In Class News

September 20, 2016 at 1:00 am

Sophomore Studies Language, Culture and Law in Southeast Asia

Phoebe Parker

Phoebe Parker

Most students consider a language requirement to be a chore, but for Ohio University sophomore Phoebe Parker, it was anything but.

During this past summer, Parker traveled to Indonesia to learn Indonesian.

“I knew I wanted to continue studying the language. So with the help of my teacher, I started looking into programs that I could do,” said Parker, a Political Science Pre-Law and Global Studies major.

“The school doesn’t offer any [trips] in Indonesia, so I had to do my own research.”

To Parker, traveling to Indonesia for five weeks never seemed odd.

After engaging with other Southeast Asian students at Ohio University and developing a love for the language, Parker found herself unable to find a reason not to go.

Human Rights Work Before Law School

The driving force behind Parker’s determination to learn Indonesian is her long standing passion for working in Southeast Asia, something which has only grown after her time spent abroad.

“The first thing that drew me to Southeast Asia was that I knew that I wanted to be involved in human rights campaigns,” said Parker.

“There’s just endless opportunities of things to study. The more I met people who have lived there and the more I talked to my teacher Nissa, the more I realized that there’s just so many things that I can do, that I want to do.”

And while Parker has developed an array of desired career possibilities, she hopes to incorporate law into whichever path she decides upon.

“I’m really interested in things from a legal perspective,” Parker said. “Maybe I could work as defense lawyers for [Southeast Asian] people. Or I could focus on immigration law, or environmental policy. I have to figure out how to combine all of them.”

Parker, who has never wanted to take the traditional law school path, was originally hoping to do some work in Southeast Asia for one year before going to law school.

“I was hoping to work with an NGO before going,” Parker said. “It’s been a dream of mine for a long time to work with the UN and a special committee that would work with issues in Southeast Asia, whether that’s women’s rights or the environment.”

‘About Being in the Moment’

While Parker came to Indonesia to learn, she was taught more than just the language.

“I’m at the point where I know what some options are but it’s going to be more about being in the moment,” Parker said. “That’s something Indonesia taught me this summer. So I’m taking this approach a little, career-wise.”

No matter what Parker decides upon doing, her teacher and former graduate student at Ohio University, Nissa Aprilia, knows she is on the right track.

“Indonesia is a rich area for studying environmental policy or human rights,” Aprilia said. “There are a lot of Ohio University alumnae that work with the Indonesian government or NGOs that are willing to utilize their links to help her in her study, or career in the future.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *