Friday, January 30, 2015

HNC Application Deadline this Weekend!

This is a reminder that the application deadline for the HNC Certificate and HNC MAIS programs is this Sunday, February 1. Please ensure that all application materials are submitted by 11:59pm EST on that date.  Click here to access your application.  

If you have any questions as you put the finishing touches on your application, please contact  We have also provided some helpful resources below:

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Moot Court at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center

Current HNC Certificate/SAIS MA student Nanfei Yan reports on moot court, one of the many extracurricular activities available to students at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center. 

Hi All,

It’s winter break for the HNC, and many students are well into their escapades consisting of travel, internships, or just well-deserved rest. Back in the States myself, I’d like to introduce you all to a surprisingly popular extracurricular activity at the HNC: moot court.

According to Wikipedia, moot court is a law school activity “in which participants take part
IHL Moot Court Competition
in simulated court proceedings, which usually involves drafting briefs (or memorials) and participating in oral argument.” While not a law school, the HNC is consistently one of the few non-law school participants. This year, HNC students participated in the International Criminal Law Moot (ICC), the Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Moot (IHL), the Jessup International Law Moot, and the Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot.

Each moot focuses on a different aspect of law. As a center for international studies, HNC students have predominately participated in international law moot courts. At the beginning of the year, interested students interview for the various competitions, and teams consisting of both Chinese and international students are formed.

Moot court starts with a fictitious scenario. Teams are expected to analyze the legal issues
IHL Moot Court Team
presented from both applicant and defendant points of views. Analysis is done through research into treaties, commentaries, court cases, scholarly works, etc. The research is then organized into written memorials, which present a set of pleadings for both sides. Following the submission of the written memorials, students must then prepare for their oral presentation in front of a panel of judges. While the memorials test research and writing ability, the oral rounds require composure, acumen, and verbal eloquence.

Law aside, mooting is an activity that strengthens skills such as public speaking, academic writing, and teamwork. While the HNC may not be a law school, the mooters are just as dedicated in terms of understanding all the relevant legal discourse needed to succeed. The HNC is very proud of our IHL team, the team of oralists Gu Yinying and Brandon Yeh, assistant couch Zhang Wei, and researcher Li Yalin were awarded the First Prize at the Chinese Qualifying rounds.

Prior to IHL, Brandon had no idea what moot court even was, but “after about three to four

Jessup Moot Court Team researching
months of endlessly breathing international humanitarian law”, he came to understand and appreciate the importance of the ‘laws of wars’ and the customary international law used to protect civilians during times of armed conflict. Yinying chose IHL due to her interest in humanitarian law following a volunteer experience at refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border. When asked about her experience, she noted that there “was a lot of work and stress in terms of preparation, especially when [she] first joined the team”, but the mooting experience itself “was challenging, intense, yet much more fun”.

Moot court presents the both the challenge and the opportunity of law, language, and culture. As I am preparing for China’s Jessup qualifying rounds next week, I highly recommend mooting to HNC students. As the pictures may suggest, it can be fun!



Monday, January 26, 2015

Last HNC Online Admissions Chat Before the Deadline!

Be sure to join the last online admissions chat taking place before the application deadline!  Join us on Tuesday, January 27th from 9-10am EST (10-11pm in China) to hear 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.  We look forward to chatting with you!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Get an Inside Look at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center!

Check out the short 3-minute video below to hear from current students about their experiences at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center and get an inside look at the state-of-the art facilities available to our students in Nanjing:

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Things to Keep in Mind as the Application Deadline Approaches

On this blog we've provided tips on topics from writing effective essays to applying for financial aid and choosing the best recommenders.  Today we have a few application tips that didn't fall neatly within one of those previous posts:

Confirming Transcripts and Test Scores
Due to the volume of supporting documents arriving in our office prior to the February 1 deadline, we are unable to confirm receipt of individual transcripts, GRE scores, and recommendation letters. We will be in touch with you if something is missing from your application, and we are always available to answer other questions about the application or program.

Calls from Parents
Families are great! Especially families that are supportive of your graduate school plans.

That said, when parents become too involved in your application, it makes us question whether you are ready to pursue graduate study in a foreign country. There are always exceptions for emergencies, but when you have questions about our programs or the application, we want to speak with YOU, not your parents.  Many parents call because their child is overseas.  If you are currently studying abroad, we are more than happy to answer your questions by email or to arrange a Skype conversation with you. Your parents can also think of this as practice for FERPA when we are legally unable to release student record information.

Email Addresses

While your email address will never affect the admissions decision made by the Admissions Committee, you may still want to look into creating a new account if your email account dates back to high school. Future employers may not be as generous as our admissions committee if your email address contains your embarrassing high school nickname or is a shout-out to your love for frogs. You can never go wrong with an email address that includes your name. Just a general life tip!

