Thursday, September 13, 2018

Summer Internships in China

The Hopkins-Nanjing Center Internship Support Fund (HISF) provides financial assistance to international students interning in China at a variety of organizations over the summer. Read on to hear about their internship experiences.

Stephanie Gruetze, Certificate ’18, interned at China Policy, a policy analysis and strategic advisory firm headquartered in Beijing. She interned within the agriculture portfolio, looking at the effect of policy changes on both China’s domestic market and international agriculture markets. With the help of the HISF award, she is pursuing her interests for a career goal relating to China and agriculture.

 At Trivium, a research firm focused on China’s politics and economy, Malcolm Black, MAIS ’19, applied the theory learned in his coursework to what is going on in China today. This aspect of the internship, alongside working with other Hopkins-Nanjing Center and Johns Hopkins SAIS alumni, made interning at Trivium a rewarding experience for him.


At Trivium China, Nicholas Felt, MAIS ’19, followed the activities of China’s leadership as well as conducted policy analysis for consulting projects in a variety of different sectors. Working at Trivium provided great insight into how he can translate his interest in Chinese political economy into a rewarding career after leaving the Hopkins-Nanjing Center. Furthermore, spending the summer in China gave Nicholas more time to explore new areas of China on weekends, such as the nearly 1,700 year old Lingyin Temple(灵隐寺) in Hangzhou, pictured here.

This summer, Anneliese Gegenheimer, Certificate ’18, Johns Hopkins SAIS ’19, interned in Beijing at APCO Worldwide, a government affairs and strategic communications consultancy.  She was part of the technology sector team and  primarily focused on researching investments in core technologies in China.

As an intern at Adia Entertainment, Steven Rotchadl, MAIS ’19, had firsthand experience with the development process for a variety of AAA video game titles. He often served as an indirect gateway to explain the specific needs of western clients to his Chinese colleagues, while also reinforcing Adia's marketing department and supporting the management of the production process.

Andrew Rankin, MAIS ’19, interned with the US Foreign Commercial Service at the US Embassy Beijing for three months this summer. His projects included China trade enforcement and compliance, collateralized trademark bubbles, and a US-EU overlapping interest report. On a daily basis Andrew workeds with a team of officers and specialists to create English and Chinese promotional documents and facilitates US multinational corporations’ market access through various events.

Alexandra Wasik, MAIS ’18, spent her summer interning with Nalco Champion, an ecolab company in Shanghai. Her projects included a market analysis on China’s privatized oil refining industry and a case study on Yixing Kingone, a fuel additive producer in China.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Fall 2018 Campus Visits and Virtual Info Sessions

The Hopkins-Nanjing Center admissions team will be on the road again this fall! Admissions representatives will be holding info sessions, visiting Chinese classes, holding one-on-one appointments and offering optional admissions interviews at colleges and universities across the United States. See the list below to see if the Hopkins-Nanjing Center admissions team will be visiting your school this fall or visit our recruiting calendar for more details about upcoming visits.

If you can't meet us in person, we are also holding virtual info sessions throughout the fall. Click on the links below for more information to RSVP and sign up for email reminders.

Please contact us at for visit details or to schedule a one-on-one appointment or an admissions interview when we are at your campus. For on-the-road updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @Hopkinsnanjing.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Student Profile: Pawel Chrzanowski

Name: Pawel Chrzanowski

Program: Hopkins-Nanjing Center Certificate '18

Hometown: Newtown, Pennsylvania

Undergraduate Institution and Major:
Pennsylvania State University ’16, Economics, Chinese

Fun Fact: I was born in the United States, but my parents are Polish. I moved to Poland when I was two years old, so my first language was actually Polish. I moved back to the U.S. when I was 10 years old; that’s when I first learned English.

Tell us about your undergraduate experience. How did you become interested in China Studies?
In undergrad, I first chose economics as a major because I was interested in the subject matter. The main reason I started learning Chinese was because first, everyone kept telling me that economics and Chinese go well together and second, I really wanted to learn a third language, and everyone talked about how impossible it was to learn Chinese. I like a challenge, so I thought, if it is impossible then I’m going to learn it. I began taking Chinese language courses my freshman year of college.

