Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Duke. My undergraduate years were amazing—transformative for me as a person as well as intellectually stimulating. But, after a certain number of years out of college, no one asks you about your undergraduate major. Although I have a doctorate in anthropology, I am excited for the opportunity to acknowledge that the foundation for my academic and professional success was created during my undergraduate years as an International Comparative Studies major (and a political science and history minor) at Duke University.
Duke University is a mesmerizing, intimidating place for a small town Midwestern girl, so I had few goals beyond passing classes for my future at the university when I arrived on campus in 2006. I knew two things: my varying interests made it difficult for me to focus on my desired area of study and I wanted to learn as much as possible about as many subjects possible. It was shortly after taking a course called “Religions of Asia” that I discovered International Comparative Studies. I became fascinated with the close relationship societal and religious culture had in Asia, and my adviso
My name is Sung Bae Park and I graduated in December 2014 with a double major in International Comparative Studies and Economics with a minor in History. This year, I will be joining J.P. Morgan’s investment banking team in Hong Kong. As a Korean national who grew up mostly in Singapore, ICS was a natural choice for me while exploring different options as I was keen on learning about different cultures and transnational issues.
I started at Duke majoring in Public Policy, thinking that one day I wanted to go into government and policy. However, I soon found myself falling in love with all of the cultures embedded within Duke’s campus, and I took on a second major in International Comparative Studies (ICS). The courses I took and professors I learned from opened my eyes in ways I never expected. I developed a passion for languages, cultures, and for understanding why different types of governments operate the way they do. While at Duke, I had opportunities to conduct research in Egypt, China and Kenya.
This is my 6th year as a Special Education teacher at the best middle school in America. I’m biased of course, but I love working at MS324, which is a public middle school in Washington Heights, a Latin-American neighborhood in northern Manhattan. In addition to my daily work of helping students recognize their value, intelligence, and potential for success, I help our 8th grade students and families navigate the NYC high school admissions process.
While I didn’t know what International Comparative Studies (then called Comparative Area Studies) was prior to stepping foot on Duke’s campus, it was clear very early on that it was the perfect major for me. Furthermore, the tools I developed through ICS have been crucial in my career as a documentary filmmaker.