Friday, January 29, 2016

HNC Application Deadline

The HNC Application, Monday, February 1, is right around the corner!  Make sure you submit your online application by 11:59pm EST on that date.

Digital or hard copy official transcripts are a required portion of your application. The quickest way to have official transcripts arrive in our office is to have your undergraduate university send an electronic copy to However, if you have a copy of your transcripts on hand, you can email a PDF of them to us to complete your application. Please note that if you are admitted, we will then require that an official transcript be sent directly from your undergraduate institution.  

Test Scores
STAMP Chinese Proficiency Test
If you take the STAMP test right before the deadline and have not yet received your results, you can leave this section blank and still submit your application before February 1. We keep an official record of your STAMP score on file.

It can take 2-3 weeks for official GRE/GMAT scores to arrive to our office. If you have recently taken the GRE, it is likely we will not receive your scores until after the deadline. In this case, we recommend that you include the unofficial scores which you received upon completion of the test on the HNC application.

As long as you have requested your test scores and indicated your scores on your application, you can submit your online application.

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.

What’s next?
Over the next couple of weeks, the HNC Admissions team will be reviewing your applications. If you are missing application requirements, an Admissions Representative will contact you. Please be patient! We are not able to answer individual confirmations for test scores, transcripts or letters of recommendation.

In Mid-March, you will receive your admissions decision and financial aid award.

Good luck and we look forward to reading your applications!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Taiwan Elections Study Trip

Over winter break, SAIS students joined Professor David Brown and Professor Carla Freeman of the China Studies Department on a week long trip to learn more about the recent Taiwan elections. Twelve students, many of which who completed Professor Brown's Cross-Strait Relations course this past semester, joined the trip to Taipei, Tainan and Beijing. HNC Certificate/SAIS MA student, Han May Chan, shares highlights from the trip.

Day 1 - 1.12.2016 - Visit to New Power Party Headquarters, Taipei ROC
We visited the headquarters of New Power Party (NPP).  NPP's founding members consisted of leaders who headed the Sunflower Movement, mass student protest in Taiwan in 2014.  Most of their slogans and missions emphasized on appealing to younger generations about many social issues in Taiwan.  New Power Party is a fairly new political party operating on the grassroots level and their headquarters is a simple compound.

Visiting the NPP Headquarters

Lunch at National Chengchi University, Taipei ROC
Before calling on Dr. Chia-Hong Chai, Director of the Elections Study Center, we had lunch in the cafeteria of National Chengchi University.  Later, we visited the Elections Study Center to learn more about the trends of Taiwan people's public opinion about the future of Taiwan, social and economic issues of Taiwan, and the changes in support for different political parties in Taiwan's elections.

Lunch at National Chengchi University

Dinner at Din Tai Fung, Taipei ROC
At the end of the first day of the study trip, we enjoyed a fabulous dinner at a famous chain restaurant called Din Tai Fung, which originated in Taiwan and specializes in xiaolongbao, or soup dumplings.

Dinner at Din Tai Fung

Day 3 - 1.14.2016 - Visit to Tainan City ROC
On the third day of the study trip, we visited National Cheng Kung University in Tainan City, the oldest city in Southern Taiwan.  We exchanged questions and opinions with a few students and professors from the Graduate Institute of Political Economy.  It was truly a rewarding experience and improved our understanding of the political climate in Southern Taiwan.

Visiting National Cheng Kung University

Lunch with Mr. Shih-Chung Liu, Deputy Secretary General of Tainan City Government, Tainan ROC
We had a delicious meal and fruitful discussion with Mr. Shih-Chung Liu, Deputy Secretary General of Tainan City Government.  It was interesting to have a taste of Southern Taiwanese cuisine.

Lunch with Mr. Shih-Chung Liu in Tainan

Day 4 - 1.15.2016 - Prospect Foundation, Taipei ROC
We visited the Prospect Foundation, which is an independent and neutral national security think tank in Taiwan.  We had an open-and-fruitful discussion about difficult topics including the future of cross-straits relations, Taiwan's economic and social issues, the younger generation of Taiwan, and Taiwan's national security concerns.

Visiting Prospect Foundation

Day 7 - 1.18.2016 - Chinese Institute of Contemporary International Relations, Beijing PRC
After arriving in Beijing, we had an opportunity to visit the Chinese Institute of Contemporary International Relations, which is a government-affiliated national security think tank in mainland China.  We learned more about the PRC's opinion towards Tsai winning the Taiwan election and KMT's defeat.  We also exchanged views on how the PRC can best attract or appeal to the younger generation in Taiwan.

Visiting the Chinese Institute of Contemporary International Relations in Beijing

Overall, the Taiwan Elections Study Trip was an exciting, rewarding, informative, and productive study trip.  All participants gained a better understanding of Taiwan's electoral process and democratic system as well as cross-Straits relations from different perspectives of students, academia, think tanks, and political parties from both the ROC and the PRC.

Written by Han May Chan, HNC Certificate/SAIS MA Student

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Environmental Imperative: HNC Energy, Resources and Enviroment Concentration

Recognizing the importance of US-China cooperation on environmental issues, the Hopkins-Nanjing Center added a specialization in Energy, Resources, and Environment (ERE) in 2014 and offers students an array of courses and activities each semester. Chinese language ERE courses are taught by faculty from Nanjing University’s School of the Environment--a top environmental management program in China-- and include classes on China’s Development and the Environment, Water Resources, Environmental Risk Assessment and Management, and Environmental Economics. Professor Roger Raufer, who has worked on pollution control and energy issues in China for 26 years, has been a resident faculty member at the HNC since 2014. Raufer offers courses in English on Air Pollution and its Control, Economic Instruments for Pollution Control, Challenges in the Global Environment, and Global Energy Fundamentals. The HNC also takes students to visit local environmental projects---recent visits include a state-of-the-art coal-fired power plant to examine air pollution control devices; a major urban wastewater treatment facility; and a lake undergoing reclamation activities--and invites experts to visit. In 2015 the HNC hosted environmental speakers and researchers from the US and Germany, as well as from other Chinese cities.

Professor Bi, Professor Bleviss and Professor Raufer

Earlier this month, ERE leaders from NJU, SAIS and HNC met in Nanjing to discuss expanding and strengthening the ERE program. Professor Bi Jun, Dean of the School of the Environment at NJU, stressed that he hopes to increase links between NJU and HNC, and to facilitate HNC student involvement in international environmental training programs and a speaker series offered at NJU’s campus. Professor Deborah Bleviss, who directs SAIS’s ERE program in DC, is working to create opportunities for students from the SAIS Nanjing, DC, and Bologna campuses to take part in common ERE activities and projects, and is supporting development of ERE courses accessible to students in all three locations.   

ERE students visit Guodian power plant in 2015

As Professor Raufer notes, the time is right for training students in environmental policy leadership at HNC.  The December 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change demonstrated that China and the United States, the world’s two largest greenhouse gas emitters, are actively cooperating and ready to play leading roles in reaching global climate goals. It also signaled a new era in which nations are willing to set aside differences that blocked progress in the past, and will work together to achieve the world’s common climate objectives. He feels that the US and China hold the key to environmental progress in many areas, and he cites carbon trading as an area offering both countries a unique opportunity to work together in the future.  Raufer is excited about the prospects for expanding courses and activities in the popular ERE program at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Interning at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center

As the Career Counselor at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center (HNC), I have the opportunity to speak with employers about their hiring needs and practices. A consistent sentiment expressed is that the competition for entry-level positions across all fields is greater than ever. There was a time when foreign nationals who spoke Chinese but had no prior work experience were competitive for many positions. Those days are gone. Today, entry-level employees interested in working in China must couple strong Chinese language skills with relevant experience and desirable skills. Considering this landscape, students are faced with an inevitable challenge: how do you acquire experience in a field if every position seems to require that you’ve had prior experience?

Perhaps the most practical solution is to do an internship. Before considering whether to intern the first thing you must do is assess whether an opportunity is, in fact, an internship or whether it is simply titled as such to make it attractive to students. Internships are not simply part-time or volunteer work. Instead, internships are “a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with the practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent.”[i]

As this definition illustrates, internships are inherently symbiotic. For the intern, it gives you experience and the opportunity to develop relationships with people who may prove to be mentors, references, and future colleagues. For the internship provider, it provides access to young talent that can be an asset in the workplace and who may transition from intern to a full-time hire.

At the HNC, many students build experience by interning in China. With China’s increasing importance on a global stage, foreign nationals in China are offered many interesting opportunities to gain experience through internships. This intercession period we have students interning in Management Consulting, Energy, Economic Research, Political Risk Consulting, Education, Tourism, and Government, to name a few. While their experiences will undoubtedly be unique, each will have the chance to learn about an aspect of China’s dynamic development. Additionally, each will have the chance to try a career path without committing to it full-time. I have worked with many students who thought they wanted to pursue a career in a field only to learn while interning that the profession ultimately wasn’t suitable. This allows you to reassess your career path and ultimately puts you closer to finding a career that fits following graduation.

If you ultimately decide that interning in China is something you’re interested in doing, please note that there is a series of steps you’ll need to complete in order to legally intern. Students studying in China are legally prohibited from interning unless they have received permission from the local Public Security Bureau. This permission comes in the form of an addendum in the remarks section on your residence permit. To obtain this permission, there are several steps involved including you receiving an offer letter from an employer, a copy of their valid business license, and a letter of support from the HNC. While it may sound complicated, it’s actually relatively easy and I frequently work with HNC students on this process. If you decide to come to the HNC and you want to inquire further about this process, I‘ll be available to walk you through the steps. Regardless of your career decision, I would encourage you to supplement your classroom education with experience as an intern to help prepare you for your career.

 Written by Robbie Shields, HNC Career Counselor     

[i]Position Statement: U.S. Internships; A Definition and Criteria to Assess Opportunities and Determine the Implications for Compensation, National Association of Colleges and Employers (July 2011)

Monday, January 11, 2016

HNC Application Tips

With the application deadline less than one month away, the HNC Washington Office has been receiving many questions about the application process. Below we have some tips for preparing your application and navigating the application process. 

Join Admissions Representatives on January 27th from 10:00-11:00am EST for a virtual information session with more application advice. To join the chat, click on this link at the scheduled time. This is a good opportunity to ask any last minute questions before the February 1st application deadline. If you have questions in the meantime, email to speak with an admissions representative. We are always happy to speak with you over the phone or arrange a time to Skype.