Why did you choose the Hopkins-Nanjing Center?
After graduating from Pennsylvania State University, I worked for a year. My job at the time had to do with technology. On the one hand, I’m glad I had that job because it taught me valuable lessons in business and grew my interest in the technology industry. On the other hand, it was also driving me crazy that my job had nothing to do with China. I spent four years learning Chinese, and the fact that I was not growing in my China-focused goal felt like I was stalled. Every time I even saw a picture of someone in China, I felt this envy inside of me and knew that I needed a change in my life. I applied to the Hopkins-Nanjing Center because I knew it was the next best step. When I talked to Lauren Szymanski, Deputy Director of the Hopkins-Nanjing Center Washington Office and an alum of the Certificate program, she spoke to me of the Hopkins-Nanjing Center’s uniqueness and how it is unlike other graduate programs in China. I had previously done a language program in China and only knew what language programs were like: the structure of classes is the same for everyone, and language is the main focus. At the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, not only do students have the ability to choose their own schedules, but more importantly, the subject matter of the courses is very specialized. I liked that I could choose to specialize in economics, government, Chinese studies, etc. I also liked that there was time to get involved in extracurricular activities, such as starting your own interest group.

Tell me about one of your favorite classes.
My favorite class this semester is Professor Feng Chuan’s Comparative Chinese-American Legal Cultures class (中美法律文化比较). As you can tell by the name, the class deals a lot with law, and I have never taken any sort of law class before. I think the class is really interesting, and the Professor really knows a lot about the topic. I really like the concepts he talks about during class, such as law’s influence on the foundations of America and China. I think in order to understand anything, you first have to understand its foundation. I really like the Elon Musk quote which says, “It is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree – make sure you understand the fundamental principles, i.e. the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to.” I always try to live by that concept, so I think that Professor Feng Chuan’s class helps me in that way, by helping me understand the foundation, because law has so much influence on the foundation of a country.

What are your summer/post-graduation plans?
My biggest goal is entrepreneurship. In the future, I want to start my own company. I have been working towards that goal, even while I have been here at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center. This semester, I have traveled around China to talk to local manufacturers and spent time learning about the importing process from China to America. For example, I took advantage of some free time over spring break to travel to the Guangzhou Canton trade fair to establish professional relationships with suppliers and manufacturers in China. For work in the more immediate future, my main requirement is that the job has to be involved in some way with China. As I mentioned earlier, what I liked least about my last job was that it didn’t have anything to do with China. I am striving for interesting work that will grow my expertise on China on a global scale and will allow me to continue learning Chinese.

Any advice for prospective Hopkins-Nanjing Center students?
My biggest advice for students coming to the Hopkins-Nanjing Center is to get out and step off the beaten path. My best memories, experiences, and lessons are from those times that I stepped out beyond the classroom and immersed myself in the outside world. One of the unique things about the Hopkins-Nanjing Center is that although we spend a lot of time studying for class, students still have plenty of time to go exploring. Many language programs in China that most students have done before do not give you much free time. When you are in one of those programs, that is all you are doing. Students at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center have freedom and time to get involved in other things. It’s such a great thing because it really allows you to flourish outside of the classroom. So, while in Nanjing, my advice is to go out, start or join an interest group, work on a random personal project that has to with China, and simply take advantage of where you are.  

Sum up your Hopkins-Nanjing Center experience in two words:
“Enlightening” and “Involved.” “Enlightening” in that we take classes in Chinese dealing with international politics and international economics, among others. So, you are not only improving your language skills, but you are also really learning a lot in various subject matters. “Involved,” in that you can get involved in so many extracurricular activities. I co-led the yoga student interest group and helped organize the Halloween party this year, which gave me a well-rounded experience.

Interviewed by Emily Rivera, Certificate '18

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Admissions Update: Optional Interviews

The Hopkins-Nanjing Center online application is now open! We are excited to announce a new aspect of the application process – optional interviews. Completing an interview is not required, but it is an opportunity to let the admissions committee learn who you are beyond your test scores, transcript, and resume. The interview will also allow you to demonstrate why the Hopkins-Nanjing Center is a good fit for your academic interests and career goals.

Interviews are conducted in English by an admissions representative or a current student for about 30 minutes. Email with your availability for an in-person or Skype interview any time before the November 1 application deadline for early notification and February 1 application deadline for general admission.

The Hopkins-Nanjing Center admissions team will be visiting colleges and universities across the United States this fall. Stay tuned to the blog for the full list of schools we will be visiting and be sure to check our recruiting calendar for upcoming visits. If a member of the admissions team is visiting your campus, we encourage you to reach out to schedule an interview or if you just want to learn more about the Hopkins-Nanjing Center programs and the application process.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Wordless Wednesday – Holidays in China

For this week’s Wordless Wednesday post, student blogger Emily Rivera, Certificate ’18, showcases how students spend their holiday breaks in China. Students take advantage of their holiday breaks to participate in internships, visit friends and family, explore new destinations within China, and even to participate in moot court competitions.

Photos compiled by Emily Rivera, Certificate ‘18

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Favorite Things About the Hopkins-Nanjing Center

Emily Rivera (Certificate ‘18) shares thoughts from students, faculty, and administrators on their favorite things about the Hopkins-Nanjing Center.

Hi everyone! During the spring semester,  I went around asking students, faculty, and administrators a simple question: “What is your favorite thing about the Hopkins-Nanjing Center?” Here were some of their answers:

“My favorite thing is that while we all have a common love for China and international relations, there is a huge diversity of academic passion and knowledge.” – Taylore Roth (Certificate ‘18/SAIS MA ‘19)

“One of my favorite parts of the HNC is our library. It's the perfect place to go to for studying and has a really impressive collection of both English and Chinese books, which has been super helpful during my thesis research.” – Amanda Bogan (MAIS ‘19)

“Few people talk about their school the way we talk about the HNC. There is so much pride and unity here, a big sense of shared identity, which has made all of us unified and happy – I think that is the HNC spirit.” – 代攀红 (Certificate ‘18)

“There are, of course, many things that I love about the HNC. I think you might be surprised to learn that one of my favorite things is the elevator in the old building. I love that old elevator because every time I ride it I am reminded of its great symbolic value to the HNC. When the HNC building was built in the mid-1980s that was surely the only elevator in Nanjing in a building with fewer than six floors. Even today in China residential buildings below six stories high do not have elevators. At the time we needed a variance to install it!  To me it is a symbol of the care and investment that was made by Chinese and Americans in the construction of a comfortable and inviting place to study and learn.” – David J. Davies (Hopkins-Nanjing Center, American Co-Director)

“My favorite part about the HNC is the fact that classes are made up of both international students and Chinese students. During class discussions, it is so interesting to hear everyone’s differing perspectives across a wide variety of issues. I also love having a Chinese roommate. We have fun teaching each other commonly used words/phrases in our native language, as well as talking about those topics we don’t quite get to in the classroom.” – Emily Rivera (Certificate ‘18)

“One of my favorite things about HNC is that the Center provides students with research opportunities. This allows people to conduct and engage with first-hand research that exposes students to unique research topics related to China.” – Christian Flores (MAIS ‘19)

“I have met the best classmates with shared interests, shared hobbies, and from different countries.The HNC provides the best environment for study and research. I have also met the most kind and helpful professors.” – 陈明川 (Certificate ‘18)

“There are many rewarding aspects to being at the HNC, but if asked to give two I'd say I love sailing on Xuanwu Lake as part of Nanjing's Whisper the Wind Sailing Club (风之曲帆船俱乐部) and I enjoy sharing an office with Zhang Laoshi.” – Robert (Robbie) Shields (Hopkins-Nanjing Center, Career Counselor)

“My favorite thing is the diversity of the people I’ve met here, among both Chinese and international students.” – Maria Belen Wu (Certificate ‘18/SAIS MA ‘19)

“My best memories at the Center are not particularly grand moments. Rather the small daily moments – running into a friend in the hallway and sharing a knowing smile or sharing lunch on the yangtai with a group of friends – are the ones I'll remember once I leave the Center.” – April Cho (Certificate ‘18)

“My favorite thing about the HNC is hanging out with friends and chatting in different places. The international community we have at the HNC is the coolest thing I have ever experienced. My roommate is such a nice person and I love him! I also have made a lot of friends here during this year! The yangtai and the student lounge are my favorite places! I really like the HNC!” – 崔洋 (Certificate ‘18)

“Engaging in meaningful class discussions, hearing the different perspectives of my classmates, and studying complex problems in Mandarin, with both international and Chinese classmates.” – Guillermo Garcia Montenegro (Certificate ‘18/SAIS MA ‘19)

“I love the trees on campus. They are my favorite! I really love it when I can look out my window and see so many trees, especially if it is a nice day with the sunshine coming through the window and the trees, it looks really beautiful. I’ve taken so many pictures of them!” – 消玲 (Certificate ‘18)

“Teaching and learning never stop at the HNC, especially during lunch and when budding philosophers gather on Sunday nights with the Philosophy Discussion Interest Group.” – Professor Thomas Simon (Hopkins-Nanjing Center, Resident Professor of International Law)

“My favorite thing at the HNC is the yangtai hangout areas for students, they are very relaxing!” – Kimya Nia (Certificate ‘18/SAIS MIEF ‘19)

“I think the best thing at the HNC is that students have so many places to study, not only in the library or the classroom, but there are also study rooms downstairs in the dorm building and a 24-hour study room on the 5th floor. Students don't have to worry about finding a silent place to study. Usually in other Chinese universities, it's impossible to have so many options because there are more students than library seats. Another cool thing is that we have plenty of excellent students here to discuss with and interact with. Everyone who wants to improve in their targeted language can find countless opportunities. Plus, the HNC hosts various lectures, which aim to widen our horizons.” – 胡天 (Certificate ‘18)

“The library has a huge selection of interesting books and magazines to read.” – Mitchell (Mitch) Blatt (Certificate ‘18/SAIS MA ‘19)

“My favorite memory of the HNC is when I followed the international students in singing Christmas songs in the evening on Christmas Day. It was the first time I ever heard Christmas songs. Everyone clapped their hands and tapped the floor using their feet. I felt the world was peaceful. People all are happy. I am glad to see that the international students can live and study in China happily. We are one world, no matter who you are, or where you are from.” – 任庆川 (Certificate ‘18)

“My favorite part of the HNC is Professor Hua Tao (华涛老师). He is so accessible and always available to talk to students about anything they may need help with.” – Eliot Faust (Certificate ‘18/SAIS MA ‘19)

“My favorite thing at the HNC is the student lounge. In the lounge, we can have casual conversations, have some academic discussions, and hold various parties. What’s more, the HNC student-run coffee shop is there – everyone can enjoy a nice cup of coffee every morning in the lounge.” – 杨乐(Certificate ‘18)

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Student Profile: Maria Belen Wu

 Name: Maria Belen Wu

Program: HNC Certificate '18/Johns Hopkins SAIS MA

Hometown: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Undergraduate Institution and Major: Johns Hopkins University ’18, International Studies, Economics

Fun Fact: I was born in Argentina, but my parents are actually immigrants from Shanghai. They moved to Argentina several years ago. My mom is a Chinese language teacher in Argentina. 

Tell us about your undergraduate experience. How did you become interested in China Studies?
When I first started college, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to focus on China studies or even do anything related to economics or international studies. I originally applied as a political science major. When I got there, I realized political science was too theoretical for me. I also learned that International Studies is one of the largest majors at Johns Hopkins University, and I thought this could be more relevant to me. I took my first international studies class and I loved it. I also added economics to my course load because I thought it would be a good quantitative skill to have. It turned out to be a really good combination. I have always been interested in China-Latin America relations because it’s very important in Argentina, where I am from. In fact, for the last several years, it has been a very hot topic in politics. I looked into taking a couple of China-focused classes at Johns Hopkins and I really got into the topic.

How did you first learn about the Hopkins-Nanjing Center?
When I was a freshman in college, I actually wasn’t sure what the HNC was. I learned more about the HNC/Johns Hopkins SAIS MA program my sophomore year. I came to learn that the HNC was an educational collaboration between Johns Hopkins University and Nanjing University. After visiting the HNC my sophomore winter, I decided to apply via the Johns Hopkins BA/SAIS MA program – offered to Johns Hopkins undergraduates – knowing fully well by that point that I wanted to focus on China studies.

Who has been your favorite professor here at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center?

Professor Hua Tao is definitely my favorite professor – he is so enthusiastic! Professor Hua Tao completely shattered my image of what Chinese professors are like: that they are typically a little more serious and formal, and usually have a more lecture-style class. Some professors are like that, which is totally fine. Some students enjoy that. Professor Hua Tao, on the other hand, is so passionate and wants to involve all of his students in classroom discussions – it’s really motivating. The topic of the class, ethnic minorities in China, was also super interesting. I had never really learned much about ethnic minorities in China prior to this course.

What are your summer/post-graduation plans?
For the summer, I am working as a summer analyst at JP Morgan Chase in Country Risk Management. This will be my second summer at JP Morgan Chase. I find this type of work to be very intellectually stimulating. It’s a place where I can apply my economics and international studies knowledge as well as my research skills. The New York office (where I will be) particularly deals a lot with Latin America and Western Europe. Working with Latin American countries also implies knowing about China because a lot of projects/investments going on in the region are actually China-funded, so having China knowledge is also very helpful. After my nine-week internship, I will be transitioning to Johns Hopkins SAIS DC, where I will be concentrating in Latin American studies, with a specialization in international finance. I thought it would be interesting to switch my focus to Latin America, since I have the necessary language skills and the China-knowledge background that I developed at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center.

Any advice for prospective students?
As graduate students in China and at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, we learn a lot from our classes. The Hopkins-Nanjing Center in particular offers a lot of unique classes you would not be able to take elsewhere. But another thing that I think is important and even more special is the entire community. I’m really glad I was actually made to live on campus and I’m also glad I didn’t detach myself too much from the Center. Just living in this type of environment is so rewarding. We have Chinese roommates, with whom you can have long talks with at night, and on topics you wouldn’t necessarily cover in class but that are really interesting for actually getting to know the youth of China and their perspectives.  Even though I am Chinese by heritage, my grandparents and parents obviously have a different perspective on certain issues. So, I was really glad I got this experience in China. I really loved the community aspect and that was one thing that pleasantly surprised me. So as for advice, I would tell students to balance spending time at the Center, and really take the time to connect with your Chinese roommate and Chinese students.

Interviewed by Emily Rivera, Certificate '18

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Spring Break Research Trip: Hopkins-Nanjing Center Students Explore China’s Borders

Student blogger Alexandra Hansen (Certificate ’18 ) describes her experience on a course-related field research trip  to Xishuangbanna, Yunnan Province during the spring semester. The trip was part of Professor Christofferson’s course China on the Border: Provincial Relations on the Periphery. It is an example of new teaching initiatives being promoted by the Hopkins-Nanjing Center administration that are jointly funded by generous donations from both American and Chinese supporters of the Hopkins-Nanjing Center.

Over spring break, students in Professor Christofferson’s course China on the Border: Provincial Relations on the Periphery were given the opportunity to conduct field research on Sino-Myanmar and Sino-North Korea relations. This course is popular among students at the Center and is attended by Chinese and international students interested in learning more about China’s provincial foreign relations. This research trip was funded by the Hopkins-Nanjing Center and allowed students to investigate cross-border issues and paradiplomacy on China’s periphery.

This year marked the second time the trip has been offered to students. The field research trips were created as part of an initiative to develop innovative teaching and learning opportunities at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center. Having taken part in the experience, this trip was valuable because it brought Chinese and international students together to explore relevant course topics. In this way, this trip embodies the goals of the Hopkins-Nanjing Center to develop cross-cultural understanding and cultivate knowledge about Sino-global relations.

This year the class was divided into three groups of students. One group traveled to both Jilin and Liaoning provinces in Northeastern China, while the other two groups journeyed to Yunnan Province in Southern China.

Students pose in Dandong, China, in front of the Sino-North Korea Friendship Bridge

Each group focused on issues that affected the areas they were visiting. The group that visited Jilin Province and Liaoning Province researched China-North Korea cross-border trade, Chaoxianzu (China’s ethnic Korean minority group) culture, and tourism along the border.

The two groups that ventured to Yunnan also had different research topics. The group visiting Kunming, Ruili, and Tengchong investigated Myanmar refugees in China, the Belt and Road Initiative, tourism, and cross-border trade. Meanwhile, the remaining group spent time in Jinghong and Daluo, Xishuangbanna Autonomous Prefecture, to study the region’s HIV/AIDS prevention efforts, cross-border security, and Daizu culture and tradition.

The Ruili Field Research Group (Yunnan, China) speaking with cross-border traders

Although I (regrettably) did not enroll in the course at the beginning of the semester, I was invited by the class to join the field-research trip and contribute my own perspectives and skills so that there was equal representation of both Chinese and international students in the groups. I am very appreciative of the opportunity I was given and for my time spent in Xishaungbanna Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan. Through this trip I met incredible people, visited a number of influential organizations, and learned more about the current issues facing Xishuangbanna’s population on the China-Myanmar border.

During the field research trip, our team was fortunate enough to schedule interviews with a number of different departments and NGOs. In Kunming we were part of a discussion panel with Yunnan University’s Myanmar Studies Institute and the School of International Studies. In the city, we also met with representatives from Save the Children, a NGO that works to promote children’s rights in Yunnan and around the world. These sessions contributed to our understanding of cross-border relations, the nature of NGO development in Yunnan, and human rights issues.

After several days in Kunming, our team of four took a plane to Jinghong, Xushuangbanna. Xishuangbanna is famous for its history, rich cultural heritage, tropical climate, and wildlife. Our first stop in Jinghong was the Xishuangbanna Women and Children’s Psychology and Law Center. Here, we learned more about the Dai ethnic community in Xishuangbanna and the nature of the organization’s service to the region. Then we visited the Buddhist organization 佛家之光, which uses Buddhist concepts to provide locals with sex education and education about HIV/AIDS.

While Kunming and Jinghong were beautiful and interesting places, Daluo was my favorite place we visited on the trip. While in Daluo we stayed in Mengla, a small village only a few hundred meters away from Myanmar. We spent most our time in Mengla with a family of highly engaged peer-mentors. The family provided us with a lot of information on cross-border security, drug use issues, and Dai culture along the border. They assisted us in setting up an interview with a CCP leader who discussed border security issues and a Buddhist leader who discussed the history of Buddhism and the importance it has to Dai people. This family was incredibly hospitable and kind, went above and beyond to facilitate our research, and made sure that we felt welcome. I cannot thank them enough, and I hope that I have the opportunity to meet with them again.

At the Buddhist complex in Daluo with religious leader Mahājiao.

Overall, these course-related field-research trips allowed students to apply what they learned in the classroom to actual real-life scenarios. These trips gave students a firsthand account of what relations are like along borders. They gave students a glimpse into the issues that local populations face and insight into the nature of their day-to-day lives. I found my trip to be a fascinating experience and recommend it to all incoming students!

Xishaungbanna Research Group in front of the Daluo Border Crossing

Written by Alexandra Hansen, Certificate '18

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Meet the Hopkins-Nanjing Center’s 2018-2019 U.S.-China Exchange Scholars

The Hopkins-Nanjing Center offers the U.S.-China Exchange Scholarship to alumni of U.S. government-supported programs for Chinese language study. These programs include, but are not limited to, the Critical Language Scholarship, Boren Award for International Study, Chinese Language Flagship Program, and the National Security Language Initiative for Youth. Meet the second group of U.S.-China Exchange Scholars below.

Eric Lacour
Chinese Language Flagship Program, Indiana University Bloomington
Foreign Language Area Studies Scholarship (FLAS)
Master of Arts in International Studies ’20

Eric Lacour began his Chinese studies during his sophomore year at Indiana University Bloomington (IUB). As a double bass student of Professor Lawrence Hurst in the prestigious Jacobs School of Music, Eric initially enrolled in Chinese courses out of pure interest in the language and culture of China. What was at first a fascination quickly became a passion when he was asked to join IUB’s Chinese Flagship Program. After one domestic summer of Chinese immersion study at the Flagship Chinese Institute (FCI) and one summer at Princeton in Beijing with FLAS funding, Eric was accepted to participate in the Flagship capstone year abroad program in Nanjing after completing his music studies.

While studying at the Flagship Nanjing University Center, Eric was able to combine his professional music training with his passion for China through participating in performances and teaching members of the Nanjing University Symphony Orchestra. During the internship phase of the Flagship capstone year abroad, Eric was able to earn a full-time position in the Jiangsu Symphony Orchestra as a double bassist. After one year of performing in cities all over China from Shanghai to Xining, he was promoted to principal double bass and chosen as an inductee into the Jiangsu Central Committee’s 100 Young Talented Artist program. As principal bass, Eric has participated in performances representing Jiangsu province in the greater China area, Europe, and Japan, including symphonic concerts, operas, Chinese folk collaborations, and musicals. As of February 2017, he has also served as visiting associate professor of double bass at the Nanjing University of the Arts.

Having witnessed the interaction of Chinese government policy on the arts and culture production first-hand, Eric will use his time at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center to further understand Chinese politics and explore ways of better developing the arts within the context of the Chinese political system.

Amy Bodner
Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program
Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Program
Master of Arts in International Studies ’20

Amy Bodner first learned of the Hopkins-Nanjing Center when she visited Nanjing as a study abroad student and met a group of students by chance at a restaurant. One conversation about the “China Dream” later, Amy knew the Hopkins-Nanjing Center was an institution that aligned with her career goals. An aspiring Foreign Service Officer, Amy chose the Hopkins-Nanjing Center to study the Chinese perspective on Sino-American relations and to push her Chinese language ability from colloquial to professional. She is grateful to further explore Chinese policy, language, and culture as a U.S.-China Exchange scholar pursuing a Master of Arts in International Studies.  
Amy hails from Reno, Nevada, and studied Chinese and Economics at the University of Puget Sound. Her adventure into Chinese language study began as a college sophomore when she labored over traditional characters in an intensive language program at Tunghai University in Taiwan. She continued on to study Chinese history in the home of the terracotta warriors, Xi’an, China, and later to study finance in China’s economic epicenter, Shanghai. While in Shanghai, Amy interned at the cloud computing company ChinaSoft International, where she struggled to understand corporate vocabulary, but learned that in China it is acceptable to nap on your desk after lunch.

Upon graduation, Amy furthered her Mandarin study by participating in the U.S. State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship in Dalian, China. Here she learned a bit about Chinese opinion on modernization and the secret to cooking flavorful tofu over chats with her host mom. During the following academic year, she taught English at the historic Hwa Nan Women’s College in Fuzhou as University of Puget Sound’s cultural ambassador. Currently, Amy is on a Fulbright grant in Taitung, Taiwan. She teaches English and International Studies at an aboriginal school with just 17 students where she has learned about Taiwan’s traditional aboriginal culture through experiences like singing Amis language folksongs and spear-hunting fish in the Pacific Ocean. Given its legacy, Amy believes the Hopkins-Nanjing Center will give her the educational experience necessary to apply her amalgam of experiences in China and Taiwan towards her future career.

Dominic Villet
Peace Corps
Master of Arts in International Studies ’19

Perspectives matter. Dominic’s time living, studying and working in developing countries taught him the importance of understanding other peoples’ perspectives. Having spent 15 years in developing countries, including Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ghana, and China, Dominic has had much experience working to connect and build relationships with people from cultural backgrounds different from his own. Understanding local and individual perspectives on a range of issues, and being able to communicate on his own in culturally appropriate ways, was necessary to build mutual trust and respect with friends and colleagues from diverse communities abroad. This goal for “building bridges” is what led Dominic to join the Peace Corps and later apply to the Hopkins-Nanjing Center.

As a university English teacher for two years in a region of China fairly different from Shanghai or Beijing, Dominic’s time in the Peace Corps offered the opportunity to connect with members of the community to learn about China from their perspective, and to offer his perspective on his own community in the U.S. Given differences in culture and values, this process was not always easy, though it did bring to light one aspect critical to cultural exchange, namely, language ability. Being able to have conversations in Chinese and read Chinese texts and news media was necessary to more deeply understand local perspectives and build relationships of mutual trust and respect. Dominic applied to the Hopkins-Nanjing Center because of its focus on target-language courses, rigorous academic standards, and a diverse student body and faculty.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Master's Thesis Writing Process

As a student in the Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS) program, Amanda Bogan, provides an overview of the final thesis requirement—from selecting a topic and an advisor to navigating the thesis defense. 

