Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

The Hopkins-Nanjing Center Office of International Admissions will be closed on Monday, December 31 and Tuesday, January 1.  We look forward to answering your application questions when the office reopens on Wednesday.  Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tips for a Problem-Free Application

As you finish up (or for some of you, start!) your application to the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, keep these tips and guidelines in mind:

If you haven't already done so, request official transcripts from any institutions at which you've taken undergraduate or graduate-level courses and have them mailed to the Hopkins-Nanjing Center Washington Support Office at 1740 Massachusetts Ave NW Washington, D.C. 20036. We accept both hard copy transcripts and electronic transcripts, but both need to be official documents.

Transcripts listing study abroad grades and/or transfer credits are required unless both the grades and credits are reflected on the primary undergraduate transcript.

Non-English-language transcripts: If your transcript is in a language other than English, you are asked to provide an official translation of the entire transcript and an explanation of the grading system of the university. You are strongly encouraged to use a credential evaluation service, particularly if you are not sure of how to obtain original transcripts or face difficulties obtaining them. Transcripts and translations must be official (unopened by the applicant) and received by the Hopkins-Nanjing Center Washington Support Office before the relevant deadline, so please make any requests well in advance.

Though your resume should be concise, it can exceed one page. The Admissions Committee wants to see not only your previous work experience but also any awards and/or honors you have received, extracurricular activities, relevant coursework, publications, and volunteer work. You should not include information from high school.

Test Scores
For the CAL Chinese proficiency test: The Hopkins-Nanjing Center Washington Support Office needs to have received your completed CAL test from your proctor no later than January 21st. If you have received your CAL test score before you submit your application for admission, you can include this score on your application, but it is not mandatory. The Washington Support Office keeps records of official CAL test scores and we will use the official scores when reading your application.

For the GRE/GMAT: Students applying to the Certificate program do not need to take the GRE or GMAT. MAIS applicants and Five-Semester Option applicants are required to take either the GRE or the GMAT. Use the SAIS code of 5610-0000 when requesting official GRE scores (or the code KGB-GX-99 when requesting GMAT scores). Be sure you send your GRE scores to Johns Hopkins SAIS in Washington, D.C., not Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

English-Language Competence
If English is not your native language, (or in the case of bilingual students, your dominant language is not English) but you hold an undergraduate degree granted by an accredited institution in a country where English is an official language and where English is the language of instruction, than you will not be required to submit an English competency exam.

If English is not your native language, (or in the case of bilingual students, your dominant language is not English) but you hold a graduate degree granted by an accredited institution in a country where English is an official language and where English is the language of instruction, then you will need the approval of the Admissions Committee to be exempt from submitting an English competency exam. Please contact for more information.

The Hopkins-Nanjing Center accepts TOEFL and IELTS. A score of at least 100 on the TOEFL Internet-based exam (600 on the paper based) or 7 on the IELTS is required for admission. If a candidate takes the Cambridge test, a passing grade is required for admission. The TOEFL code is 5610-0000.

Letters of Recommendation

***And lastly, we highly recommend that you submit your application before the deadline so that our office can alert you if you have missing documents. Good luck!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays!

2011 Christmas Banquet at the HNC
The Hopkins-Nanjing Center Office of International Admissions will be closed on Monday, December 24 and Tuesday, December 25.  We will be reopen on Wednesday the 26th so please feel free to email or call us then at 202-663-5806 with any application questions.  Happy holidays!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Meet the HNC Admissions Team!

Have you ever wondered who is processing your CAL tests, reading your applications as part of the admissions committee, and tweeting on behalf of the HNC?  Meet the HNC international admissions team!  We are based in Washington, DC so that we can support you every step of the way on your journey from applicant to student.  You'll hear from us about everything from the application process and financial aid to visas, billing, and pre-departure information.  Even better, we are all graduates of the Hopkins-Nanjing Center certificate program so can speak firsthand to the student and alumni experience.

Katie Brooks, Admissions Officer: 
The HNC International Admissions Team

Now based in Washington, Katie previously spent four years living in China and Singapore.  An alumna of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she is also a 2009 graduate of the Certificate program at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center. After completing the Certificate program, she spent one year working for a US-China academic exchange program before joining the HNC international admissions team in June of 2010.  An active member of the DC alumni community, Katie has also enjoyed connecting with alumni all over the world while hosting alumni events in New York, London, Ho Chi Minh City, and Singapore.

Margaux Fimbres, Admissions Coordinator:
Originally from California, Margaux studied International Studies and Chinese at Middlebury College in Middlebury, VT. After graduation, she attended the Hopkins-Nanjing Center’s Certificate program. “Conducting interviews for a field research project in Anhui province as well as being a member of the Dragonboat team were definite highlights of my Center experience,” she says. Margaux is now based in Washington, DC and loves talking to prospective students about her time at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center.

