Thursday, March 28, 2013

Frequently Asked Questions from Admitted Students

Thank you to the admitted students who joined our online chat this morning!  It was a great chat and we enjoyed getting to know you.  For those who missed the chat, we will be sending out a transcript of the conversation by early next week so check your emails!  A second online chat for admitted students will be held in mid-April.  Below we have also answered some frequently asked questions from admitted students:

Question: Should I have received information about my financial aid award by now?
Answer: YES.  Admitted students who applied for aid should have received an email from the Office of Financial Aid at Johns Hopkins SAIS on March 5th.  A number of students have reported not receiving this email because it turned up in their SPAM folder.  Please check your spam folder and also your secondary email account if you indicated two email addresses on your application for admission.  If you still have not received this email, please contact the SAIS Office of Financial Aid at 202.663.5706 or  We definitely want students to see their financial information so they can make informed decisions.  Please feel free to contact our office if you have problems and we'd be happy to help in any way we can!

Question: My ISIS account indicated that I am missing documents so I cannot see the federal loans for which I'm eligible.  Where can I find these forms?
Answer: Most students who receive this message are missing the Statement of Non-Filing or the Financial Aid Agreement.  You can find these forms as well as the 2013-2014 GradPlus Loans Request Form at the SAIS Financial Aid website:  If you have any questions about fulfilling these missing requirements, please contact

Question: When do I need to inform your office of my decision to attend the HNC?
Answer: Reply forms are due by April 21.  The $500 matriculation fee can be paid by check made out to The Johns Hopkins University or by submitting the credit card authorization form that was emailed to you with your reply forms.  Please email if you need additional copies of your reply forms or credit card authorization form.  We ask that you submit these forms by April 21 even if you plan to decline your offer of admission.

Question: What is the process for getting a Chinese visa?
Answer: We will email pre-departure forms and an orientation packet in early May to all students who confirm their enrollment by April 21.  This orientation packet will cover the visa process and also includes information on vaccinations, what to pack, how to mail items to the Center, etc.  Once we have received your completed pre-departure forms, Nanjing University will process the documents needed for a student visa.  You will receive these documents in June so that you have time to apply for a student visa before check-in on September 7 and 8.

Question: When will I find out who my roommate is?
Answer: A roommate preference form will be included in your pre-departure forms sent in early May.  This will allow you to indicate your hobbies, sleep habits, and level of cleanliness.  The admissions process for the Chinese students is later in the year than ours so you will meet your roommate upon arrival at the Center.

Question: Can I see the class list for fall 2013?
Answer: Fall classes are still being finalized but email us at for a list of the courses that are being offered this year.  Over the summer enrolling students will be sent a list of the classes that will be offered this fall and will have the opportunity to pre-register.

We hope this helps answer some of your questions but please do not hesitate to contact us at with any additional questions!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Ambassador Gary Locke to Speak at HNC Graduation

We are pleased to announce that the American speaker for the 2013 graduation ceremony at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center will be U.S. ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, Ambassador Gary Locke. 

Our HNC/DC Five-Semester Option students completing their degrees in Washington will have the opportunity to hear CNN’s chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, speak at the SAIS graduation ceremony this May. 

Best of luck to our students at both campuses as they complete their degrees!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Hassenfeld Social Enterprise Fund

Hopkins-Nanjing Center Certificate and Master of Arts students have the opportunity to compete in the creation of innovative, sustainable projects that address a social need in the Nanjing community. Learn more about the competition and this year's winning team from Hugh Sullivan, HNC Assistant Director of Development:

The Hopkins-Nanjing Center (HNC) is pleased to announce this year’s winning team in The Hassenfeld Social Enterprise Fund Competition, Volunteer Nanjing. The team will build a bilingual website to connect organizations, non-profits, and charities with volunteers in Nanjing, a service that they demonstrated is in high demand.

