DAA Daily

Above all else, Philip Wenturine loves stories.

By: Eduardo Aponte, Staff reporter, The Pawprint

Born in Tallahassee, Florida, the UAE is the fifth country he has chosen to call home, having previously lived in Portugal, Vietnam, the USA, and China. He has personally traveled to 53 countries, seeing sights ranging from the Great Wall of China to what was once the most dangerous district in Medellin, Colombia (nowadays, it is an incredibly safe and beautiful part of town).

“Dubai has always been on my list of places that I’ve wanted to live and to work since an early age just because of how diverse it is and how different it is to living in the US,” he said, when asked why he decided to settle down in Dubai.

“For the past two years, I was in Vietnam as a university counselor, and I probably would have continued to stay in Vietnam if the pandemic didn’t happen. But Vietnam, Asia specifically, but especially Vietnam, is very locked down right now…. Due to that, I wanted to come somewhere that was a bit more open. And so while Dubai was always on my radar, it became on my radar even quicker just because of how they handled the pandemic so well and how people are still able to live a normal life here.”

Out of all the questions I asked him, the one that gave me the largest window into his teaching philosophy and motive for becoming a teacher was an innocuous question about his favorite book. He chose a rather rare answer- Bright Shiny Morning by James Frey, a book about the people who live in, and the history of, California.

“I like it because [it’s] a series of vignettes about people who live in California, [about the] history of California and… what brings [people] there to achieve their dreams and have the Hollywood experience… And so I think that’s kind of a theme that describes me… as an educator, as I really enjoy just meeting people and learning about them, even if their story is a mundane story or maybe a really grand story. Everybody has such unique personalities and everybody has something good to offer society. And so I really like being kind of like a fly on the wall and learning about all the people that I come into path with like there that I cross paths with.”

He began his long, winding road to university counseling as someone who was inspired by his Creative Writing college professor to become an English teacher (he still writes in his spare time), graduating with a degree in Creative Writing and teaching English to educate students in the same way the person who inspired him did.

Initially teaching English, Mr. Wenturine decided to get a second degree in university counseling at the University Of Florida after he discovered that he had a distinct fondness for learning about and aiding students in achieving their future career paths, aspirations, and academic goals. He decided to formalize his frequent informal advice, and started working as a university counselor in Florida, and during his last two years of teaching in Vietnam. 

This is his fifth year working as a university counselor, and in his own words, he wouldn’t change it for anything:

“…being a university counselor is my favorite job that I’ve had so far. I still feel like I’m a teacher in a lot of aspects that I’m able to educate students on the very cumbersome university application process. I remember when I was in school, I didn’t have a university counselor and I always wondered where I might have gone to university or what programs or scholarships were available to me around the world had I had a university counselor. So that’s kind of why I like to do what I do now is I can kind of guide people along really unique pathways that I was otherwise unaware of. “

“But I always say, if I could, if I could have a dream job outside of university counseling, which maybe will happen one day, maybe one would be to be like a digital storyteller. I would love to just have a camcorder and a notepad going back to my previous dreams of being a journalist and just travel around the world and making videos of the people that I come into contact with along my travels to kind of have like a docu series of people around the world.”

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