Asian Studies Students Receive Parish Fellowship for Summer Research Travel

Two Asian Studies undergraduate students have received Parish Fellowship awards this year to support their summer research efforts abroad.


Justin Park, junior from McMurtry College and Asian Studies and Biological Sciences double major, will be studying the bbali bbali culture of South Korea. Bbali bbali (literally translating to “quickly quickly”) refers to a perceived mentality of the Korean people that highly values speed and efficiency. Park explains, “Some scholars and journalists claim that because everything must be done quickly and efficiently … the general sense of safety is often compromised – regulations are ignored, and precautions are bypassed.”  As a result, he claims, Korea is more seemingly susceptible to man-made disasters and tragedies, citing the Sampoong Department Store collapse in 1995 and the Gyeongju resort collapse in 2014 as examples. But he is also quick to point out that much of the rapid economic development of Korea can be attributed to this same attitude. Yet, studying this aspect of Korean culture through the literature has proven elusive for Park. “I believe that the pace of life is abstract, but has very tangible manifestations that can only be observed and felt when fully immersed in that culture.” Consequently, Park plans to fully immerse himself in South Korea for 4 weeks, with brief visits to Japan and China, as well, for comparison.


Radhika Sharma, sophomore from Brown College and Asian Studies and Economics double major, will be following the path of coffee in China from production to consumption. As a “Keeper of Coffee” and manager at Rice Coffeehouse, Sharma says this opportunity will “synthesize [her] own passions for coffee and China into a single project.” Sharma notes that coffee holds a Western, modern status in China. “I want to explore how China has adopted, changed and engaged with globalization and Western culture by studying how it has done so with coffee.” Sharma’s coffee trail will take her to two very different and distinct places in China: Yunnan – a southwest province bordering Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam and a hub of ethnic minorities in China where most of China’s coffee is grown – and Beijing – the capital of China and the cultural and political center representative of the nation’s coffee consumers. While visiting coffee farms, plants, roasters and shops, she plans to interview local growers, sellers and consumers about their relationship with coffee and share their stories via her blog.

The Dr. John E. Parish Fellowship for Summer Travel supports approximately two months of travel and reflection for the purpose of enhancing the education of a Rice undergraduate. The fellowship is offered through Wiess College. For more information about the fellowship and instructions on how to apply, visit their webpage at

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