Nanjing Connect presents their web platform at the HNC 25th Anniversary
The Hassenfeld Social Enterprise Fund Competition is an annual competition to identify a project valued for its social impact and innovation, potential to make a lasting contribution to social outcomes, and promise for nurturing a sense of community between Chinese and international members of The Hopkins-Nanjing Center (HNC). It was initiated as part of a $2.2 million gift commitment to The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in 2011 by the Hassenfeld Family Foundation. Every year, students form teams composed of 50% Chinese members and 50% international members. Each team generates and submits a proposal to develop and implement projects with a concrete deliverable that addresses a social need or problem. A special committee then assesses student proposals, focusing particularly on scalability, sustainability, and the degree to which each project leverages its team members’ unique skills as HNC students.

2013 witnessed the competition’s second cycle. Last year’s winning team, Nanjing Connect, has been developing a web platform to offer small and medium enterprises business analysis focused on current business issues related to China. It will present all articles in bilingual format, with both Chinese and English translations, and it is scheduled to launch in the coming few weeks.

The Hassenfeld Family Foundation is focused on reducing the dire need of children the world over, empowering women globally in order to break the cycle of violence, and serving as a catalyst for young social entrepreneurs to improve the world through their involvement. A longtime and steadfast supporter of the HNC, it helps fund the Stephen D. Hassenfeld Fellowship, which provides multiple scholarships to incoming HNC students. 

Please keep an eye out for more news and accomplishments of our Hassenfeld Social Enterprise Fund entrepreneurs!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Day in the Life of a MAIS Student

MAIS student Natalie Sammarco had a busy day yesterday!  Read about her experiences in and out of the classroom on March 12, 2013:

"I’m an early riser, myself. I got into that habit working as a schoolteacher, so that’s how I start my day. I wake up between 7-8am and go downstairs to get coffee from the HNC coffee shop (not exactly Starbucks, but they have fresh coffee from 7:30am-1pm, M-F). This comes in real handy when you’re in a pinch before class. Plus, it’s in the same building as our dorms!

After coffee, I work on finding sources for my thesis and do some reading for my 1pm class. At 10:45am, I meet 8 friends for a lunch at the local Indian restaurant. Yes, 11am is early for lunch but we have invited a Foreign Service Officer (FSO) from the US Consulate in Shanghai to join us. Since he would be speaking at the Center from 12-1pm, it was better to have an earlier lunch.

We talked to the FSO about his job, about his life, about his history in China, and about his time at the Center. As a Center alum, we felt more connected to him and I think he felt more connected to us. I find that Center graduates are all doing great things now, and this FSO was just one of five Center alums working in the Shanghai Consulate now.

After lunch, I walked over and attended the FSO talk on what it means to work for the US government. He went over many topics that he talked about at lunch but offered even more advice for those interested in applying for a government position. As this talk ended, I headed to Economics of Globalization, my only class in English, from 1-2:30pm.

The class after Econ is History and Philosophy of Law in China, for another 1.5 hour class block. In this particular class, we talked about the components of the Chinese characters that make up law and punishment language in China. Through this analysis, it was easy to see the connection between each individual stroke in the characters and the meaning of the entire word. This is always helpful in both language acquisition and cultural understanding.

I get a couple hours of break after this class, because I have a voluntary seminar at night. In the meantime, I go to the small bakery across the street to share a cream puff with two of my classmates (one, Chinese; one, American). From here, I grab dinner-to-go and head back to the Center to read the news and enjoy some relaxation time.

The seminar from 7-8pm is on Personal Finance. This is conducted by one of our professors here, who has graciously given up (another) segment of his time to hold this repeat session on how to invest one’s money and save for retirement. I missed the first session because it was held last weekend and I was in Shanghai, visiting friends. Ten of us listened to his talk, which, for someone who doesn’t claim economics as a great strength (me), was very clear. This professor stayed after to answer all of our questions and we had a great conversation.