Lauren Szymanski, Admissions Coordinator:
Lauren graduated from McGill University in 2011, with a major in East Asian Studies, and a minor in Chinese Language. After graduating, she completed an intensive summer language program in Kunming, China before attending the Hopkins-Nanjing Center’s Certificate program in the fall. While at the Center, Lauren enjoyed the sense of community among the students, both Chinese and International, especially after having studied at such a large undergraduate institution. “Living with a Chinese roommate was by far my favorite aspect of living at the Center, and my roommate and I still communicate regularly by e-mail.” Lauren graduated from the HNC in June of 2012, and is now living in Washington, DC.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Online Chat TOMORROW Wednesday December 19 10am-12pm EST

This is a quick reminder about the Online Admissions Chat that will be taking place this Wednesday, December 19th from 10:00AM-12:00 PM (EST).  Chatting with us will be Admissions Coordinators Margaux Fimbres (Certificate ’11) and Lauren Szymanski (Certificate ’12) as well as current Hopkins-Nanjing Center MAIS student Joey Feng.  Join us to hear current students and admissions staff share firsthand experience and valuable advice, and be sure to bring any questions you may have about the application process, academics, or student life.

To participate, click on this link as early as ten minutes prior to the beginning of the chat and login as a guest.

Remember our application deadlines are January 7 (Five-Semester Option) and February 1 (Certificate and MAIS), so be sure to take advantage of this great opportunity to learn about the Center from those who know it best.  Can't make this chat?  We will be holding two more between now and February 1 at different times to accommodate applicants in other time zones.  We hope to be chatting with you soon!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Joy and Remembrance

HNC MAIS student Natalie Sammarco sends an update from Nanjing:

"It can be easy to get caught up in studies when the classes are so rigorous. It can be even more distracting being away from home during the holidays. We often forget to appreciate Nanjing as a city filled with history: a former capital city, and the place where the Nanjing Massacre occurred. 

December 13th marked the 75th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre. The event was horrific and thousands were killed at the hands of the Japanese. That said, China wishes us all to remember the incident by blowing sirens in and around the city for a half hour on December 13th, the day when the Japanese Army originally reached Nanjing. Hearing the sirens is surreal. They are a deafening noise all over the city. Some students in the center chose to commemorate the incident by showing movies, including Flowers of War, in the lounge that night. Seeing these movies made us all appreciate the history of the city in which we study and made us think about why the Sino-Japanese relationship continues to be complicated to this day.

HNC lounge decorated for Christmas 2011
 On a happier note, Christmas is just around the corner and our Secret Santas have all been assigned! It’s very exciting to see the holiday lights in the lounge. The amateur chorus that is organized every year to sing Christmas carols on  December 25th has started practicing and it’s nice to hear holiday music. Each night there is a holiday movie played in the lounge to help keep our spirits up as the weather is cold and sometimes rainy. This week’s movies included Charlie Brown Christmas and Die Hard :-)

We are excited to be in the final stretch of the semester. We have just a few more weeks before the mid-year break. Fellow students have made various types of plans for our 6-week break: travel around China or outside the country, getting internships or returning home to celebrate the holidays with friends and family. Either way, we’re looking forward to having a much needed break!"

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Meet Mr. Mao, HNC's Residential Mascot

Mr. Mao
Continuing with our trend of introducing HNC personalities, we are pleased to present HNC's unofficial mascot, Mr. Mao.  For those who may not speak Chinese, mao means cat.  This year's BanWei (student committee) selects a weekly HNCer of the Week and Mr. Mao easily won the honor during the inaugural week.

Mr. Mao is just one member of the residential community that is the Hopkins-Nanjing Center.  In addition to the classrooms, library, lounge, cafeteria, and auditoriums, the Center is also home to a five-story dorm.  Certificate students all live in double rooms in this on-campus dorm while MAIS students have the option of living in a single or double room.  For students living in double rooms, we make as many Chinese-International roommate pairings as possible and many alumni have reported that living with a Chinese classmate was a highlight of their experience.  Despite the Center's state-of-the-art facilities though, Mr. Mao can usually be found sunbathing in the communal courtyard.

On the Center's residential community, certificate alumnus Stanley Seiden reports: "I loved the atmosphere of cultural exchange the Center provides. With the Center's shared facilities and having a Chinese roommate and the general proximity of students, it's almost difficult not to build close relationships with both international and Chinese students. I received about 5 or 6 invitations to go spend Spring Festival with various Chinese students, and we explored the city and had talks about all sort of issues and topics both in China and the US."