Chinese Language Proficiency (STAMP )Test
  • The STAMP test is an online, multiple-choice test that takes about two hours to complete. The only required portions of the test are the reading and listening sections. You will see writing and speaking sections on the test website, but you can disregard these sections. This past blog post includes frequently asked questions and tips for preparing for the test.
  • Before taking the test, you will need to find a proctor who will administer your STAMP test and complete the STAMP request form. Anyone in a professional capacity (not a friend or a family member) can serve as a test proctor. Applicants have asked anyone from professors to librarians to work colleagues. 
  • STAMP test requests take at least one business day for processing. Keep in mind if you submit your request form on a Friday, your form will not be processed until the following Monday.
  • The deadline for taking the STAMP test is February 1st. If you have completed your HNC application, but have not yet received your test scores, you can still submit your application. The HNC Admissions Office keeps an official record of your scores. 
Requesting Test Scores and Transcripts
  • When requesting official test scores for GRE/GMAT (not required for Certificate applicants) or TOEFL/IELTS, be sure to have scores sent to the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC. There are many institutions affiliated with Johns Hopkins, so make sure you send your scores to the correct institution. The Johns Hopkins SAIS code for the GRE and TOEFL is 5610-0000 (KGB -GX-99 for GMAT).
  • It can take 2-3 weeks for official GRE/GMAT scores to arrive. If your official scores won’t arrive at our office by February 1st, be sure to include unofficial scores in your application.
  • Transcripts can be mailed to the Hopkins-Nanjing Center Washington Office or electronic transcripts can be sent to  
Tips for Writing your Personal Statement
  • Applicants to all of the HNC programs are required to submit a personal statement on the prompt: Discuss one event, whether historical or personal, that influenced your decision to study China. How do you expect Sino-global relations to impact your future, and how do you believe your time at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center will assist you in achieving your long-term career objectives?
  • Be memorable. Your personal statement is an opportunity to tell the Admissions Committee more about your personal interests in the program and your career objectives. Don’t waste this opportunity by rehashing your resume. In the past, we have had students write about lessons from playing ping pong with a Chinese classmate. Another student wrote about her experience at a Chinese rural hospital. We encourage you to get creative.
  • Be specific. Remember that reviewers reading your application do have a background in China studies; therefore you don’t need to spend time on background information regarding a particular topic. You can use this opportunity to go into detail about your area of study.
  • Avoid clichés.  A common cliché we hear from students is that they hope to become a “bridge” between China and the U.S. While this is a worthy goal, we hear this vague phrase so often that it’s lost its significance. If you want to use this analogy, tell us what type of bridge you want to be and why this bridge is needed. 
Additional Tips for MAIS Applicants
  • If you are applying to the MAIS program, you will need to write an additional essay on your proposed thesis topic. You are in no way held to this topic and can change it once you are at the HNC. The Admissions Committee wants to see that you are considering a research field for your thesis. Use this opportunity to go into depth on a particular research area. 
Additional Tips for HNC Certificate/SAIS MA Applicants
  • If you are applying to the HNC Certificate/SAIS MA program, you only need to submit one application. Make sure you are selecting your program as “HNC Certificate/SAIS MA.” If you select “MA,” your application will only be reviewed by SAIS DC Admissions, and you won’t be considered for admission to the Hopkins-Nanjing Center.
  • HNC Certificate/SAIS MA applicants submit three essays: HNC personal statement, SAIS DC personal statement and an analytical essay. Keep in mind that reviewers from both admissions committees have access to all application materials, so be sure to write separate personal statements for each committee.   
Applying for Financial Aid and Fellowships
  • The HNC awards fellowships to 100% of all applicants who submit a financial aid application by the February 1st deadline. Additionally, MAIS applicants who apply for financial aid by the deadline will receive a guaranteed $10,000 fellowship per each year of study.
  • Applying for financial aid is a simple process. There is no additional essay required. Submit the two-page Hopkins-Nanjing Center Financial Aid Application to   All applicants only need to submit the HNC Financial Aid Application, including HNC Certificate/SAIS MA applicants. You do not need to submit the SAIS DC Financial Aid Application.
  • Federal funding in the form of loans and work study can cover up to the full cost of attendance, including the cost of living. To apply, submit a FAFSA at by February 1st. After you submit your FAFSA, you can login to make changes after filing taxes.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

American Football in Nanjing: Nanjing Emperor Kings

Outside of all student groups and activities at the HNC, students also get involved in the Nanjing community. This year HNC students have been able to share American culture through football. James Fitzgerald, Second-year MAIS student and the coach for a local American football team, Nanjing Emperor Kings, is pleased to report the first win for the team.

After a year of local development, the Nanjing Emperor Kings, the first fully padded American Football team of Nanjing, won their first game in club history against the Fudan University Dragoons. Seven students from the Hopkins Nanjing Center participated in the event as players, referees, and the head coach of the Nanjing team. The event included cheerleaders, food and drink for sale and a news team covering the game on and off the field. The Emperor Kings have games arranged for the fall and spring hoping to raise their level of play to eventually join the national circuit and compete against teams from all over China.


Written by James Fitzgerald, Masters Candidate HNC '16 , Coach Nanjing Emperor Kings

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Academics Q&A: Common Questions

Hey everyone!

This week I wanted to go over a few questions regarding academia at HNC. I am a first year student in the MAIS program at HNC. Here are some questions commonly asked:

Study room at the HNC
Does the Hopkins-Nanjing Center take a multi-disciplinary approach to academics?
Overall yes, but some of the economic courses may take a more quantitative approach as their topic suggests. Most of the courses I am taking this semester are focused on Chinese studies and politics. There are classes available to you within five areas of study: Chinese studies, International Law, International Economics, International Politics and ERE (Energy, Resources and Environment). I will be taking courses from the other sections in the following semesters (MAIS students are required to take at least one course from each section) so I can tell you guys more about my experience with those classes then!

