As many of you know, I have the incredible opportunity to travel to 9 countries in Asia for 9 months this coming year through the Pacific Rim Program. I originally believed that the travel expenses for my travel abroad program would be added onto my tuition costs in the fall and therefore planned to use the stipend money I will receive from my research this summer to pay for it. Unfortunately, this is not the case and I must come up with $5,300 by June 9. I have tried multiple avenues to get the funding together. I met with my university’s financial aid office to see if there was any way to use funds from scholarships I have received, or if there were any institutional resources available to me. I have gone through the process of applying for loans (with and without a cosigner) and ran into many complications with the banking process. None of these options have worked for me and I am running out of time, so I have created this gofundme as a last effort to raise the money.
I had many initial hesitations about creating a fundraising profile. I understand the inherent privilege in having the opportunity to travel abroad and that the purpose of this fund will be education and pleasure, rather than medical related. Through many conversations with friends and family I have realized that there are many people who wish to help support my educational goals and experiences and this profile is an avenue for them to do so. It has not been an easy feat to attend and pay for college, I am forever grateful to all of the people that have made my opportunities possible and the constant words of encouragement and love at the times that I began to doubt my own capabilities. My biggest goal in life has been to gain as much experience as I can so I may one day return home to Hawai’i to share my narrative, passion, and knowledge with future generations of students. I wish to be a source of knowledge and encouragement for those that wish to empower themselves, just as many of you have supported me. I thank you for your continued love and encouragement. I would not be the person I am today without the community that has raised and supported me throughout the years.
I have included more information on what PacRim is and how it connects to my personal and educational goals below.
What is PacRim?
PacRim is a travel abroad program started at the University of Puget Sound in the 1970s. It entails a yearlong experiential education program, travelling around Asia visiting over 9 different countries. But it is much more than a travel abroad program; it is an opportunity to learn from my surrounding environments and a time to reflect on my positionality in a complex and changing world. I was drawn to the PacRim program because of the opportunity to experience an extended travel abroad program that focused on a type of learning that would push me to step out of my boundaries.For more on the PacRim Program visit: (https://www.pugetsound.edu/academics/departments-and-programs/undergraduate/asian-studies/pac-rim/)
I have been preparing for this program for the last 2 years; from the application process to taking prerequisite courses, coordinating the completion of my major around the timeline and courses, taking my senior seminar to start my thesis as a junior, and attending bi-monthly orientation meetings with my cohort. I will also be taking my thesis with me on the program, allowing me the opportunity to make connections between scholarship I read and observations I make about my environment. Adding on to my past research, I will be focusing on the connections between colonialism, perception of the environment, and ecotourism.
Impact on Education and Career goals:
On campus I balance my time between many different parts of college life. Through work study I have worked in my University’s sustainability program for the last three years. I am involved with multiple clubs on campus. I became a Resident Assistant this past year to gain leadership experience that also financially allowed me to continue attending school. Over the summers, I have participated in conservation programs, conducting research and networking with career professionals. This summer I got accepted into an Ecology REU program and will be studying bats.
PacRim will set me up for many more opportunities in the future. After I finish PacRim, I will graduate and I have already started applying for fellowships like the Watson and other career opportunities to further my education. PacRim gives me a unique experience that I will be able to share with people for the rest of my life. My biggest goal in life has been to gain as much experience as I can so that I may return home to Hawai’I to share it with the future generations of students, so I may support them just like I have been supported throughout my life.