Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year from the Hopkins-Nanjing Center!

The Hopkins-Nanjing Center Office of International Admissions wishes our applicants and students a very happy new year!

A few reminders for applicants:
  • Our office is closed on December 31 and January 1, but we'll be holding virtual office hours on January 2 from 9:30-11:30am and 2:30-4:30pm EST.  Click here on January 2 to have your questions answered in real-time.
  • We'll also be holding an online chat on January 5 from 8pm-9pm EST for another opportunity to ask questions and to hear answers to questions asked by your fellow applicants.
  • The application deadline for the HNC Certificate/SAIS MA is January 7!  Certificate and MAIS applicants have a few more weeks until February 1 to complete their applications.
Best wishes for 2015!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Tips for a Problem-Free Application to the HNC

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.

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. 

Although your resume can exceed one page, we ask that it not be longer than two pages. 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
You must request and take the STAMP Chinese Proficiency test before the application deadline of the program to which you are applying. If you have received your STAMP 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 STAMP 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 HNC Certificate/SAIS MA 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.

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
For tips on letters of recommendation, check out our previous blog post: Letters of Recommendation: Do's and Don'ts.

For advice on writing an effective admissions essay, click here to view a previous post.

***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!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Holidays at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center

Happy holidays from the Hopkins-Nanjing Center's Office of International Admissions!  While our admissions office is still closed today (see our holiday hours here), we just had to post these great pictures of recent festivities in Nanjing shared with us by HNC student Nanfei Yan:

Christmas Eve Banquet featuring HNC carolers
Santa visited the HNC to hand out Secret Santa gifts
Happy holidays!

Monday, December 22, 2014

HNC Admissions Holiday Schedule

With the HNC application deadlines approaching, the holidays are a perfect time to work on your application!  If you have questions during this time, we recommend that you consult the schedule below for the best way to reach us:  
  • December 22: Open for office visits, phone calls, and email
  • December 23:  Admissions representatives available by email at, but the office will be closed to visitors
  • December 24-26: CLOSED 
  • December 29-30: Admissions representatives available by email at, but the office will be closed to visitors 
  • December 31-January 1: CLOSED 
  • January 2: Receive real-time answers from admissions staff during virtual office hours from 9:30-11:30am and 2:30-4:30pm EST.
  • January 5: Resume regular office hours and an online chat at 8pm EST
  • January 7: HNC Certificate/SAIS MA application deadline
  • February 1: HNC Certificate and HNC MAIS deadlines

Happy holidays!

Nanjing in the snow

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Migrant School Learning Initiative in Nanjing

The Hopkins-Nanjing Center offers students the opportunity to join a number of interest groups and activities, but one of the most rewarding may be the Migrant School School Learning Initiative.  Read on for current student Nanfei's experiences teaching English to local migrant children:

Hi All,

There’s a variety of international teaching programs that offer employment to students in the form of English teaching. These are particularly popular in Asia (Japan’s JET, Korea’s EPIK, just to name a few). While many of my friends (including HNC students, prior to their enrollment) have enjoyed such experiences, I’d like to talk about a different kind of English teaching going on in Nanjing.

There’s a volunteer program at the HNC called the Migrant Student Learning Initiative (MSLI). It was started a few years back by the HNC’s Professor Armstrong-Taylor and current American Academic Coordinator Angela Chang (MAIS ’12). They wanted to create a volunteer opportunity with both immediate as well as long-term direct impact on the community.

This year, five pairs of Chinese-International student teachers were recruited to go to a local migrant children school every weekend. These kids come from migrant or rural backgrounds, and are not privileged to the same opportunities as urban children who attend the city’s public schools. At the school, they are assigned to one of three majors: electrician, chef, and service staff. Their school collaborates with top hotels in Nanjing with the goal of providing training for these kids to be able to be employed after graduation. Since these hotels host many international travelers, understanding of the English language and Western culture forms an important aspect of the job. 

