Below are some of my photo albums documenting some of my travels and adventures, organized by geographic region and chronology. I really enjoy traveling, especially with my family and friends. For me, the best way to travel is to not merely act as a tourist in jumping around to see all the sights, but rather, to live, study, work, and interact with the local culture and people for an extended period of time. Over the last few years, I've been fortunate to visit so many different countries and places! Click on the following below to jump down to the respective section.

Europe
Latin America
Asia
North America
Africa and the Middle East

 

Europe

Athens 2010
Growing up, ancient Greek philosophy, mythology, and history played an integral role in my life through my father's influence. One of my first memories was my father acting out scenes from the Odyssey and the Iliad to my great delight! When my sister came to visit, I booked flights to Athens - a visit to the splendors of the city of Pericles! To see everything in person – from the Acropolis and the Parthenon to the ancient Agora and the temple to Olympian Zeus – left an overwhelming sense of awe and wonder. Even though our trip lasted just three days, I felt so assimilated; a homecoming of sorts to a city I had already loved from my childhood.


United Kingdom 2010
With just one remaining term at Oxford left before I return to the US, I want to explore and experience as much as possible. This photo album contains highlights from the following: Visit to the Cotswolds with my MFE coursemates, my experiences at the St. Gallen Symposium in Switzerland (check out the link for more pictures and video highlights from the official site – truly one of the most extraordinary conferences I’ve ever been to), the Rhodes Ball 2010 (Theme: “Fairy Tale”), Brighton (The Palace is ornate beyond reason and astounding in its attempts to replicate Chinese decor!), Bristol (the SS Great Britain is extraordinary), Stonehenge (even though I’ve heard it called “disappointing”, I certainly didn’t feel that way!), and Salisbury!

United Kingdom 2009
2009 marked a year of many discoveries, filled with travels and adventures. This album contains some photos of my visit to the Lake District with my peers from the Economics for Development Program, Stratford upon Avon on my birthday, Warwick Castle, Balliol’s Christmas Dinner, and Belfast, along with some interspersed pictures of on-campus celebrations with my peers. As I leave Oxford in July 2010, I intend to travel throughout the United Kingdom and Europe to see as much as I can! The year passed so quickly with so many wonderful memories.

Italy 2009
Having thrown only one coin into the Trevi Fountain during my first trip to Italy in December 2008, I indeed returned very quickly, this time with my parents. I wanted to show them the wonders of Venice, Florence, and Rome – three cities with distinct character. Rome, with its ancient ruins – once at the center of the civilization, its empire seemingly indomitable. Florence, the capital city of Tuscany and the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance – the influence of the Medici pervasive, its art exhibitions unparalleled. Venice, the most striking city in the world – an entire city built upon water, the center of commerce from the 13th to 17th centuries. The trip left a deep impression on my parents and me; we will certainly return.

London 2008
To celebrate the holidays together, my family came to visit me in England. We spent a week in London, with day trips to Oxford (see album below), Bath, and Windsor Castle. From museums and cathedrals to markets and monuments, we explored London with great delight. On New Year’s Eve, we gathered at the plaza right outside of Westminster Abbey and Big Ben – in perfect view of the tremendously electrifying fireworks launched from the London Eye. What a wonderful family vacation!

Oxford 2008
After finishing my first Oxford term, I greatly looked forward to my family’s visit and the opportunity to show them the ‘new life’ I created for myself. The photos here document my family's trip to Oxford, not my daily life at Balliol. In many ways, Oxford is a truly magical place – an ancient city that is simultaneously the hearth of progressive research and scholarship.

Italy 2008
Venice, Florence, and Rome in one week! We saw so many different things, from the Doge’s Palace and the Basilica at San Marco’s Piazza, Michelangelo’s David and the Bargello Gallery, and Botticelli’s Birth of Venus at the Uffizi Gallery to the Sistine Chapel and Raphael’s School of Athens at the Vatican Museum, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Coliseum and Roman ruins (including the marketplace of Trejan, Forum, Palatine Hill, and the treasures of the Musei Capitolini), the Piazza del Popolo, the Ara Pacis and the mausoleum of Emperor Augustus, and countless magnificent churches and cathedrals (including the graves of Michelangelo, Raphael, the Medici family, the various popes, and Julius Cesar). Although Venice flooded and the rain followed us everywhere, I had so much fun and learned a tremendous amount of Roman history, mythology, and culture from my traveling companions. Since we had a tremendously ambitious itinerary, it is impossible to fully capture in writing and photos all the different sights that we visited, the food we enjoyed, and the city streets that we wandered, but this collection of photos and my journal provide just a small glimpse into my transformative experiences in Italy. As I threw only one coin into the Trevi Fountain, I hope for a speedy return!

