To make self introductions a little more cohesive, we asked our travel fellows these four questions:
- Where do you call “home”?
- Tell us about question or a cause you really care about.
- What is a fear you have for your travel fellowship this summer?
- What is a hope you have for your travel fellowship this summer?
Click on the words “proposal“ or “blog posts“ in the mini descriptions to read travel fellows’ initital proposals and subsequent travel posts!
Anmei Zeng ‘2021
- For now, home is still a small suburb north of Dallas, Texas!
- An issue I care about is promoting unity, engagement, and respect for diversity in the context of combating racial discrimination. Growing up in a Chinese immigrant family in the States has opened my eyes to the ugliness of intolerance and the value of investigating the evolving landscape of race, ethnicity, and culture.
- I’m afraid that I won’t be able to fully understand anyone’s immigrant experience. Practically speaking, it takes time for people to open up about their stories and a lot of immersion to understand the histories of and dynamics between social groups in each city.
- I hope that I’ll grow to be more fearless by the end of the travel fellowship.
Anmei will be travelling to Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta and Manila on the Identities in Motion Travel Fellowship. Check out the project proposal, and read how it pans out in Anmei and Nicole’s blog posts.
Avery Simmons ‘2019
- I was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, in the United States.
- One question that interests me is: What do the fantasies and stories we write say about ourselves? I’m also interested in Christianity as a multicultural global movement and humanitarian/environmental supply chain management.
- I’m afraid that I won’t push myself to talk to new people, and that I’ll just slip into basic tourist mode.
- I hope to hear an interesting local story about one of the places I visit!
Avery will be travelling on the Trans-Siberian railroad to St. Petersburg, Moscow, Yekaterinburg, Krasnoyarsk, Ulan-Ude, Ulaanbaatar and Beijing, on the Place, Stories, and the Sublime Travel Fellowship. Check out the project proposal, and read how it pans out in Avery and Melody’s blog posts.
Boden Llewelyn Franklin ‘2021
- I transitioned from a child to a non-child in Taos, New Mexico, a small mountain town in the Southwest of the US. I will always associate the high-altitude dessert and offbeat culture of Taos with ‘home’. I haven’t been living there for the last three years, however, and the vast majority of my family has relocated elsewhere, a shift that has made me seriously rethink ‘home’.
This is a difficult question, and I am struggling with the challenge of expressing the complexity of my political and social outlook succinctly without simplifying to the point of being problematic.
Over the last few years I have had the privilege of being part of many diverse communities, each of which has facilitated my engagement with different social and political issues that have now become pillars of my political understanding of the world. While living in Bosnia and Herzegovina, refugee rights were at the forefront of my mind, and now that I am living in Southeast Asia I have been navigating how I can transfer knowledge from past experiences to regional issues, such as the Rohingya crisis. The fight for environmental justice has been a constant presence over the last few years, and increasingly I am exploring how to be a supportive and responsible queer ally.
With all these issues in mind, I have been thinking a lot about community building. How does one build and maintain a community of action, one that mobilizes people and embodies the change it is fighting for? How can we make subversive behavior sustainable and productive? How can we strike a balance between diversity and unifying values?
I find tourism to be a really difficult activity to navigate. How do I responsibly and respectfully interact with someone else’s home? How do I engage with communities and cultures in non-commodified ways? How can I contribute to a place beyond just spending money?
My fears for my travel fellowship mostly surround questions like these. I want to have a meaningful experience, one in which I create genuine friendships and come away with new insight and knowledge, but at the same time I want to ensure that my presence in these communities is not dominating. I guess I am afraid that through ignorance or lack of preparation I will be an irresponsible visitor.
- With any new experience I try not to have many expectations, so all of my hopes are quite general. I hope that I get a change to explore artistic mediums as forms of ethnographic documentation. I hope that I create connections with people, places, and communities that can serve as points of support, guidance, and solidarity in my future endeavors. I hope that the people I meet, and the communities I enter, bring me new energy to fight for positive change.
Boden will be travelling to Tokyo and the Konohana Ecovillage on the Living in Accordance with My Values: An Exploration of Japanese Intentional Communities Travel Fellowship. Check out the project proposal, and read how it pans out in Boden’s blog posts.
Cheong Zi Gi ‘2021
- I call Singapore my Home. That’s where my friends and family are and that is what makes home.
- Whether human will be able to go to mars in the future.
- I tend to get injured easily and we are climbing a few mountains so I hope my team mates keep me safe.
- That this will be a memory for me to cherish in years to come.
Zi Gi will be travelling to Chongqing, Xi’an, Qinghai, Tibet and Chengdu on the Lives Well Lived Travel Fellowship. Check out the project proposal, and read how it pans out in Zi Gi, Yi Ming, Rui Qi and Joseph’s blog posts.
Chu Jincong ‘2020
- Jincong grew up in China and Singapore. Being no stranger to house moving or new environment, he calls anywhere he is staying at the moment home.
- He is interested in seeing how new technology and new concepts of business and governance is shaping the future, and wish to contribute to sustainable and equitable prosperity in his society. Jincong also cares about democracy of information and empowerment of women.
- The trip to Estonia would be Jincong’s first visit to Europe. He is anxious about overcoming the language and cultural barrier, and to make interviews happen as planned.
- He hopes to understand the culture of Estonia and to be more informed about what ideas are shaping the future urban life.
Jincong will be travelling to Tallinn and Helsinki on the Urban Citizenship in a Digital Society Travel Fellowship. Check out the project proposal, and read how it pans out in Jincong and Sambhav’s blog posts.
