PiA Fellow Facebook


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Hiba Abdulrazzak

Dili, Timor-Leste

Wellesley College’14
Major in Economics and Political Science
Hometown: Baghdad, Iraq.
Hiba spent most of her life discovering cities in south-west Asia and she can’t wait to do the same in southeast Asia. She is an avid walker and someone who doesn’t believe in public transportation that costs more than a dollar. As an economics enthusiast, she is super excited for cheap everything again and being able to negotiate prices down. She is also super excited for squat toilets to be back in her life (yes, they are amazing. Trust me). On a more serious note, however, Hiba is looking forward to immersing herself into the local community and learning the local language so well that she can convince at least one person that she is a local (she would be the happiest person on earth if that happens). Moreover, Hiba hopes to be an asset to the community around her, learn from them, and discover a new world of perspectives and wonders.  

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Rachel Alter

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Princeton University, ‘14
Major in English, Minor in Theater
Home Town: Brooklyn, New York!

Rachel is stoked to put off an endless career in waitressing (such is the life of a theater minor) to help teach people why Pixar movies are the best things in life. Through “Up,” “Toy Story 3” and “Wall-e,” Rachel hopes to inspire her students to believe in and be true to themselves.

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Sohrob Aslamy

Colombo, Sri Lanka

University of Washington ‘14
Political Science and Near Eastern Studies
Hometown: Seattle, WA.

Sohrob is excited to travel to Sri Lanka and is eager to experience the country’s rich culture, history and agricultural tradition. As an avid consumer of South Asian arts, he seeks to learn, hands-on about traditional Sinhala and Tamil music. With a background in Afghan music, Sohrob is keen on bringing together northern melodies with southern rhythms.

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Alyssa Atain

Houay Xai, Laos

Princeton University, 2013, Majored in Politics with a certificate in Chinese Language and Culture, Hawthorne, CA. Alyssa is extremely excited to be going back to Southeast Asia to experience another year of service and adventure. She misses her toilet that involved a bucket, strangers being super excited that she knew how to say “sawatdee kha,” and amazingly delicious food. She would like to visit every ASEAN country and she’s currently 6/10, so PiA fellows in Philippines, Myanmar, and Viet Nam should be expecting at least one visitor this year.

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Wendy Atieno

Vientiane, Laos

Principia College, 2012
Double major in Political Science and Chemistry
Hometown: Nairobi, Kenya.
Wendy laughingly thinks back to a time when she would not have found Laos (ahem, Lao PDR) on a map. She has come to enjoy extended roadtrips with her co-workers and loves that Lao immigration officials speak to her in Lao first. For her second year, she’s looking forward to more ping kai, ping bhaet, ping moo and maybe actually joining that riverfront aerobics class.

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Neil Atkinson

Singapore, Singapore

CUNY Hunter College ‘12
Major in Geography
Hometown: Northport, NY

Let this be a warning to ya.
Mess with PiA, and you mess with me.
Mess with me, and you mess with my associate, Whiskers.
Mess with Whiskers...well, ya really don’t wanna mess with Whiskers.

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Deelan Ayhan

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

University of Pennslyvania ‘14
Major in Health and Societies
Home Town: Queens, NY

Deelan is psyched to begin her Cambodian adventures in July. She downloaded a Khmer teaching app on her phone last night and immediately found out how hard it is to say “I’m fine” in Khmer. She cannot wait to play human Frogger every time she steps out of her house, and won’t be surprised if she gets run over one day. After learning that all of her friends will be embarking on vacations to Southeast Asia this summer after graduating, she realizes that she has unofficially accepted a role as tour guide. For everyone.

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Rina Azumi

Almaty, Kazakhstan

Princeton University ‘16
Major in the Woodrow Wilson School
Hometown: Yokohama, Japan

Travel is Rina’s adrenaline; she loves to discover interesting places, talk to different people, and try new food. She has never been to Central Asia, so she is incredibly excited to be living and working in Almaty at a public health organization. She is passionate about learning about the ways in which public health policies can enact social change.

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Ramzi Babouder-Matta

Can Tho, Vietnam

Tufts University, ‘14, Major in International Relations. Home town: Branford CT. I’m pretty stoked to head to Vietnam to be an English teacher with fellow Fellow Ben Scrimshaw, and I think a good way to describe myself is to mention a couple of things that I hope my students don’t find out about me: 1) I’m very clumsy, such that I used to be known as “clumsy Rumzi.” 2) I have a strange phobia of seeing people apply pressure to their pinkies, like when they’re counting - it makes me cringe and squeal. But hey, if those things come out and my students find at least a bit funny, the ensuing embarrassment could be worthwhile.

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Phillip Baumgart

Dalian, China

Columbia University ‘12
Major in English Literature
Hometown: Denver, Colorado
After working two years in the land of Harry Potter and The Hunger Games at Scholastic, Phil is eager to swap the cubicle for the classroom and embark on what will likely be the experience of a lifetime in Northeast China. An ardent adventurer and photographer, he’ll soon be exploring Dalian, frequenting the city’s (potentially overcrowded) beaches, and trekking through the beautiful nearby mountains. He has every intention of going to town on the seafood-heavy regional cuisine—whether or not doing so obliterates his 

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