Oslo 2011
I had a chance to visit Oslo for a day due to a conference for work. Even though I didn't have much time to spend in the city, I loved the Vigeland Sculpture Garden and wandering the old streets, imagining the days of the Vikings. It's truly a beautiful and walking-friendly city - next time, I'll be sure to bring my father to the Ibsen Museum!

Madrid 2006
In December 2006, my family came to visit me in Madrid. Having spent a semester at the Instituto Católico de la Administración de Empresas (ICADE), I was eager to show my family all the splendors I discovered, from beautiful parks to ancient medieval cities. My semester abroad was filled with meaningful research and activities. As a research scholar at the Fundación Nantik Lum, I deepened my understanding of the Spanish microcredit industry while supervising the publication of a research monograph. In addition, I joined the debate team, both debating in Spanish and organizing debates in English. At ICADE, I took classes in the Economy of the European Union, Spanish Civilization and Culture, Business in Environments of Exclusion, and International Economic Organizations – all my professors were truly inspiring. The latter two courses had a very significant research component. My case study on IUNA, an innovative social enterprise holding company in Valencia, ended up winning second place in the Ignacio Ellacuría Prize of Studies of Social Interest. Both of my writings can be found in the writing section. In retrospect, despite some interesting cultural clases, my experience in Spain was incredibly productive and meaningful – I hope to one day return to see my professors and colleagues once again. Especially since the Spanish academic system is so different from my experience at Wharton, I very much enjoyed the open, relaxed environment.

Latin America

Mexico 2007
The photos in this album capture my experience as a Client Assessment Research Fellow for FINCA International. I worked in a group of three to collect social data of FINCA’s village banking clients, spanning education, health, housing, assets, and living expenditures, among many other categories. Each day, I would accompany a loan officer as she visited her village banks (usually 5-9), interviewing one or two clients per group. Overall, the team conducted 800 interviews in five different Mexican states and thirteen different FINCA Mexico offices. The women I met were truly inspiring. In many cases, they were the sole bread-winners in the family, responsible for running their own businesses as well as taking care of the family and children. After hearing their stories and difficulties, I was truly humbled by their indomitable strength – their determination to surmount all obstacles to ensure that their children would lead better lives. Even when these women had very little, they were so willing to share whatever they had with me. As the last team member to leave Mexico, I was responsible for analyzing the data, presenting the results to the senior management of FINCA Mexico, and writing a detailed report on the implications of the results. Through this process, I learned so much about the problems currently facing the microcredit industry, as well as the many opportunities ahead.

Asia

China 2012
A work excursion took me to Beijing, Shanghai, and Urumqi. Having never been to China's major cities before, I was astounded by the scale of construction and the tremendous transformation of the country. From my MFE program at Oxford, I still have many friends in China - it was really fun seeing them after these years and having a local's perspective on the country! From visiting the Forbidden City in Beijing to the cosmopolitan center of Shanghai, I definitely hope to return one day.

Taiwan and Korea 2010
After graduating from Oxford and before starting work, I went to Taiwan to visit my relatives, enjoy good food, and relax! In addition, I had a chance to visit Seoul, Korea with my sister, where we enjoyed the cultural and historic sites, alongside the modern shopping and entertainment districts. Overall, I had a wonderful trip and wish to return again - next on my list, Japan!

Hong Kong 2006
In summer 2006, I did an internship at Credit Suisse in Debt Capital Markets. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience – not only did I learn a lot about emerging markets in Asia and credit analysis, but I had a chance to explore the city. My intern class that summer was truly wonderful – I had so many adventures and had conversations with so many interesting people! Hong Kong fascinates me because the city represents a collision of opposites – modernity and tradition, East and West, great wealth and poverty. My family came to visit in the middle of my internship, bringing me great joy.

