Friday, July 15, 2022

MAIS Student Profiles: Cheng Rui and Song Zhuoran reflect on the HNC experience

Elizabeth Gonzales (Certificate '22) interviewed a few Hopkins-Nanjing Center Chinese students, who share the inside scoop about their experience studying at the HNC. 
 Cheng Rui (Ryan), MAIS '23:

Tell me about your experience at the HNC.

I graduated from the Business School of Nanjing University, which is less than 50 meters away from the HNC campus, [and I majored] in International Economics and Trade. If my undergraduate study allowed me to establish a framework for understanding and explaining the world with economic models and data, then the less than a year's study at the Center has allowed me to realize more of my own potential .
我和来自各个国家各个不同学术背景的朋友们在电影课上探讨被收编“ 的当代青年亚文化,在能源技术与政策的课堂上讨论藻基生物燃料与人类能源的未来,在社会学课堂上探讨究竟该如何用布尔迪厄的文化资本论来解释当下中国社会的阶级流动……这些看似偏离了国际关系这一话题本身的讨论,却恰恰塑造了我们HNC学生的开放、多元以及独立思考的能力,让我在面临现实问题时,能够不受理论与成见的束缚,更自由地思考,用更具创造力的方法解决。

My classmates, who come from different countries and academic backgrounds, and I have discussed contemporary youth subcultures that have been "incorporated" into film, talked about the future of algae-based biofuels and human energy in my class on Energy, Technology, and Policy, and analyzed how to use Bourdieu's cultural capitalism to explain the current class mobility in Chinese society in my Sociology class. These discussions, which seem to deviate from the topic of international relations itself, have precisely shaped the HNC students' openness, diversity, and independent thinking skills.  When I face practical problems, I can think more freely and solve them in more creative ways without being bound by theories and prejudices.


Besides the courses, other activities at the HNC have also enriched me. I often participate in various lectures hosted by the HNC on Friday evenings. The topics of the lectures are all-inclusive: from China's technical route to achieving carbon neutrality, to Mongolia's diplomatic strategy,  to workshops on planning a career in international organizations.

In addition to the regular online social gatherings for professors and students, I also communicate with many students on the Internet from time to time about my recent study and life, and my views on recent films, music, and even social phenomena.
Song Zhuoran, MAIS '22: 

Why did you choose to study at the HNC?

My undergraduate degree was in financial engineering, but I have always been interested in international relations. The Hopkins-Nanjing Center has allowed me to quickly learn a lot of new knowledge across many fields that interest me, including international politics and law. I attended the summer school of American University during my undergraduate study and was also interested in American history, culture, and American teaching methods. Finally, I want to improve my English, and I think English teaching is one of the best ways (at the HNC, Chinese students must take English-taught courses by American professors).
Although classes are currently all virtual, how do you still interact with classmates? 



The teacher asks everyone to turn on their camera, which effectively improves class participation. In fact, everyone appears on the same screen so that teachers and classmates can pay more attention to their own learning status. “Where is the background behind you?” is also something students like to talk about in the class chat box. The interaction between students mainly comes from language partners, creating chat rooms, or revising each other’s essays for grammar.