biology and Asian studies double major, Rika Ri '15 studied in Beijing in spring 2014.

Rika is now working in Tokyo as a business strategist.

Photo by Andrea Sorce.

In Singapore, Cameron Gilchrist '18 worked at Dezan Shira & Associates, an international corporate investment firm.

"Every day I get to work with people who come from Singapore, Vietnam, Canada, India, England, Malaysia and the US. Working and living in Singapore is truly an amazing opportunity to develop my cultural awareness, global perspective and business skills, and I am thankful for the chance to be where I am."

-- Cameron Gilchrist

"My brief excursions to Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam taught me that the culturally diverse region I found myself in needs to be appreciated as a medley of unique traditions, lifestyles, governments, economies and perspectives."

-- Cyrous Bortey

A study abroad experience in Asia enriches all participants, regardless of major, academic focus or future career goals.

"It changed my life."

Tina Haver Currin '10 went to Singapore and Indonesia in 2009 to study the spread and influence of the English language in those countries.

"The biggest change that took place through living abroad was a newfound appreciation for diverse cultures and the unique perspectives they hold."

-- August Armbrister

“I am interning with China Minsheng Investment Group… and learning a great deal about business in China.”

-- Austin Story ’18

Madeleine Kainz '14 at the Forbidden City in summer 2013. She studied at Peking University in Beijing, and now works in Washington, D.C., at an international media intelligence company.

"Getting to spend time in Asia pushed me out of my comfort zone in the best way possible. I ate foods I couldn't pronounce the name of, got lost on public transportation in a country where I didn't know the language, and made friends with some of the most interesting and wonderful people I have ever met."

-- Madeleine Kainz

Kevin Parham '18 at Jama Masjid in New Delhi during his summer in India. "As I move forward in life, I will never forget the kindhearted people I met... and the adventures that I had. I can’t wait to return!"
Oscar Menzer '17 in northern Thailand. "My time in Bangkok was the highlight of my undergraduate career at UNC, and wouldn't have been possible without support from the Phillips program."

Dolly Estevez '17, a biology and global studies double major with a Chinese minor, studied in Seoul, South Korea.

Photo by Rika Ri.


Photos contributed by Ezra Baeli-Wang, Gabrielle Beaudry, Cyrous Bortey, Callie Brauel, Wyatt Bruton, Wilton Burns, Patrick Dowd, Dolly Estevez, Zoe Fisher, Cameron Gilchrist, Tina Haver Currin, Madeleine Kainz, Oscar Menzer, Sam Miner, Kevin Parham, Lacy Rardin, Rika Ri, Andrea Sorce

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