Hit that Submit Button!
One of the last steps in the application process is to pay the $85 application fee, but once that's done you can't rest yet!  Be sure you hit the final submit button AFTER paying the fee, otherwise you risk your application not being reviewed by the admissions committee.  Past applicants have missed this last step, so it's definitely something you'll want to pay attention to.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Joint Venture

JAC 2013 in Nanjing
The Hopkins-Nanjing Center is unique among the SAIS locations in that it is a joint venture between Johns Hopkins University SAIS and Nanjing University.  As such, our student body is composed of Chinese and international students who are bilingual in both English and Chinese.  While the admissions offices are separate (citizens of the PRC, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao should apply through Nanjing University rather than through our DC-based office), the two universities work closely together regarding all other aspects of the program.  In light of this, a delegation from Nanjing will be in DC next week for the 2015 meeting of the Joint Academic Committee (JAC).  Faculty and administrators from Johns Hopkins University SAIS, Nanjing University, and the Hopkins-Nanjing Center itself form the JAC and meet each year to discuss curriculum changes, hiring faculty, and other issues that affect students at the HNC.  

Don’t worry though, we'll still have admissions staff members available to answer your application questions!  The deadline to take the STAMP Chinese Proficiency Test is February 1 for HNC Certificate and HNC MAIS applicants, so request your STAMP test today!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Nanjing Food Stalls

Several of us here in the DC-based admissions office are alumni of the Hopkins-Nanjing Center and one of the things we miss most about life in Nanjing is the food!  Today current student Nanfei Yan shares some of the delicious and inexpensive food you can expect to find near the HNC:

Hello All,

In the US, there are food trucks. In China, there are food stalls. While an undescriptive name, they cover all the culinary establishments lining the streets not big enough to qualify as restaurants. Food stalls sell cheap (less than 10 RMB/1.6 USD), made-to-order, and on-the-go 小吃 (casual, local eats).

So what would a day around the HNC taste like?

8:30 AM: 小混沌 (mini wontons)

A middle-aged man sets up shop from early morning and wraps up before 10. He sells 4 and 6 RMB bowls of wonton that he makes on the spot. The 油条 (crullers), which regulars dip into their soup, sell out by 8:30. He’s known to spoon hearty pieces of tender pork to the bowls of lucky customers. 

Wonton shopkeeper making wontons
 11:30 AM: 杂粮饼 (multigrain bing)
饼can mean many things (biscuit, crepe, pastry, etc.) This specific application is sort of like a burrito wrap. The corn-based dough is flattened over a grill. For 5 RMB, the lady on Hankou Road will crack an egg on top, then sprinkle potatoes, lettuce, scallions, and fried sheets, before rolling it up. Strike a conversation! She gets generous with the filling. 

Making the multigrain wrap
2:30 PM: Roasted Chestnuts
Nanjing claims this as a local specialty (debatable). In any case, the stall on Hankou Road sells out every evening. Piping hot, easy-to-peel, positively addicting.

5:30 PM: 热干面 (hot dry noodles)
Technically a Wuhan specialty, there’s a stall at the western entrance to Nanjing University. The noodles are cooked and coated in oil to dry, before being parched in boiling water and ladled out to be seasoned. The flavor profile is dominated by sesame paste and accented with pickled vegetables, garlic, red chili oil, and scallions. The shopkeeper once reprimanded me for wearing sandals in the cold. 

Noodle stall
6:00 PM: 梅花糕 (Plum Blossom Cake)
Never say no to conveniently placed dessert - right next to the 热干面 shop is this 梅花糕 shop. A Nanjing specialty, sweet rice cake is filled with dried fruits and grilled to crispy edges. It doesn’t end there! The cake is actually covering a cone of filling (choose from purple yam, red bean, or fruit jam).

9:00 PM: 烧烤 (barbeque skewers)

Once the sun sets, the skewer stalls appear! I suspect a direct correlation between price and meat authenticity. 1 RMB for 1 lamb skewer? Probably not lamb. 3 RMB for 1 lamb skewer? Probably lamb. When in doubt, go for skewers of eggplant, mushrooms, or quail eggs. They are not given nearly enough credit. HNC students are known to pay visits well past midnight. 

The motivation to this post was actually my “Social Issues in China’s Modernization” class, where the professor recommended us to chat with shopkeepers in order to understand China at a deeper level. Some shopkeepers are recent immigrants to the city; others have been here for years; and all of them have stories to tell. I hope this post inspires you to check out your local food stalls. In addition to good food, you might learn something about someone else’s life and the city you both live in.



Wednesday, January 7, 2015

HNC Students at the APEC Youth Conference in Beijing

HNC Certificate/SAIS MA student Dennis Hong was one of two HNC students selected to represent their countries in November's APEC Youth Week in Beijing, China.  Representing the Republic of Korea, Dennis shares his experiences below.  Are you applying for the HNC Certificate/SAIS MA program?  Don't forget that the application deadline is today, January 7!

