Student Portrait

My name is Frankie. I was never a person who wanted to follow a strict discipline of study. Being a teenager in an academically rigid environment, I did not have the privilege to learn what I wanted. However, during my time at the Pre-Collegiate Program, a school that prepares Myanmar youth for higher education abroad, I discovered a holistic approach of interdisciplinary studies and experiential learning. This type of learning was revolutionary, as it helped me cultivate the idea of self-studying.

The unpredictability of life was and always will be a major challenge to me. During my time in the Pre-Collegiate Program, my parents’ financial situation went downhill to the point where they were no longer able to pay my tuition. Let alone going to my admitted college, I was unable to graduate alongside my classmates because I was obligated to pay the remaining fees. Subsequently, I borrowed funds from a close family friend to pay for the program and waited two years before enrolling in college so I could repay the money I owed.

These gap years presented me with not only financial difficulties but also constant emotional challenges. However, my time in the program motivated me to stay hungry for learning experiences. During this time, with my democratizing country initiating its developing phase, I could not help but feel the pressure to flow with the current of progress and soak up the experiences. Consequently, I had the privilege to work with filmmakers, writers, journalists, translators, photographers, entrepreneurs, an organization that uses Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) to leapfrog from the obsolete education system of the country, and even a liberal arts and sciences institution. As a result of these jobs, I was able to repay my loans and even support my little brother’s matriculation exam tuition fees.

While my journey has not been easy, I have been blessed with mentors, employment, volunteer opportunities, and different social circles. Through this exposure, I have found my love for literature, film, photography, traveling, researching, and making good friends with those wholly different from me—endeavors I wish to extend in my academic career and throughout my life.

 About Frankie

  • Age: 22
  • Ethnicity: Burmese
  • Country: Myanmar

 School & Program

  • Prague College
  • Bachelor’s, Creative Media Production
  • 1st Year in Program

Goals & Dreams

  • Establish a not-for-profit multimedia initiative
  • Advocate self-study through mass-media
  • Share the untold stories of different Myanmar ethnic groups
  • Become a novelist

 Loan Details

  • Loan Amount: $4,525
  • Amount Left To Fund: $0
  • Contract Duration: 12 years
  • Status: Prefunded by Zomia

Quotable

Frankie, in his own words

I am now studying Creative Media Production at Prague College, an opportunity that will enhance my observational enquiry on the shortcomings of Myanmar’s recent democratization and the new government’s questionable political patterns, through the practical training of convergent journalism and understanding of arts, media, and politics in cross-cultural contexts.

After my studies, I aim to return to Myanmar and work in radio stations or other multimedia organizations to learn more about Myanmar’s media landscape. I plan to use these experiences to eventually establish a not-for-profit multimedia initiative, advocating alternative self-studying through mass-media by creating accessible educational resources such as video essays, podcasts, and other interactive forums for creating intellectual dialogues for all learners.

My passion for literature, arts, media, and music dominates how I see my future in relation to my cultural, political, and social environment. Working in multiple startups during these two years of Myanmar’s development phase has been exceptionally rewarding since it has given me new insights on the underlying philosophies of the development process.

Myanmar is a culturally rich country that has a multitude of ethnic groups with untold stories. In the near future, I aim to immerse myself in these stories and share them with others using the skills I learn in my studies. It is exceptionally important for us to filter out our historic fear and reservations and shovel the cultural snow of ethnography, literature, and arts to preserve our traditions in a way that will nurture everyone. One way to understand each other is by telling our stories and developing empathy in the process. Rather than the disruption of ideas, I believe in inclusive nurturing of them. All in all, what good is development if it is not for everyone?

Written by Frankie with editing assistance from Zomia’s volunteer editors.

Frankie

Frankie

“Myanmar is a culturally rich country that has a multitude of ethnic groups with untold stories. In the near future, I aim to immerse myself in these stories and share them with others using the skills I learn in my studies.”

Q&A With Frankie

Survey Fun

What is your favorite memory?
Hitting my grandpa with a gavel after being scolded by him
How would your friends describe you?
Quiet
What is the one thing that isn’t taught in school but should be?
1984 by George Orwell
What is/was your favorite subject in school?
Literature
What skill or ability do you most wish you had (but lack today)?
Jazz drumming
If you could do anything you wanted now, what would it be?
Start a podcast
Where would you most like to travel?
Istanbul: the city of cats
What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
Grandma’s breakfast congee
What’s your dream job?
A novelist