How challenging are the Chinese-language courses?

This really depends on your Chinese level. I would say they are very manageable as long as you are willing to put in the work. People at the HNC all have varying levels of Chinese and the professors are aware of this. Honestly, the first two or three months will be pretty tough. Eventually though you will get used to reading and using Chinese in your classes. Do remember that HNC courses are content classes, not language classes. Professors will not correct your grammar or speech, but instead will be looking for depth of understanding in your ideas and work. Therefore, it is important to practice Chinese with your Chinese classmates and friends at the HNC. They will help you progress in your language abilities. There is also a student-run writing center here to help you with editing papers for class.

Do you like your courses?
Yes, I do like my courses. Sometimes teaching styles between Chinese and international professors can be different. I don’t have any purely lecture-based classes here regardless of the professor’s nationality. Discussion and asking questions is encouraged. If there is no time in class, I have found professors to be very open to you coming to their office to talk about ideas. I would like to emphasize that self-drive is important. Professors here are open to speaking and guiding you through your work and studies, but this will require some self-initiative to start the conversation.

What support do you get with academic advising?

For academic advising, our academic program rock star, John Urban, is always around to speak with you if you have questions regarding course choices. At the beginning of each semester the HNC has a ‘course shopping week’ where you can sit in on various professors’ classes to see which courses appeal to you. During this week you are able to look at the different course loads and requirements of each class. If you need help deciding or want to change courses, John is there to help!

Why did you choose the MAIS program over the HNC Certificate or the HNC Certificate/SAIS MA programs?
I chose the MAIS program over both the HNC Certificate and the HNC Certificate/SAIS MA for a few reasons. First of all, I wanted a master’s degree. The MAIS program requires two years (four semesters) of study in Nanjing. Second year MAIS students write their theses in their target language (English if you are a Chinese citizen, Chinese if you are an international student). There are also a larger number of required classes you must take in your target language. With the MAIS program you earn a jointly accredited Master’s Degree from Nanjing University and Johns Hopkins SAIS. I chose the MAIS program because I wanted to be able to produce advanced work in Chinese, which I believed would make me ultimately more competitive in the job market coming out of school. It was also a good opportunity for me to explore and gain personal experience through travel and living abroad.

What does the thesis advising process look like, and what support do you get?
In addition to various other course requirements depending on your track of study, all MAIS students, both Chinese and international, are required to take a First Year Interdisciplinary Seminar course and a Second Year Thesis Advisory course. I am currently in the First Year course, which as the name suggests focuses on interdisciplinary study. This course is taught by Professor Adam Webb (you can check out some of his work here). This is actually one of my favorite courses because it pushes you to expand your scope of thought and makes you think about how you think. Once you can dissect your processes of thought, it’s easier to see connections or relations between different fields of study. Professor Webb encourages creativity and supports students in pushing the bounds of study. He is one of the main pillars of support in the academic process for master’s students.

During your first fall semester, it is encouraged that you choose classes and produce course work that can later feed into your thesis. It is not necessary, but smart students will be using their course work and experience to construct their thesis directions throughout the first semester. By the Spring semester of your first year, you will have to choose a thesis advisor (international students choose a Chinese professor as their advisor) and begin to narrow down the scope of the topic that you want to pursue in further study. Second year of the fall semester you will have to determine your thesis topic and prepare to write, defend, and complete your thesis in your target language. I am still in my first year, but I am seeing the second year students going through the process I will eventually go through. There is definitely support and resources for students. It is really important that you take self-initiative in seeking out guidance and help. I think people have problems most of the time if they don’t take the time to prepare or pursue study on their own. If you put in the work, professors are more than willing to help guide you.

These were some of my views and observations about academics at HNC. If you have any more questions feel free to reach out to me at!
Thanks all,

Written by Chelsea Toczauer, MAIS Student