The first two months at Wesleyan have been an incredible ride for the class of ’17 as we adjust to the fast-paced, activity-packed life at Wesleyan. We are immensely grateful to Wesleyan and the Freeman Foundation for providing us with this great opportunity to be here. We hope to be able to give back to our society with the skills we pick up here at Wesleyan. I recently caught up with my fellow freeman class of ’17 to get their take on how they would like to give back to their society after Wesleyan. Hope you enjoy this post!

Alison Lam – Hong Kong

I believe that artistic/cultural development in a well-developed city is as important as its economic development. Art is the core of innovation and creativity. Thus the one thing that I would like to contribute to is the art education of Hong Kong. I think art is very much neglected in the city, it is known to not make any money and cost a fortune. The West Kowloon Cultural District that the government has been planning for decades is still under development. If I have the power, I would like to bring in workshops that can stir the creativity of youths in Hong Kong, and raise their awareness of the value of art, and hopefully foster a group of people that is passionate about improving the artistic and cultural atmosphere in Hong Kong.


Shingo Umehara – Japan

Hi! I’m Shingo, from Japan. First of all, I want to thank all the people who made it possible for me to study here. I am determined to work in and for Japan in the future, and I intend to work for a better secondary education. I believe that the current education system is too dependent on college and social experiences for people to act in a socially responsible manner. I want to introduce an active learning system that allows students to engage in open ended question while maintaining the advantages that the current system holds. I am still undecided on whether I want to go into the government or work in the private sector to pursue this dream.
Although my future plan may sound solid, I am still open to other possibilities. In fact, since I arrived on Wesleyan campus, I have been exposed to ideas, ad have started to develop other interests as well. I look forward to such journey through various interests at Wesleyan. After all, we are here in this finest liberal arts institute to explore the vast paths of our lives.


Mika Reyes – Philippines

I actually already made a promise to myself that no matter the circumstance, I would be going back to the Philippines and work there permanently. I’m still not entirely sure what field I want to get into now. I do know that I would like to get into the business world and hopefully help in the economic situation of my country. I’d also like to put writing into the context of my job by maybe working for a newspaper company or this social media website that is very popular in the Philippines. I’d love to get people to be more socially aware and since the Philippines is one that is very Internet-active, this platform is great one. But during or after that or once I am financially stable, I’d really love to work in the business of education by maybe reforming the educational landscape, helping manage a school, researching on educational statistics for further improvement, teaching a class and so forth. I feel like education is an amazing way to improve our societies and I hope to take part in that in my own home.


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Cindy Horng – Thailand

My ultimate goal is to significantly improve, even revolutionise, the education system in Thailand, focusing particularly on rural regions that suffer acutely from inadequate funding and teacher training. To that end, I would like to create an NGO or work with existing ones to open centers dedicated to training local teachers who will be sent to teach students on a permanent basis (not on a rotational basis as in the current public system, or as with volunteer programs). In addition, these teachers will NOT be allowed to teach a subject until they actually have a detailed knowledge of it! Through the center, I hope to provide steady jobs and comprehensive training for local adults, as well as a continuous, guaranteed quality of education for students – essentially helping generations develop their knowledge and critical mindset, opening up a world of many more opportunities. It would also be awesome if I could find a way to convince the Thai Ministry of Education to change its current practices, but that can come later inlife!


Han Ming How (Hans) – Malaysia

I am now in the initial planning stage with a group of filmmakers and project managers in Malaysia to come up with an effective proposal of bringing the Sundance Forward Program, a film festival exchange program that promotes cultural dialogue through independent documentary and narrative films, to Malaysia.
After graduation, I wish to acquire as much screenwriting and film production experience as possible. I aspire to be a successful filmmaker who can bring a wealth of storytelling experience back to Malaysia and start producing more Malaysian films that utilize Malaysian mythology to create fascinating content, drama and spectacle for the global audience.
I want to make stories that thousands and millions of people around the world will see and hopefully be touched by, to make stories that inspire children and young adults, just as I was. I wish to contribute to the theatrical and cinematic scenes in my country by using theatre and cinema to articulate stories; either as an initiative to entertain the public; to expose dramatic art to students, or to simply have anyone’s memories be immortalized on stage or screen. I will strive to be a theatre and cinema advocate in my country because I see their potential to instill confidence and optimism among young people who are trying to understand the world around them.


Fernando Lira – Brazil

I don’t know what I will be in the future, where I will live nor what profession I will choose to pursue. It doesn’t matter though, at least not when it comes back to seeking ways to improve aspects of whichever society I decide to be a part of.
In the past, I’ve helped build houses, I’ve cleaned beaches, I’ve participated in food drives and I acted in educational plays, but I hope this is only the beginning of first few of many more to come. Because, truly, it doesn’t matter where you are and what you do, as long as you make it your primary goal to make a difference, to know that when you are gone, things will be better than they were when you arrived.



Hyelin Lee – South Korea

I have always wanted to work in some part of creative arts field. I am not sure exactly which area I would like to work yet, but as a lover of Korean literature, films and other arts, I would like to go back to Korea and work in that field, creating my own work and to help the unique value of  Korea’s own arts known to other people in the world. Specifically, I’d like to take part in some field of publishing business and improve the translation of Korean literary works. As part of what I am doing now, I’d also like to work in education field, help the young people in Korea have the opportunity to explore different areas and find what they truly want to do.


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Jason Wangsadinata – Indonesia

Freeman Asian Scholarship has given me tremendous opportunities to explore and challenge myself with the rigorous education in Wesleyan. I would hope to be able to go back to Indonesia and help the people in my country with my skills after finishing my Wesleyan education. One of the ways that I can think of doing in the future, is to create a space for community of learners who could challenge each other and learn from each other. I believe that the skills to formulate and express your own ideas are very essential and rudimentary for life and I would like to cultivate them to the younger generation of Indonesians. Freeman Asian Scholarship has made a huge difference in my life and I would like to continue the spirit of philanthropy and generosity to help Indonesia.


Roxie Chuang – Taiwan

After being admitted to Wesleyan, I’ve held several information sessions in different high schools in Taiwan. I talked about my experience of applying for universities in America, searching for scholarships and making tough decisions. More students in my high school have decided to challenge themselves by studying abroad this year, and I’ve been their consultant throughout the application process. Being a freeman scholar is a great honor with great responsibility. I want to provide students in Taiwan with greater education opportunities and broaden their horizons, just like what Mr. Freeman did for me.



Maria Ma – China

I aspire to utilise the knowledge I acquire at Wesleyan to help cultivate the skill of critical thinking in more Chinese youths.  In present day China, the problems that come with the explosion of population, technology and economy are the growing force of mob mentality and manipulation through the newly-risen social media platforms.  In this society just having a few prominent leaders is not enough, individuals who can think clearly for themselves and the public are called for. Through teaching, through the realization of platforms like Skillshare in China, I wish to lead students onto asking critical questions, analysing in environmental context and in details, and make use of these skills in media, academics and personal opinions alike to also bring positive changes to my country.


Austin Pham – Vietnam

Current Vietnamese films are old-fashioned, with their pre-existing roles and outdated storylines, while many directors have one-dimensional, done-to-death approaches that fail to fully cover the chosen themes. When researching Wesleyan, I came across and was vastly impressed by the work of Sascha Paladino, a Wesleyan alumnus, “Throw down Your Heart.” With an upbeat and romantic approach, the documentary explores an Africa that isn’t constantly plagued with wars and diseases, where people know to find joy in music. Why have I not come by one Vietnamese documentary that, for instance, focuses on the hearty smiles of the homeless under the Longbien Bridge of my city? With the knowledge given by Wesleyan, I believe that I will be able to encourage more Vietnamese to adopt the habit of watching creative documentaries. In doing so, I’m also setting out to diversify both fellow Vietnamese filmmakers and film watchers’ views on the same issues, thus adding more depth to the Vietnamese film industry.


Asad Hassanali – Singapore

The Freeman Association has provided me with this wonderful, wonderful opportunity to develop my skills and broaden my perspectives at Wesleyan. One of the many things I would like to do with these new skills is to continue helping out the youths back in Singapore. I hope to achieve this by giving my fellow youths an opportunity to learn about themselves; providing them with platforms to improve on important skills such as public speaking and problem solving. Everyone deserves a chance to gain a holistic education, an education where they grow and develop outside the academic sphere. My wish is to provide this opportunity to as many people as possible.