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King University Students Spend Two Weeks in Southeast Asia

BRISTOL, Tenn., July 17, 2017 – Thirteen students from King University traveled 30 hours to Southeast Asia just two days after Spring Commencement ceremonies. The students, led by Han Chuan Ong, Ph.D., dean of King’s College of Arts & Sciences, and Emily Loudon, director of student life, spent May 2-18 traveling in and around Penang, Malaysia; Bali, Indonesia; and Hong Kong, China.

Matthew Miller, a King University senior, said, “Although this was my second trip to Malaysia, I was still awestruck to observe the daily workings of the Malay and Balinese people. Traveling through the many [cities], coastal, [and] jungle locations provided an opportunity for all of us to admire the diverse landscape of the tropics in Southeast Asia and take a glimpse at the inner workings of their culture. The trip to Malaysia and Bali not only broadened our palates for local cuisine but also expanded our thinking toward diverse religious understanding. In all, the Malaysia/Bali trip did not disappoint; however, the hardest part was getting there.”

Dr. Ong, a native of Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia, said the focus of the trip was one of cultural immersion. “We want our students to experience different cultures. We want them to see the value of preserving cultural heritage and physically restoring old buildings and historical artifacts. The students were surprised to find out how valuable older things are in third world countries because they do not have resources to rebuild from scratch. This was one of the greatest contrasts for our students – how in love the people are with their old things and how much effort they put into preserving them.”

The King group spent time at two UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Centres – one in Penang, Malaysia, and one of Bali, Indonesia. “UNESCO, in part, focuses on the preservation of old buildings, of cultures,” said Ong.

“Malaysia and Indonesia are predominantly Muslim. However, the Balinese are mostly Hindu, while Penangites practice many different faiths,” commented Ong. “The students experienced contrasting places where the rich cultures permeate everything.”

While in Bali, students hiked up one of the three volcanoes located on the small island. Indonesia is part of what is called the “Ring of Fire,” which surrounds part of the Pacific Ocean. The Ring of Fire includes a total of 452 volcanoes, which makes up 75% of all active and dormant volcanoes. The group also bathed in hot springs heated by volcanic activity.

Other activities included visiting two temples located high on the sides of cliffs in Bali – Tanah Lot Temple and Uluwatu Temple. Other highlights included visits to the rice terraces, trips to local villages, and a full day of sightseeing in Hong Kong, China.

King senior Victoria Cox said, “The trip to Penang, Malaysia, and Bali, Indonesia, was the trip of a lifetime! I loved being able to soak up the culture, see some of the most beautiful places, and taste amazing food. This trip was perfectly shaped and balanced to provide us with everything we could have asked for. Traveling is such an eye- and heart-opening experience and this trip definitely accomplished both!”


King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia. For more information on SCHEV certification, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.