This year's MSLI teachers on Halloween
The lesson plans are standard, covering greetings, grammar, vocabulary, etc. In addition, we hold events for major holidays such as Halloween and Christmas. For example, our Halloween celebration included bobbing for apples, mummy wrapping race, and dancing to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’. Recently, we also had a lesson covering the seasons and American gestures. While I was teaching anecdotal gestures such as the ‘awkward turtle’ (lovingly translated to 尴尬乌龟) hand motion (Please see if you are unaware :)), another class nearby had the ‘In Summer’ video from ‘Frozen’ playing. 
Nanfei's class bobbing for apples
As students ourselves, we try our best to make the process interactive and fun. As the school is not heated, winter classes are the equivalent of teaching inside a refrigerator. Even so, my students scribble down notes and raise their hands to answer my questions. Personally speaking, I have learned much more from them than I am able to teach each Saturday. During the breaks, they show me carvings they’ve made out of turnips, play me popular Chinese songs from an MP3 player, and explain the difference uses for bay leaf. Recently, I asked them what they’d like to be in 10 years. One 15 year old boy responded, “I’d like to be the head chef in my kitchen!” He then asked me in return “Teacher Nanfei, how old are you this year?” Amused classmates nearby scolded him, “How can you ask that? Teacher Nanfei taught us that asking for a lady’s age was rude!” When I answered that I was 24, he smiled and said, “See? We might be like her in 10 years.” 
A turnip rose made by one of Nanfei's students
A student's dream of what they'd like to be in the future
Where did you imagine yourself now, 10 years ago? Where would you like to be in 10 years?


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Funding Your Graduate Study at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center

Some of the most common questions we receive from applicants are about financial aid.  Below we've outlined some of the ways students are able to fund their graduate study at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center:

HNC Fellowships:
The Hopkins-Nanjing Center has historically awarded financial aid to 100% of admitted students who submit the financial aid application by the deadline.  This year we are excited to announce several new fellowship opportunities for students applying to attend the HNC in fall 2015, including guaranteed $10,000 Future Leader Fellowship for all students admitted to the MAIS program and the full-tuition Dean’s Fellowship.

To qualify for any HNC fellowships, including the Future Leader Fellowship or Dean’s Fellowship, applicants must submit the HNC Financial Aid Application by February 1. This short two-page form can be found in the downloadable forms section of the online application. Those wishing to be considered for the Dean’s Fellowship must also submit a supplemental essay.  For more information on these fellowships, including the Dean's Fellowship essay prompt, click here

Outside Fellowships:
There are many outside organizations that can provide funding for your studies. We encourage you to look for additional funding. You should, however, begin applying for these fellowships as soon as possible because many organizations require that you apply months in advance of attending graduate school.  Some fellowships that are targeted specifically to students in graduate IR programs include: 

Please note that these fellowships usually require that the recipient be enrolled in a master's degree program, in which case the HNC Certificate program may not be eligible.  However, in some cases, students have successfully received funding for the Certificate program as part of the HNC Certificate/SAIS MA because the recipient is ultimately receiving a master's degree.  These fellowship organizations may also have two-year time limits for funding, so if pursuing the HNC Certificate/SAIS MA you will want to carefully plan  your curriculum.  You should confirm the eligibility of the program to which you are applying with the fellowship organization directly.  

Our admissions office is happy to submit a letter of affiliation confirming your HNC application in support of your fellowship application.  Please email to request a letter.

Federal Loans:
Federal direct loans are available to U.S. citizens who demonstrate need as calculated by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  Loans are handled through the Department of Education Direct Lending program in which loan money is dispersed directly to the university without banks or guaranteeing agencies.  The HNC uses the SAIS Title IV FAFSA code, which is E00474Please keep in mind that you can submit the FAFSA before completing your taxes and update it later as you have more information available.

Veteran’s Benefits:
Students who would like to use Veteran's Benefits should contact John Bates in the SAIS registrar's office, even if they have used them in the past. For more detailed information, please contact the SAIS Registrar's Office. 

Chinese Government Scholarships:
Please note that you are not able to use Chinese Government Scholarships to cover the cost of tuition, housing, or insurance because these are paid directly to Johns Hopkins University, an American institution.  However, we have had students successfully apply for a monthly living stipend through Chinese Government Scholarships in the past.  Note: security clearances often ask if you have previously accepted money from a foreign government, so you should think carefully before accepting foreign funding if you are considering a future career with the government.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Check Your Spam Folder

It has recently come to our attention that some email communications from our office about STAMP Chinese Proficiency Test instructions and score results have been filtered into applicant spam folders, particularly among those with Gmail accounts.  If you recently requested the STAMP or completed the test and have not heard from our office, please first check your spam folder.  If you have any questions, please contact  To ensure that you receive all of our emails, we recommend that you add us to your email contact list.  Sorry for any inconvenience!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Lecture at HNC by Frank Rose, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Space and Defense Policy