Guilin 2006
After I finished my internship in Hong Kong, I had approximately a week and a half to explore China. Originally, I planned to go to Beijing, but due to certain circumstances, ended up taking a bus tour of Guilin. As a popular Chinese saying goes, “Guilin’s scenery is best among all under heaven.” After visiting, I wholeheartedly concur. The exquisite beauty of the scenery is the living manifestation of ancient Chinese brush paintings. I worry, however, about conservation efforts in China, especially since the rise of the tourist industry has grown disproportionately compared to environmental preservation.

Taiwan 2005
In summer 2005, I did an internship at Taishin International Bank in retail banking. Since it was the summer after my freshman year of college, everything I learned in the internship was completely new and exciting. The division hired two overseas interns for the first time that summer – I worked hard to improve my Chinese skills, and presented to the entire division on effective database customer segmentation techniques to maximize return. As my entire extended family resides in Taiwan, I had a wonderful time, from taking erhu lessons to visiting the National Palace Museum. When my mother joined me, I visited her old haunts, reminiscing with her about the massive changes occurring as a result of technological progress and economic development. Does development lead to cultural convergence? My view is rather ambivalent.

North America

Picasa Web Album
My family and I often travel within the US on our long weekends and holidays, from visiting Harper's Ferry in West Virginia to exploring New York City together(my current home).I also often have the chance to travel along the East Coast to visit my Givology chapters and old friends/colleagues. Rather than posting all my albums separately, given the sheer number of pictures, please click the link above to access my Picasa album that has some highlights of my North American forays, including event pictures from our various Givology campaigns and fundraisers across the country.

Africa and the Middle East

Dubai 2009
In April 2009, I went to Dubai as a delegate for Education Without Borders. Having submitted a critical analysis paper on "Microphilanthropy in Education", I was chosen as a presenter on the e-technology panel. Presenting my paper was a truly amazing experience - I met so many supportive peers from across the world, and as an added benefit, ending up winning the "Best Paper Award" for my theme! There were a total of 36 paper presenters, chosen out of more than 1,000 submissions. The conference experience was phenomenol and beyond my wildest expectations - who would have imagined that I would be staying at a five-star hotel (Media Rotana), meeting over 1,000+ delegates from 120 countries, eating at some of the fanciest restaurants in Dubai (including a gala dinner at Atlantis, the underwater hotel), and speaking with eminent guests from the Minister of Education of Colombia and former US Secretary of Education to the former President of India and the first female private space explorer and founder of the Ansari X prize? To give you a sense of the grandeur of the event, for the cultural performances during the gala dinner, the conference hired Riverdance to perform, along with so many other eminent artists. Dubai was a really interesting city - an odd mixture of tradition and modernity, conspicuous consumption and poverty - truly, a city of contradictions.

Uganda 2009-2010
In December 2009, I traveled to the Circle of Peace School in Kampala, Uganda. Representing Givology, I went to visit the children and assist with the relocation of the Lower Campus. The story behind the Peace School is truly tremendous. As a family-run school, the Peace School provides free education to over two hundred children who otherwise would not be able to afford tuition fees, many of them AIDS orphans. The commitment of the school to providing the highest quality instruction has resulted in so many success stories of alumni entering some of the best secondary schools in Uganda and continuing on to pursue law, medicine, science, engineering, among many other fields. Despite 15 years of delivering quality education and helping hundreds of children, however, the Lower Campus of the school was unexpectedly evicted in December 2009 by its landlord, affecting grades Pre-K through 3rd grade. The link takes you to the journal that I kept while in Uganda. Traveling to Uganda and living at the Peace School really transformed my view of my world, and only reinforces my desire to mobilize Givology to do as much as possible. Each day had so much significance, and I will forever treasure the friendships I formed and the stories that the children shared with me. While in Uganda, my heart shattered into a thousand pieces every day when I witnessed the challenges the children faced, but there is a powerful sense of hope beneath it all. To learn more about the Circle of Peace School, please click here.

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