Wednesday, April 6, 2016

HNC Alumni Profile: Jonathan Papish

Jonathan Papish, HNC Certificate 2013, reflects back on his time at the HNC and his experience working as an analyst for the China Film Insider.

Tell us about your current role.

I am currently an analyst for a new venture called China Film Insider. I work with a team of journalists and writers in New York City, LA, and Beijing to cover the people and companies making films that help to bridge the gaps in understanding between China, the United States, and the rest of the world. My current role includes following trends in the booming Chinese film industry, and I formulate reports for industry insiders, studio execs, and other firms interested in doing business between China and Hollywood.

How do you think your experience at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center prepared you for this work?
Taking classes in Chinese studies, politics, and economics solely in English from a Western perspective surrounded by only American students limits your understanding of this vast country so the experience of studying in the source language with a Chinese professor and local peers is an invaluable experience that all HNC students can build their careers on. For me, since I need to follow mainstream Chinese social trends, the conversations I had with my Chinese peers about local film, tv, and web culture had a huge influence on where I am now.

What was your most memorable moment when you were at the HNC?
Christmas at HNC. As one of the few Jews at HNC my year, I felt it my duty to introduce my culture to the Chinese masses. I’ll never forget molding dreidels out of clay with students from the Migrant School or singing “I’m a Lonely Jew” from South Park at HNC’s Christmas celebration. I also joined the HNC choir; needless to say it was the first time I’ve ever sang “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and it was a life-affirming experience.

What advice would you give someone contemplating attending the Hopkins-Nanjing Center?
I won’t downplay focusing on your academics, but make sure you seek extra-curricular activities outside of class. You’ll be swamped with so much Chinese reading at first, but remember your time at HNC is limited so get out of the library and your dorm room and explore Nanjing. Unfortunately, I don’t think I did that enough while there.