Hopkins-Nanjing Center students do not have classes scheduled on Wednesday afternoons to give them the opportunity to attend regular guest lectures that occur at that time.  Read on for current HNC student Thomas Holt's account of this week's lecture by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Space and Defense Policy, Frank Rose:

On Monday December 8th, the Hopkins-Nanjing Center was privileged to host a lecture by Frank Rose, the US Department of State’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Space and Defense Policy. Mr. Rose is currently in China for talks with Chinese counterparts, and stopped by the Center to give a talk on US-China strategic stability.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Frank Rose
By strategic stability, Mr. Rose meant how the US and China can work together to prevent nuclear proliferation, control ballistic missile proliferation, and protect the environment of outer space. Mr. Rose started off by explaining the US’s current nuclear policy, emphasizing that President Obama has stated that the ultimate goal of the US is a “nuclear free world”.

After that, Mr. Rose laid out the strategic stability between the US and China. Mr. Rose emphasized his belief that the US-China relationship is not like that of the US and the USSR, stating that the US-China relationship is “competitive, but not adversarial”. However, he said that there are several challenges to the US-China relationship in this area.

First, it is the US’s belief that China has not been as transparent as the US in regards to its nuclear policy and development. Second, the US has had trouble convincing the Chinese side on the importance of preventing nuclear proliferation by North Korea. Finally, the US has objected to the testing of anti-satellite missiles by China, stating that these tests have resulted in dangerous amounts of space debris. Mr. Rose talked about how the US and the USSR jointly agreed to not test anti-satellite missiles during the Cold War in order to preserve the environment of outer space, and make it safe for space travel.

Afterwards, Mr. Rose took questions from students on a variety of issues such as US weapon sales to Taiwan, the South China Sea dispute, and other challenges in US-China relations, creating a lively discussion. Towards the end of his lecture, Mr. Rose told a few stories about his experiences with Secretary of State John Kerry, before closing by stating that it is his belief that although the US and China come from different backgrounds, the US and China can cooperate. And if we can come together, we can stabilize the world.

All in all, I would say that this was one of the best lectures from this semester thus far. I feel incredibly lucky that the Center usually holds at least one lecture per week. And I can’t wait to see who’s speaking next week!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Fall Break in Shanghai

There are several breaks during the academic year that allow HNC students the opportunity to travel throughout China and the region.  Current student Nanfei Yan took advantage of Nanjing's close proximity to Shanghai to spend a week there over fall break.  Read on for the highlights of her trip:

Hello All,

Two weeks ago was Fall Break at the HNC. A quick survey of destinations included Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, Cambodia, Japan, Sichuan, Huangshan, Beijing, and Guangdong. Breaks at the HNC present a fantastic dilemma for students: explore China or go abroad? With so many countries nearby, it can be a difficult decision. I spent the week in Shanghai, a decision which all of my friends considered utterly boring. I’ll talk about what I did, and you guys can be the judge!

Shanghai is less than 90 minutes away by gaotie, the high-speed train. As one of the most developed cities in China, it’s a popular destination for tourists internationally and nationally. This makes it a prime location for food. Shanghai joins my list of top-tier gourmet cities such as Manhattan, Tokyo, and Paris. Below are a few of the highlights:

1. Table No. 1: Gordon Ramsay’s protégé Jason Atherton does ‘world-influenced modern European cuisine’ in a quaint, newly renovated area downstream from the bund area. Go for lunch and reserve a window table that overlooks the courtyard. 

Pork shoulder at Table No. 1
Dessert at Table No. 1
 2. 富春小龙: Possibly the best xiaolongbao in mainland China. This popular shop is constantly crowded, so ordering and getting a seat is reminiscent of Black Friday shopping. The menu is extensive, but I recommend the蟹粉小笼 (crab xiaolongbao). 
Inside the busy Fuxiang Xiaolong
Fuxiang's Xiaolongbao
 3. 福1088: Traditional Shanghainese cuisine situated in a private villa. The 红烧肉 (red braised pork) is chopstick-tender and literally wine-colored. Desserts such as green tea tiramisu and taro mango sorbet offer Chinese twists to European staples. 
Red Braised Pork at Fu 1088
Mango Taro Sorbet at Fu 1088
 While I could go on and on about food, that wouldn’t do the rest of Shanghai justice. It was a week of blue skies and mild weather. Autumn brings warm colors, which Shanghai curiously juxtaposes against Christmas decorations (with no tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving, Asian cities tend to start Christmas extra early). I went to several parks, the largest being Century Park in Pudong. Opened in 2000, this park was Shanghai’s answer to Manhattan’s Central Park. Though on a smaller scale, it’s still the most serene and landscaped area in Shanghai. It may also be the only place you could see autumn leaves falling on sand, with skyscrapers on the horizon. 
Jingan Sculpture Park
Century Park
One of my favorite places in Shanghai is M50, a creative zone housing the studios of Shanghai’s preeminent artists. It’s entirely free, with hundreds of art galleries open to the public. It’s a unique location that demonstrates an unregulated venue for free speech in China. The artists can often be found in the back of their gallery, working on their latest painting. Compared to the commercialized 798 Art Zone in Beijing, Shanghai’s low-key M50 feels much more authentic.