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Fall Recruiting Wrap-Up

Washington University, St. Louis
Middlebury College
Brigham Young University

University of North Carolina
University of Milan
The fall recruiting season has officially concluded and our entire admissions staff is now back in the office and available to answer your application questions.  This fall our DC-based admissions team visited 95 US universities and three each in Canada, the UK, and Italy.  The American Academic Coordinator in Nanjing, Angela Chang, also visited dozens of study abroad programs in Beijing, Shanghai, Harbin, and Hangzhou and also recently returned from a recruiting trip to Korea.  As we've mentioned, about 15% of international students are citizens of countries other than the US, so we were excited to reach out to new countries this year.  We also listened to your suggestions on Twitter when creating the recruiting calendar, so if you would like an admissions representative to visit your school next year, please email or tweet at us!

We enjoyed meeting every single one of you while on the road and look forward to reading your applications in February.  If you haven't started your application yet, it's not too late!  The application deadline for the HNC Certificate and MAIS program is February 1 while the application deadline for the Five-Semester Option is just under a month away on January 7.  For all three programs, the deadline for taking the Chinese proficiency exam is January 21.  Please let us know if you have any questions at all regarding the application process!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Meet Jason Patent, American Co-Director of the HNC

Holiday greetings from the Hopkins–Nanjing Center!

I’m Jason Patent, American Co-Director of the HNC. I have the great privilege of spending my days working in service of this absolutely one-of-a-kind venture.

When people first hear about the HNC, the specific questions they have vary, but the common thread is that they’re always intrigued. This is with good reason.

Now in its 27th year, the HNC is still very much on the cutting edge of graduate education. As a linguist I’ve noticed that even now it’s hard to find simple language to describe what we do here and how we do it. One of the ways language evolves is by creating common understanding in a community of speakers, so that we can use simple labels — chair, apple, door — and understand each other. For a speaker to be understood by a hearer, both must share a common “world,” embodied in language and culture. Much of what makes the HNC hard to describe is the uniqueness of our culture.

HNC Co-Director Jason Patent

The world at large is in many ways a cynical place. A glance at the day’s news usually won’t leave you feeling uplifted. This is true not only of general events, but also of China and its relations with the world.

At the HNC we have internalized much of what the world as a whole is, I believe, striving for: a commitment to working out our problems, driven by respect, by curiosity, and by hard work — not just coursework, but dogged dedication to questioning the solidity of the truths of our own views, and to opening ourselves up to the views of others.

Every day the students, faculty and staff here are challenged by the quirky hybrid that is the HNC. Things aren’t “normal” here. Your classes are in Chinese. Your professors have habits that make no sense to you. So does your roommate. And you’re often caught by surprise, because what you’ve been trained your whole life to expect isn’t a good fit for your environment. The unique challenges of this oddness can be exhausting; that’s by design. The rewards of pushing through the challenges, time after time, are immense and long-lasting: facility in Chinese, a vastly enriched set of tools for solving problems, an ability to arrive at compromise, and many more.

I have never spoken with an alumnus or alumna of the HNC who regrets their decision to come here. They are unanimous in their view that their time at the HNC was extraordinarily challenging. And, to a person, they feel abundantly rewarded for their hard work, and they can’t imagine where else they could have become so enriched.

As for me, I’m off to a senior staff meeting. Our small group of American and Chinese academic administrators will sit down and discuss the week’s business. Who knows what today’s meeting holds? What is there to learn? I can’t know yet. Surprise me!

Monday, December 3, 2012

New Home for the Holidays

HNC MAIS student Natalie Sammarco sends an update from Nanjing following the week-long fall break which coincided with the American Thanksgiving holiday:

HNC students bake holiday cookies in 2011
"The Thanksgiving (Autumn) Break is now over and there seems like a long haul until the end of the semester, which ends in the second week of January. As for Thanksgiving, though, there are a couple different places to go to get a decent holiday meal, albeit, they are in Shanghai and Beijing :-) Our local import grocery store sells turkeys in Nanjing and it’s possible to cook a Thanksgiving dinner, which one of the students in the Center did! The upside is that they also sell legitimate ingredients to make pumpkin pie, without which this season would not be complete!

It’s nice to have a small break to get a change of scenery as the weather gets colder. No matter what, we all feel a bit more refreshed going into the final weeks of the term after having a week to recoup from our academic obligations.

Although it’s pretty hard being away from all the holiday cheer in America in these weeks before the end of the year, it’s nice that there are friends here to help plan holiday get togethers and get in the holiday mood. Activities planned during this time of year include Secret Santa and decorating the lounge. It’s nice to hear Christmas music and it’s a time of year that we truly feel connected to one another since very few of us can be with our families.

Since the work picks up during this time of year, it’s an opportunity to see just how much progress we’ve made. At this point, we’ve been here three months and we’ve managed to stay afloat doing graduate school in Chinese! Sometimes, I can’t believe I’ve been here this long. Only a few more weeks until we’re halfway through the year and we get to enjoy some great travel time for our Spring Festival Break which is 5 weeks long!

Can’t wait!" 

HNC students participate in Secret Santa, Christmas morning 2009