Joseph Han ‘2021
- The quiet suburbs of New England.
- For me, philosophy ultimately revolves around the question of the good life. Should I lead a virtuous life dedicated to family and public service? Renounce worldly desires to seek enlightenment? Or strive to live in spontaneous harmony with nature? I think that philosophy is indispensible to the quest for fulfilled existence, and all the major ethical and spiritual traditions of the world have something unique to offer to the conversation.
- One fear I have is that we are looking in the wrong place for spirituality. I’ve been increasingly drawn to the idea that the ultimate meaning is to be found not in temples or the mountains of Tibet, but in the ordinary activities of everyday life. It’s just a nagging feeling that we are searchingfar away for an answer that is right in front of us.
- I hope to share meaningful experiences with my fellow travellers and also to make new friends along the way. What better opportunity than the shared adventures of a travel fellowship to forge these lasting connections?
Joseph will be travelling to Chongqing, Xi’an, Qinghai, Tibet and Chengdu on the Lives Well Lived Travel Fellowship. Check out the project proposal, and read how it pans out in Joseph, Zi Gi, Yi Ming, Rui Qi’s blog posts.
Melody Tay Xi Ching ‘2019
- I was born in Dallas, Texas to a Singaporean father and a Hong Kong mother, but grew up in Singapore. I have always held a sense of fluid nationalities and identities as a result. But right now, Singapore remains home—being in Australia for the last semester has really made me miss the friendships and family-ships back home. It is the closest to home-sickness I have ever been.
- Where do we go after death? What is the meaning behind all this?
I am also very big on environmentalism: how can we adapt to and mitigate climate change? How can we stop choking our fish, our birds, our ocean with plastic? How is effective change created?
Interestingly, environmental ethics is ultimately asking the question: what is the good life?
- A fear I have: Something will get stolen?
- A hope that I have: Avery and I will deepen our friendship! And that I will have a better idea of what it is to travel well—real connections, real learnings, real experiences. In so doing, also learning what it is to live well.
Melody will be travelling on the Trans-Siberian railroad to St. Petersburg, Moscow, Yekaterinburg, Krasnoyarsk, Ulan-Ude, Ulaanbaatar and Beijing, on the Place, Stories, and the Sublime Travel Fellowship. Check out the project proposal, and read how it pans out in Melody and Avery’s blog posts.
Ng Yi Ming ‘2021
- I call Yew Tee home, a town at the Northwestern point of the island. And now Yale-NUS too!
- I care for the cause of people no longer having to miss out on larger life due to necessity, inspired by my experience working on a Fordist-style production line of an air-con factory.
- A fear I have is falling ill! Always quite a hassle.
- I have the hope that we can ‘be in the moment’ for all 25 days, to fully immerse in, absorb, and engage with the sights and sounds that’ll be on show.
Yi Ming will be travelling to Chongqing, Xi’an, Qinghai, Tibet and Chengdu on the Lives Well Lived Travel Fellowship. Check out the project proposal, and read how it pans out in Yi Ming, Zi Gi, Rui Qi and Joseph’s blog posts.
Nicole (Eng Wei) Quah ‘2021
- This is (an awkward) question that people always ask me and I find myself struggling to answer this every time. The places I have lived in are all considered “home” (Xiamen, Beijing, Jakarta), despite not having returned to some of them for a long time. Singapore and Shanghai are also my homes because I go to Shanghai frequently, as my grandparents are from there, and the other half of my family (my father’s side) is from Singapore. Yale-NUS is also one of my homes now! I love having this familiarity and comfort in these many many places.
- I really care about the rights of women in the economically marginalized developing world, the power dynamics in a relationship between men and women, and socioeconomic policies such as the One/Two-Child Policy. I also really love playing volleyball!
- A fear or getting lost, injuring my ankle (again), communicating with interviewees who can only speak limited English, and communicating in Chinese with those who can only converse in Chinese
- I hope to discover what my Chinese identity means to me, how I relate to my Chinese heritage, and how moving 4 times across borders has added/changed my current identity (while I was growing up, I remembered always seeing residency visas stuck to my passport and feeling lost, by having to go to the immigration office once a year in order to continue living in my so-called “home”, and being confused by why I needed a permit to live in my own home).
Nicole will be travelling to Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta and Manila on the Identities in Motion Travel Fellowship. Check out the project proposal, and read how it pans out in Nicole and Anmei’s blog posts.
Sambhav Bhandari ‘2020
- India. A more specific answer to this question depends on where my family is living at the time.
- I really care about equality, of all kinds.
- My Travel Fellowship revolves around Urban Citizenship in a Digital Society. I fear that being physically present in the space I’m traveling to will not provide me with any additional learning over and above the digital space that I can already access from my laptop.
- My hope follows from my fear! I hope to be able to learn something new and contextualize information I receive in the digital space with that of the physical one.
Sambhav will be travelling to Tallinn and Helsinki on the Urban Citizenship in a Digital Society Travel Fellowship. Check out the project proposal, and read how it pans out in Sambhav and Jincong’s blog posts.
Yeo Rui Qi ‘2021
- The environment!
- Having to interview people, in Mandarin nonetheless, is going to be pretty daunting especially given my reserved nature.
- I hope to understand myself better and in doing so, learn to live well and live with intention.
Rui Qi will be travelling to Chongqing, Xi’an, Qinghai, Tibet and Chengdu on the Lives Well Lived Travel Fellowship. Check out the project proposal, and read how it pans out in Rui Qi, Zi Gi, Yi Ming, and Joseph’s blog posts.