Courtyard at M50

Multimedia piece at M50
I went to 14 different restaurants over the course of the week, as well as checking out the Yu Garden, the Bund, Xintiandi, and a wushu movie near Jingan Temple. While I didn’t scale mountains or challenge another country, I had a delicious (albeit turkey-less) Fall Break. 

Blue skies at Yu Garden
View of the Bund from Pudong


Friday, December 5, 2014

The HNC Certificate/SAIS MA Experience: Interning in DC

The HNC Certificate/SAIS MA program allows students the opportunity to spend time in both China and Washington, D.C.  Read on to learn how current HNC Certificate/SAIS MA student Tyler Makepeace has taken advantage of SAIS's location in Washington to find a fall internship.  Interested in the HNC Certificate/SAIS MA?  The application deadline is about one month away so apply now!

Tyler Makepeace
After my year at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, I arrived in Washington, D.C. for my first semester at SAIS’s D.C. campus, I did not intend on applying for a fall internship. However, my class schedule worked out such that I did not have class on Monday and Friday, and after the first few weeks of school, I realized that I had enough free time to be engaged in my coursework and to intern with an organization.  

I began my internship search using SAISworks, the Career Services online database for jobs, internships, and online courses offered throughout the year (also available to HNC students). One internship that I was particularly interested in was with the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), one of the four core institutes of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). CIPE is a non-profit organization that seeks to strengthen democracy through private enterprise and market-oriented reforms, and works with organizations all around the world in areas such as legal and regulatory reform, anti-corruption practices, enhancing democratic governance, promoting entrepreneurship education, and empowering women in business. After interviewing with the Knowledge Management team, I was offered an internship, and soon after accepted the position.

During my internship with CIPE, I worked with the Knowledge Management team on a variety of projects. I researched entrepreneurship pedagogy in American business schools and combined that research with projects that CIPE has undertaken in a variety of countries in order to create a blueprint for a new entrepreneurship education program to be set up in Bahrain. After finishing that project, I began to work on a new publication called Transitions 101, which is meant to help practitioners incorporate economic reforms within democratic transitions by studying a variety of case studies and formulating best practices. When not working on those projects, I also worked with several of the regional programs at CIPE, including the Asia program. Additionally, I was encouraged to write blog posts for the CIPE Development Blog, which not only allowed me to hone my writing skills, but also gave me an opportunity to get published with a reputable source.

My internship experience with CIPE also gave me the opportunity to connect with more SAIS alumni. During the course of my internship, I was able to meet two SAIS alumni who worked in the organization, and from their conversations not only learned a lot more about the work environment at CIPE and also about careers in international development.

I had a great experience with my fall internship at CIPE, and would encourage those who feel they have enough time to apply for internships while in D.C., although I would not recommend waiting as long as I did to apply!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Join This Week's HNC Online Admissions Chat!

With application deadlines approaching, we encourage you to join the next online admissions chat taking place this Thursday, December 4 from 8-9pm EST (Friday, December 5 from 9-10am in China).  Chatting with us will be admissions representatives, alumni, and a current student.  Join us to hear their firsthand experience and valuable advice, and be sure to ask any questions you may have about the application, 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. 

Upcoming Application Deadlines
January 7: HNC Certificate/SAIS MA application deadline
February 1: HNC Certificate and HNC MAIS application deadlines

Remember that the STAMP Chinese proficiency test must be taken prior to the application deadline of the program to which you are applying!  Be sure to also register for the GRE soon if you are applying to the HNC Certificate/SAIS MA or the HNC MAIS programs. (Note that the GRE is not required for the HNC Certificate program).

We look forward to chatting with you soon!