Global Playground selected Ryann Tanap, a graduating senior at the College of William & Mary, to be next year’s Thailand Teaching Fellow.
Tanap is an International Relations major and has been involved with a number of service initiatives as an undergraduate.
“I am in a Teaching English Overseas class, and I was really looking at different opportunities abroad, but this one really stuck with me because it had a special connection to William & Mary,” Tanap said. “I felt like this had a strong community base and I really got that through the application process”
After a series of phone and skype interviews, Tanap received the job offer a few days before her final class as an undergraduate. Tanap’s Fellowship will be funded by donations from generous alumni of the College.
“I was blown away. I really didn’t think I had a shot to be honest,” Tanap said. “I know that William & Mary can be a very competitive pool to choose from.”
As an International Relations major, Tanap has a strong interest specifically in international development. Teaching in Thailand combines her interest in international development with her interest in education.
“I am interested in education because it can serve as a solution for alleviating poverty, be that in a rural community in Thailand or an urban city like the Bronx,” Tanap said. “I see education as a tool for helping people get out of poverty and move up in socio-economic status.”
In college, Tanap traveled on service trips to both New Orleans and Cincinnati, where she learned about poverty in more depth. Throughout these experiences, education stuck out for her as both the main problem and possible solution.
“I have really been exposed to a lot of issues of poverty but through all of my initiatives, I feel that education has been really influential as a root problem. It starts with kids and it needs to be ingrained in them early,” Tanap said.
In addition to her academic and service accomplishments, Tanap is Filipino and has been raised in Filipino culture. Both Filipino and Thai cultures value family and tradition. Tanap believes this will give her some understanding of the culture before she arrives.
“Southeast Asia really holds the family and tradition as most important over everything else,” Tanap said. “I am Filipino so I felt I could more so identify with the culture there.”
Tanap leaves for Thailand in July. Following her Fellowship in Thailand, she hopes to continue teaching after Thailand or working with a non-profit before returning to graduate school.
“I think this will be a good step for me as far as being independent. It will really push my limits and force me to challenge myself,” Tanap said. “I really wanted some unique experience that would help me narrow my interest as far as which grad program to go into. I am really taking it step-by-step.”