Thursday, 20 January 2011


Welcome To Princeton in Asia PDF Print
ImageMission Statement:  “To promote good will and understanding and to facilitate in every way the free interchange of the best ideals in the civilizations of both East and West.”

Princeton-in-Asia (PiA) provides transformative, service-oriented experiences for talented graduates and serves the needs of Asia as determined by our Asian partners. Over the last century, the organization has achieved this goal by providing talented young people with various opportunities to live and work in Asia. The first PiA "fellowships" consisted of a handful of Princeton University graduates who went to China in the late 1890s to do relief work and teach English; the program has since expanded considerably in size and  scope throughout Asia.  In 2007, PiA placed 125 fellows in seventeen countries, including Cambodia, China, Timor-Leste, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Laos, Mongolia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Currently the program offers 85 teaching fellowships with 40 additional fellowships in the fields of journalism, international development, and business.

PiA's Home Office is located on the Princeton University campus. Princeton-in-Asia is a private, independent, non-profit organization 501(c)(3) affiliated with Princeton University.
PiA in India 2007-2010 PDF Print
The leadership and generosity of 3 Princeton alumni has transformed the lives of 16 PiA Fellows, over 500 orphans and students, and made an indelible impact in communities throughout India. The following video highlights the achievements of PiA's reinvigorated India program, now in its fourth year, and provides a glimpse into the lives of PiA Fellows on the ground. 

Note: video requires Quicktime plugin.  

Jessica Lander: PiA Fellow of the Fortnight PDF Print
ImageJessica is diving into her fourth month in Chaing Mai in northern Thailand, where she teaches English to one hundred and forty students at Chiang Mai University.  Within three months, she has grown comfortable making a fool of herself in class – acting, dancing, making funny faces, whatever it takes to keep her students laughing and engaged.  She has come to expect the unexpected: Will the class discuss bisexual camels? interview Harry Potter? debate the merits of riding elephants as a means of “green” transportation?

When not teaching the finer distinctions between “say” and “tell,” she discusses Shakespeare sonnets with students she’s coaching in a regional competition. Recently, Jessica convinced her department to let her produce MacBeth, set in Thailand! Auditions are this week!

Off school grounds, Jessica is often found hanging from the local bouldering wall at Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Adventures, nibbling on sticky rice in a local market, and learning the Thai words for “head,” “arm,” and “leg” from the women at her favorite massage parlor.  On Wednesdays, Jessica pulls out paintbrushes and paper behind a major temple, where she has established an art program for neighborhood kids.  When the weekend comes, she’s off on her motorbike, or a bus, or plane – adventures that have led her to help sell vegetables at 3am on the Fourth of July, bring banana offering to an elephant shrine, unexpectedly stumble into the red-light district of Bangkok, and sip locally grown tea up in the mountains near the Thai border.

Tony Brasunas: PiA Alum of the Fortnight PDF Print
ImageWhen PiA sent Tony Brasunas to teach English in a high school in Guangzhou, China, he had never left the United States, nor taught a class on anything. His ensuing year involved getting through to twelve classes of high schoolers and then backpacking alone across the Middle Kingdom, and the time broke him open as a person and planted a China seed deep inside him. "Somewhere between thinking I was going to die when I was nearly unconscious in a hospital basement and thinking I was going to die when I was hitchhiking in a Tibetan monsoon, my heart opened, and my inner caterpillar sprouted wings and fluttered like a butterfly." Upon his return, he realized the magnitude of what had happened: He was forever and indelibly changed. He began to write it down, and his forthcoming book, Double Happiness: One Man's Tale of Love, Loss, and Wonder on the Long Roads of China, is something of an Eat, Pray, Love for those just out of college or living as if they were. There's also a bit of the passionate maverick from Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild, he says. "But I don't actually quite die in the end." The book recounts both teaching and traveling. He credits the PiA spirit in particular, as well as the vast land of China itself, for the discoveries, connections, and insights, which "inspire every word and letter of the book." 
He's now ensconced in San Francisco proofreading the manuscript, working with an illustrator on hand-drawn maps, sending out queries to literary agents, and fantasizing about another return to China. "For the food, the beauty of the hinterlands, the openness of the people..." 

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