The thesis defense is the final stage of the Master's thesis writing process, in which students present their papers and research findings to a panel of three professors with backgrounds in the same area of concentration (e.g. international economics, energy, resources and the environment, international politics, international and comparative law, or Chinese Studies). During the defense, professors will raise questions ranging from the implications of a thesis’s research findings to how the thesis is concluded, or offer up suggestions for how the thesis can be improved upon. But before students reach this final stage of the MA thesis process, there’s a great deal of research, revision, and discussions with thesis advisors before the final draft of a 15,000 character minimum thesis is ready to be submitted to the defense panel. In this post, I’ll be going through the major steps in the thesis writing process for MAIS students.

Step #1: Selecting a topic and finding an advisor
It is highly recommended that MAIS students spend time during their first semester seriously considering what they want to research for their thesis topic. During the beginning of the second semester, students are expected to choose a topic and a thesis advisor, and will meet with their advisor at least three times to discuss their preliminary research on the topic.

Step #2: Research and field work
Some MAIS students will use the time during their summer or winter holidays to engage in field research, such as conducting interviews or survey work. Even if you are not doing field research, holidays are still a great time to make progress on your thesis research or identify and refine your topic. For example, I’m writing my thesis on geoeconomic competition between China and India, which is a topic I first became interested in over the summer as a research intern at the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. Selecting a thesis topic which is related to a professional or personal interest is a good approach for two reasons: 1. Choosing a topic that you find interesting and meaningful will help with staying motivated throughout the long writing process, and 2. Having extensive research experience in an area where you are interested in pursuing a career helps build relevant skills and background knowledge (and might help in an interview).

Step #3: Proposal writing and presenting your topic
After compiling an ample amount of research, and having identified a particular question that your thesis will attempt to answer, it’s time to start the initial writing stage. Early on in the third semester, MAIS students will first submit a 开题报告 (thesis prospectus) outlining the basic premise and structure of their thesis, and an annotated bibliography of the research sources they have used so far. The prospectus will include the guiding question for research, methodology for approaching the question, and a summary of the existing literature surrounding the topic. After handing in the proposal, detailed feedback is provided on changes that should be made or areas to pursue further. A few weeks after submitting the prospectus, students will present their thesis topics and current research findings to classmates and professors in their target language. These presentations are a great chance to facilitate a discussion with classmates about problems you might be running into, or areas of uncertainty, while also learning about the research other classmates have been conducting.

Step #4: Writing and revision
After the thesis prospectus is approved and you’ve received feedback on your topic, the next step is to start the first draft chapter of your thesis—this will usually take the form of a 导论, or introduction chapter. Students are given a deadline to submit this first chapter, which is typically at the end of the third semester for MAIS candidates. As this is the first piece of writing that will be included as a part of the final thesis, students are given detailed feedback on their first draft chapter. In addition to submitting the draft, I also recommend actively seeking out feedback from your advisor and other professors, particularly if you have specific questions about how you should direct or focus your thesis. Most professors will be happy to arrange a time to discuss your topic, and it can help to get multiple perspectives on your research.

Jorge Cortez Martinez, MAIS ’18, pictured after successfully defending his thesis

Step #5: The defense!
Compared to the rest of the thesis writing process, the defense is a relatively brief final step. Defenses will usually last from 30 minutes to an hour. Students prepare an opening statement to read at the beginning of their defense, thanking those who helped them, explaining their interest in the topic, and outlining important findings. As a student who began in the Certificate program and applied to stay on in the MAIS program, I will be defending my thesis this coming December, so I still have some time to go before I get there. Having the chance to watch several of my classmates successfully defend their thesis this past week has helped me to know what I can expect, while also calming some of my nerves about my own defense. Attending a thesis defense, or just talking with more experienced students about their thesis, can help to get a better idea of how to start your own writing process.

Congratulations to all this year’s MAIS graduates! students who successfully defended!

Written by Amanda Bogan, MAIS ’18