Paul Whang

Master of Sustainability student
Paul is a current Master of Sustainability student from the United States. He shares why he chose to study sustainability and what he hopes to do in the future.
Paul Whang sitting on a wooden bench at the University of Sydney quadrangle

What has been your study journey?

I received my BA in English at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) back in June 2013. Between my time then and now, I worked in banking, education, news media, and non-profit. However, it is my connection to farming that first drew my attention to sustainability. I come from a family of farmers so I have personal and first-hand experience on how climate change disrupts food availability and reduces agricultural productivity. Simply put, climate change spells catastrophe for me.

Why did you choose your degree?

I chose sustainability because sustainability is an issue across all industries and sectors - and just life really. In what is becoming an increasingly pressing issue for humanity, no one can ignore sustainability today as we face rapid changes in society and nature. Sustainability is not just a feel-good green field anymore. It is a serious career path that slowly could be worth just as much as some other STEM fields. Studying this field continues to immensely impact me as I take sustainability into consideration at every turn. At the end of the day, I want to learn how I can be part of the solution and do my due diligence as a global citizen.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Sydney?

I have never studied abroad and I have always wanted to at a university with a world-class reputation, a beautiful campus, and an amazing encompassing city. The University of Sydney checked all those for me!

What are you enjoyed most about this course?

There are so many! I would have to say interacting with my fellow classmates whom I have come to really appreciate and admire.

What are your future aspirations?

The thing about sustainability is that it is so broad, so it can be tough having so many options! Currently, I do not have my mindset on anything particular but maybe I would like to do something that involves advocacy and policy work. One of the common themes I have been noticing from each of my classes is that the science and data about the past, present, and predicted future are all there but it is a matter of doing something about it to not have these studies go in vain.

What advice would you give to someone considering studying the Master of Sustainability?

There are going to be many times where you feel angry, frustrated, guilty, sad, and defeated from the issues and topics you cover in class. As hard as it may get, remember to focus on resiliency, stay optimistic, foster a stronger connection with nature, get active, and know when to disengage!