On the occasion of China's hosting of the 2014 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting, I had the honor of participating in its 7-day Youth Week Program as a youth representative of the Republic of Korea. Sponsored by All-China Youth Federation, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Education, and Commerce of China, the 2014 APEC Youth Program Organizing Committee has gathered young leaders from all 21 APEC economies to the Chinese capital for the first time. As an international student studying at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center in China, being selected to represent my own country at this international forum was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The program has not only provided me with a meaningful venue to meet and forge relationships with some of the greatest young minds from the region, but more importantly, it has left an indelible mark on my personal values and worldviews.

The 2014 APEC Youth Week kicked off at Tsinghua University in Beijing on November 4, 2014 with an opening ceremony and a series of dialogues with CEOs from Asia-Pacific, where APEC officials, entrepreneurs, and business leaders delivered keynote addresses on business strategies and new drivers of economic growth in the region. It was particularly exciting for me to hear directly from these experienced business stakeholders and young successful start-ups who have been at the forefront of innovation and entrepreneurship. As a student of international relations and economics, I was also able to reflect on my potential career paths and immense possibilities associated with business opportunities in China. I dream of working in one of the fastest growing Chinese cities in the future, be it Beijing, Shanghai or Hong Kong, to help connect South Korean people and firms with local Chinese to launch a new business and ultimately working for the South Korean government to strengthen its bilateral relations with China. Insights and wisdom from these business leaders made it clear that my future will be inextricably linked with Asia.
Another major highlight of the 2014 APEC Youth Week was the Youth Summit, where I had a chance to discuss two very important topics of this year's APEC - Internet Economy and People-to-People Connectivity - with 70 other youth representatives from the 21 APEC economies. Simulating the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, this policy discussion session provided me with an opportunity to study some of the most critical global issues, learn to analyze them from multiple perspectives, and contribute my voice to the policy-making process of APEC. I also had an honor of leading a discussion on cross-border education as a key initiative of strengthening people-to-people ties in Asia-Pacific, which was later drafted as part of the 2014 Youth Declaration submitted to APEC Senior Officials. Interacting and debating these issues with the outstanding young minds from other parts of the region have helped me to picture myself as an aspiring South Korean young diplomat working to advance the country's interests around the world.
Furthermore, a field trip to Microsoft China Center in Beijing and a forum with Mr. Bob Hawke, the former Prime Minister of Australia have added much value and insights into my understanding on entrepreneurship and business in China, supplementing my interests in the Asia-Pacific affairs. The state-of-the-art Microsoft R&D Center boasted some of the most cutting-edge technology in China, and it was very exciting to experience how the technical training and support the center provides have benefited many star-ups in the region through its Microsoft Ventures Accelerator program. Besides, hearing directly from Mr. Bob Hawke, also known as "the founding father of APEC", on the current status of APEC and its future provided me with an opportunity to reflect on some of the major progresses that have been made in APEC over the past few years. As he has pointed out, this multinational economic forum is poised to make a further progress in the years to come with increasing activities and exchanges among the youth, and I was honored to be part of the process in China as this year marked the 25th anniversary of APEC.
Perhaps the best part about participating in the 2014 APEC Youth Week was an invitation to the APEC CEO Summit, the premier business event in the Asia-Pacific region where business leaders engage in discussions with APEC Economic Leaders, policy makers, academics and other CEOs on issues facing the region. During this two-day summit, I was not only able to learn more about such key themes as economic reforms, global finance and inequality, innovation, and public-private sector partnerships, but also had a chance to hear directly from the heads of state, including Presidents Xi Jinping of China, Barack Obama of the United States, and Vladimir Putin of Russia. Seeing these world leaders in person on stage was a big honor of my lifetime. Many of these leaders pointed out during their respective remarks that public-private sector dialogue and cooperation are essential to resolving some of the most complex global issues today. As an individual with interests in both public and private sectors, alternative perspectives delivered by these leaders gave me a good sense of the inner workings of both worlds as a new comers into the society.

In retrospect, the 2014 APEC Youth Week was an invaluable educational experience as it provided me with an opportunity to network with 70 outstanding youth delegates from the 21 APEC economies and understand various aspects of a multilateral diplomacy. Recognized as one of the six "Best Youth Delegates" during the program's closing ceremony, I have learned to identify my strengths and skills necessary to succeed in the world of international affairs. As I dream of becoming a South Korean Ambassador to the People's Republic of China in my lifetime, being able to experience APEC in the year of China's hosting of the forum had a special meaning for me. Asia-Pacific is the region of the world where I see my future lies. From my own observation, it has become my country's indispensable future stage in both economic and political terms, and the importance that it holds in South Korea's future outlook is indeed enormous. Based on my experiences from the 2014 APEC Youth Week, I look forward to continuing my studies in China to equip me with a competitive edge in the increasingly dynamic world of Sino-global relations.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Last Online Chat Before the HNC Certificate/SAIS MA Application Deadline!

We encourage you to join our online admissions chat taking place TODAY, January 5th from 8-9pm EST (Tuesday, January 6th 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. 

Don't forget the application deadline for the HNC Certificate/SAIS MA is on January 7!  HNC Certificate and HNC MAIS applicants have until February 1.  We will be holding one more online chat before then on January 27. We look forward to chatting with you!