Studying Mandarin Chinese in Shanghai

By Kat Elliott

Adam Anderson ’18 receives Boren award

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Pacific student Adam Anderson ‘18 has been awarded a prestigious Boren scholarship to study Mandarin Chinese. Anderson is a double major in International Relations and the Chinese language, with a minor in economics. His interest in Mandarin Chinese stemmed from the fact that it is becoming an increasingly critical international language. The award will fund a full year of study abroad in Shanghai, China.

The Boren Awards give American undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to study languages that are not commonly taught while in regions of the world that are underrepresented in study abroad programs. These regions include Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. As a part of the National Security Education Program, Boren scholarships focus on traditional American concerns and protecting American well-being, as well as challenges to global society, such as sustainable development, environmental issues, disease, migration, and economic competitiveness. Boren Scholars and Fellows represent a group of highly motivated individuals interested in working in federal national security and, in exchange for scholarship funding, they commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation.

As a Castro Valley, California native, studying at East China Normal University in Shanghai will be a huge change for Anderson. His study abroad program will last from September 4, 2016 until June 10, 2017. While his studies will focus primarily on the Mandarin language, Anderson hopes to pick up the Shanghai dialect, which has significant differences.

The Pacific experience has been particularly beneficial for Anderson’s success in securing the Boren award. Courses from both the School of International Studies and the Political Science Department were instrumental to his greater understanding of global issues and national security, a skill required by all Boren recipients. These courses included Professor Susan Sample’s Introduction to International Relations, a course that built a solid conceptual foundation for analyzing international politics; Professor Daniel O’Neill’s Politics of China, a class that helped examined domestic and international factors influencing China’s political trends; and Professor Brian Klunk’s US Foreign Policy, which analyzed various “Grand Strategy” approaches to national security and awareness of developing trends in global politics. But Anderson’s greatest supporter was Professor Susan Weiner. “I would like to thank Professor Susan Weiner for her assistance in the application process; without her patience and dedication, this would not have been possible,” Anderson said.

After graduation, Anderson intends to continue working in the national security field. He hopes that he will be able to work in the Department of State, though he’s keeping an open mind for any other opportunities. He says that, although employment in a national security field after graduation is required of all Boren recipients, he would have continued to work in the field. Continuing in this field would provide the opportunity to utilize his current skills and develop a specialization to further cultivate in graduate school and his future career. “The Boren will provide various benefits toward long-term career development, such as competitive edge and experience with critical languages and the national security field. On a more personal note, the Boren scholarship serves as a confirmation to myself that I am on the right path,” Anderson said. “This is a signal that applying myself through hard work and dedication will open many doors.”

Studying abroad is a great opportunity, and Anderson urges students to pursue it. “There is a certain distinction given to those who prove themselves able to function in a cross-cultural setting, an advantage in not only business and government, but in any field.”

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