At this point, the day has been quite full and I find myself pretty tired. I called my bank to sort out some things (since business hours are from 9pm-4am China time, nighttime is the only time to call), and go down to the lounge to hang out. Friends and I talk for a bit, then I head downstairs to play 15 minutes of piano in the music room.

At 10:45pm I return to my room to sleep. Although not everyone has this schedule, or keeps the same hours I do, I find that everyone has work to do at some point every day. It’s a routine we’ve all become accustomed to, and I’m just thankful that I have the opportunity to not only hear such great speakers, but also share a meal with them in a more-casual way. Also, I’m thankful that a professor is so dedicated to us that, when we asked for a repeat session, he was able to offer it on a weeknight when he could have been doing anything else. through these experiences, I think that HNC is, indeed, a special place to be."

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Step Inside the HNC

Congratulations again to those admitted to the Hopkins-Nanjing Center!  As you consider whether to accept your offer of admission, you may be wondering what it would be like to live and study at the Center.  Check out the CCTV video below featuring the HNC.  In 15 minutes you will have the opportunity to learn more about the history of the Center, see the facilities and surrounding area, and hear from Chinese and international students, faculty, and co-directors. 

If you are unable to see the video above, you can find it at the following site:

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

HNC Admissions Office Closed Today

Due to the coming snowstorm, the Hopkins-Nanjing Center International Admissions Office and the SAIS DC campus will be closed today.  If you have questions regarding your admissions decision from yesterday, the best way to reach us today is by emailing an individual admissions representative.  We will return any calls when the office reopens.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Admissions Decision Day!

Admissions decisions were sent by email to all applicants today.  Congratulations to those who were admitted!  We look forward to welcoming the newest class to the HNC.  Admitted student events will be held in Nanjing and Washington DC in the coming weeks and we will host online chats for those in other parts of the world to help you make your decision by the April 21st reply deadline.  More information on these activities as well as an electronic admit packet will be emailed to admitted students soon.  As always, please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns regarding your admissions decision.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Back to the Center!

HNC MAIS student Natalie Sammarco reports back after the first week of spring classes:

"The time is upon us! 100+ of my closest friends in academic pursuit and I have just chosen classes for the Spring term! The break for Chinese New Year was wonderful, but I found myself very glad to be back at HNC this past week. After a good rest and recharge, everyone is energetic and looking forward to the new term.

Coming back to the Center after already having one term behind me is surreal. Since many of us here are submersed in books and work -- the daily life of a graduate student -- it’s not often one gets the time nor space to reflect on what exactly has been done here. Since I had already completed the Certificate program before enrolling in the MAIS, I have had the unique experience of watching my fellow classmates evolve from what seemed like tentative, recent undergraduates to firm and unwavering graduate students. At the beginning of this year, so many people were uneasy about taking classes in Chinese, living in Nanjing, throwing themselves into hardcore, upper level, academic Chinese. Now, everything that seemed like an issue is not even mentioned in conversation.

There is no conversation about how one doesn’t know how to do a presentation in Chinese. There is no conversation about how one doesn’t know if he or she will be able to write papers in the target language. With one semester behind us, it’s apparent to everyone that we are here and will continue to do what is needed to further ourselves and our studies. At this point, it’s a given.

One of my professors noted that he hopes this semester will be a bit more relaxed for us and told us how, last autumn, he could see in the students’ faces how nervous we were to step up to the plate. He said we are old pros now, and then we jumped right into a discussion... something that would have never happened last term. It was nice to see everyone so happy to put forth a word or opinion. At this point, there is no judgment on language ability here. There aren’t cliques that make others feel uncomfortable about anything. At this point, it’s about having a discussion with someone whom you respect as a peer. That’s what I feel this first week of classes at HNC.

This term will be tough, just like the last one. I have requirements for my thesis above and beyond my usual classwork. That will be a challenge, for sure. Yet, I am confident in my ability to complete everything well and up to my standards, since I have a great support network at home and, to my surprise, here in China as well."