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Thu, 01/18/2018 - 11:16am

Philip Hodges '18 Returns from Middle East Entrepreneurship Camp


Philip Hodges '18 Returns from Middle East Entrepreneurship Camp

Greenie senior applies his World Languages skills, business sense in Jordan

Philip Hodges '18 signed up for Arabic three years ago without a second thought.

At the time, the newcomer to Christ School needed to fulfill a World Languages requirement. It really wasn't any more complicated than that.

Flash forward to the first week of January. Rather than return to school from Christmas Break, Philip left his home state of Kansas with a final destination of Madaba, Jordan. The Greenie senior attended a Startup with Purpose week-long entrepreneurship boot camp in the Middle East which lasted from Jan. 6-13.

"Little did I know a random class selection would open doors for me to explore parts of the world that I didn't even know existed," Philip said. "It was incredible. I was able to bridge the abstraction between a region of the world I've been learning about for the last few years and be there in real-time meeting people, speaking the language, and indulging in Jordanian culture."

Startup with Purpose is a non-profit organization which was founded by a Christ School alum. Henry Keenan '14 is presently a senior at the University of California, Berkeley. Keenan reached out to his alma mater, and Arabic instructor Jennifer MacDonald was the one who informed Philip of the trip, which came right on the heels of a holiday break for the Greenies.

The stated goal of Startup with Purpose is "to facilitate a student-led movement around the world and use entrepreneurship, teamwork, and innovation to combat challenging social and economic problems."

This was Philip's third piece of international travel, but first visit to the Middle East. He has previously been to El Salvador and Costa Rica.

"This trip was much more than a tourist venture," Philip said. "While we did some sightseeing, the week was filled with lectures, networking, and group projects. This was my first taste of the world of entrepreneurship. It was challenging and intense, yet incredibly informative. I discovered a lot about the world and the direction I want to take my own career."

Philip has been involved with the Christ School Outdoor Program every fall semester since coming to campus. He plays lacrosse in the spring, and at the moment, is trying theater for the first time.