Ryan Sung '22

Admission Ambassador

Novogratz Bridge Year Program, China

Hi, I'm Ryan (he/him/his) and I was born in El Paso, Texas, to immigrant parents from Mexico and Taiwan. Service work has always been important to me, and I volunteered with NGOs and government offices that provided services to migrant families and undocumented communities. On Bridge Year, I lived in Kunming, China and volunteered at the Jiaxin Children's Assistance Center. There, I acted as an English teacher for migrant children, planned excursions, and interpreted meetings with foreign partner organizations. Bridge Year was a major turning point in my life, where I got to better understand myself and my place in the world and earn a sense of community in a country I had never been to. At Princeton, I now major in the School of Public and International Affairs, with a certificate in East Asian Studies. I fuel my passion for understanding China through leadership in the Princeton U.S.-China Coalition, and connect with my Mexican heritage through Princeton's Latin dance company, Más Flow. After college, I will continue a path of service through Princeton's SINSI program, earning a master's degree in public policy and serving with government agencies for two years.


What did you learn through participation in Bridge Year?

I learned humility in my service work. I came in hoping to enact great change, but realized that the issues NGOs face have been around for decades and local volunteers have dedicated their lives to solving them. Still, I was able to contribute to a local cause by incorporating my own experiences and learning from others.

What was the best part of Bridge Year for you?
Conversations and stories! From late-night, snack-paired debates with my homestay family to short chats with taxi drivers, listening to my students' personal stories and hearing local legends from Tibetan families, I gained a wealth of knowledge about Chinese history and culture. As an old Chinese proverb goes, "everyone around you can be your teacher," learn from them!

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