Moving halfway around the world is not for the faint of heart. Winthrop alumna Sonya Gary, vice president at Morgan Stanley, believes that being open to new experiences is what makes life exciting. As an expatriate who moved from New York to Hong Kong in 2010, she challenged herself to broaden her network, leave her comfort zone and fully embrace change.
“The experience of living and working abroad stretches you in ways you would not think possible,” Gary said. “It really helps you think outside yourself and facilitates your being a well-rounded person.”
The Greenville, S.C., native immersed herself in Chinese culture by residing in a more local Hong Kong community and taking Cantonese lessons so that she could speak basic phrases with her neighbors and friends.
In addition, Gary traveled extensively to learn about the myriad of Asian cultures across the region. During her time abroad, she has visited Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, South Korea, Taiwan, Beijing, Singapore, Cambodia, Philippines and Australia, with only India left to check off her travel wish list.
Gary said that the Winthrop experience provided a proper foundation for her that helped to propel her career, which is why she established the Sonya Gary Scholarship in 2012. The scholarship is the first annual scholarship established for psychology majors.
“I know that Winthrop helped me to become the professional I am today,” she said. “I give back because my university experience was engaging on all levels: intellectually, culturally, and personally. The administration and faculty at Winthrop focuses intently on establishing a vision and strategy towards graduating students who will not only be successful in their careers but also make the world a better place through their talents. I want other students to have access to my university experience.”
Last updated 9/5/13