"I wrote a travel diary in my hand writing, because I believe my thoughts become more organized as I write them with my pen. I pasted tickets, fliers, and photos in the diary and wrote about observations and thoughts based on my travel. I focused the project in Seoul. Seoul, has been the capital of South Korea for more than 600 years; it’s where my family is from. I visited Seoul not only to know the background and history of my family, but also to discover the 600 years' worth of history of Koreans that identify with. Also, Seoul has the combination of modernity and antiquity. By visiting national museums in central Seoul, I was able to compare the modern Korea to life during Joseon dynasty. This was a tangible approach to Korean culture because visiting museums and national monuments is a way to learn a spoken history and acknowledge the narratives of factual events."
"I believe I am the archetype of the multicultural identity that symbolizes for this modern and global world. I will publish my diary one day to help others understand more about multicultural society and how people can find their identities through travel."
“My funding went toward two visits to weekend workshops at the University of Iowa through the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. I felt incredibly blessed to visit the workshop. I attended a workshop on writing a successful genre novel, and another on editing and pitching a completed novel. These workshops helped me finish the novel I’ve been working on for over a year. I started this summer with a little over half of the novel written, and am almost finished with the last few chapters. I have written about 40,000 words this summer. The novel is historical fiction. It follows Che Guevara’s life through the eyes of a fictional woman, from medical school in Buenos Aires through to the end of the Cuban Revolution. It also follows her life as a surgeon in the 1950s, and the obstacles she encountered.”
“This experience has impacted me in many ways. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to finish the novel before being named an Appel Family Writing Scholar. I had writer’s block that undermined my faith in my ability to complete the work. Attending the event not only reignited my passion, but help me improve my writing. This summer has really helped me reconnect with my passion. I plan to write forever, and hopefully support myself through this passion.”
“The project I did in Cambodia included two volunteer programs, two retreat programs and a visit to the Angkor Wat. Volunteering in Phnom Penh as a technology supporter and English teacher gave me a new understanding about volunteerism and education. When volunteers from a well-developed country teach or survey education conditions in developing or underdeveloped countries, they often feel overwhelmed by the huge differences. We tend to compare the situations, and try to imbue the schools in underdeveloped countries with a “developed education spirit.” And when we fail to reach our goals, we feel desperate and don’t know how to help those students. However, there are things that we neglect when we try to help: Education situations are based on a country’s overall level of civilization, economic status and resources. If we understand that, we will understand why it can be hard, and often impossible, to raise their situations to our standards. For example, when we teach, we could imagine ourselves as a kid of a regular Cambodian family, where my father could be a tuktuk driver and my mother could own a local laundry. What do I want to learn from school? How important is school to me? I know I still have a desire to learn, and I appreciate any place that can give me this opportunity. During my time in Cambodia I tried to teach them all I know, and they received knowledge from my teaching. This is the foundation of education.”
“On school days I tutored local youth (ages 7-18) in an after-school program. I helped with the mall organization’s finances, website, and record-keeping. On weekends, I taught an English vocabulary-building class that was not through Cambio Creativo, but it involved the same youth. One of my biggest challenges was that the local school was frequently canceled for various reasons (teacher protests, the buildings were in poor condition, a one-week holiday, etc.). This meant students did not have homework, so on these days, nobody came to tutoring. After the first week, I could fairly easily talk with people who spoke clearly and slowly, but children almost never spoke slowly or clearly. This barrier made it harder to connect with the children, and harder to help with homework.”
“I came into the project unsure of what I would create. The plan was to complete a reading list and work on fiction for half of the summer and nonfiction for the other half. The plan was also to attend workshops. This summer I threw myself head-first into the project. My writing goal was 1,000 words a day. I didn’t hit the mark every day. Some days I didn’t write and some days I wrote more. The project ended up being about the period of life when kids become adults and those adults decide how they want to live their lives. I drove home to New Jersey from California, and the whole time, I was nervous to begin the project. I found that as a writer, I am never satisfied. I spent my summer days either dissatisfied because I hadn’t written enough or because I didn’t write anything I was proud of. Because of my immense dissatisfaction and dedication to the project, it became my only priority. It was like that for about two months, until I burned out around mid July. I followed through with workshops. I took one in Manhattan called Intro to Fiction and Creative Nonfiction hosted by Gotham Writers. This was a didactic workshop teaching character development, plot, structure, and dialogue. My second workshop was hosted by Sackett Street Writers. It was a seminar in which each student submitted a 20-page story that the group read and wrote critiques. I wasn’t happy with my project, but I did produce. I think I have about 200 pages of writing. And I have one big piece that needs a lot of revision but I sent it to five friends for feedback. I’m waiting for winter break to transform it from a short memoir into a novella.”
“Over the summer, I wrote 67 articles and edited more than 100 pieces for Morocco World News. My favorite articles I wrote include ones about bias in American political reporting, one about Morocco’s entrance to the African Union, and a summary of an interview I conducted with Morocco’s minister of tourism. Every day, I edited about four articles written by Moroccans. Through editing and researching stories to correct and strengthen them, I’ve learned so much about issues and events that would have never been on my radar. Editing these pieces has made me more aware of the pitfalls of using unequivocal words and not verifying historical facts when writing. The editing process, although often frustrating, has probably been the most engaging and challenging part of my time at Morocco. I came into the summer hoping to work on my English skills, Arabic and Spanish reading and translation ability, and get some hands-on experience in a newsroom. In a more established paper, I might have just been getting coffee for writers. Here, despite Morocco World News’ many problems, I got a great deal of writing and translation experience, have compiled a great portfolio for a college freshman, and reaffirmed my interest in internationally focused journalism.”
“I was a temporary English teacher. The frequency of English class changed from once a week to every day since my arrival. This class used to be taught by a Chinese teacher who had little English education background. My class adopted a variety of methods, including group work, discussion, and competitions. I also brought small prizes to encourage participation and spark kids’ interest for English. In the final exam, their average grade improved by 50% compared with their midterm grade. I also used the after-class time to interview the kids and visit their families. By the time I left, I had interviewed 26 kids and visited 10 of their families. This experience was extremely valuable for my writing.”
“I went into a new branch of Sistema, a social-change charity in Govanhill, Glasgow, every day to help with the logistics of the organization. It was a very hands-on experience: I checked in the kids, oversaw their playtime, passed out lunches, and sat in on their lessons. I was lucky enough to observe this program at a grass-roots level, rather than working in a removed environment. Govanhill is a neighborhood of immigrants, and one of the largest challenges was bridging cultural gaps. Language barriers made it hard to communicate with some parents, and other guardians needed convincing that the program was worthwhile and helpful.”