Monday, August 24, 2015

Job Openings: Sigur Center Staff Assistant (Part-Time, Federal Work Study Award Required)

Position Description:

The Staff Assistant position is located in the Sigur Center for Asian Studies at the Elliott School of International Affairs. This position is primarily responsible for staffing the center's front desk which encompasses answering the main phone line, greeting visitors, and processing mail. Other administrative duties and special projects as assigned, such as creating spreadsheets and reports, data entry, editing, etc. as well as supporting Sigur Center events. The Staff Assistant also plays a central role in managing the Sigur Center's social enterprise -- our blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr accounts. This is a great opportunity for someone interested in Asian Studies and International Affairs to work closely with Asian Studies faculty, staff, and students as well as visiting scholars from Asia.

Approximate Hours Per Week: 10

Hourly Wage: $10.50/hour


* Interest in/knowledge of International Affairs and Asia
* Some knowledge of an Asian foreign language
* Experience living, working, or studying in Asia
* Strong customer service and interpersonal skills
* Administrative experience
* Must possess a Federal Work Study Award for the 2015-2016 academic year

Application Procedures:

* Apply via GWork to position number 824677 ASAP
* Include the amount of your FWS award in your cover letter
* Specify the dates/times you are available to work in your cover letter
* Email with any questions.

Summer wrap up

Hi everyone!

This is my last blog post as I am headed back to the US tomorrow. This has been a great experience and I am very thankful to the Sigur Center for the language fellowship!


Betsy Janus, M. A. Asian Studies 2016

Sigur Center 2015 Chinese Language Fellow

National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan

Update #4: 我的期末演講(My end of semester speech)

Greetings all. Below is my final update about my time in Taipei. Thank you once again to the Sigur Center for their gracious support.


Max Grossman, B.A. International Affairs and Geography 2017, 

Sigur Center 2015 Chinese Language Fellow, 

National Taiwan University, Taiwan.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Fourth Blog Posting From Cambodia

Hi Everyone,

This is my fourth blog posting from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I thought in this last blog posting I would talk a little about how the Khmer language courses I have been taking relate to the archival work in Cambodia that I will be doing for my dissertation research. The National Archives of Cambodia (NAC) is located near the United States Embassy and Wat Phnom in Phnom Penh (“phnom” mean hill or mountain in Khmer). The Archives does not have any air-conditioning and there is only one computer (a computer from the early 1990s) available to look-up documents from a few of the collections. There is archival material from the French colonial period, Norodom Sihanouk’s government in the 1950s and 1960s, documents from the 1979 Pol Pot-Ieng Sary Trial, and several personal collections that have been donated to the Archives.

Khmer has 33 consonants, 24 dependent vowels, and 12 independent vowels, so learning to read Khmer does take some practice. As I talked about in my last blog post, there are many Khmer words that are taken directly from Pali and Sanskrit, so there are many times when you will come across words that fall outside of the normal rules.

I focus mainly on Cambodia’s post-colonial history, interactions between different ethnic and political groups within Cambodia, and Cambodia’s foreign policy during the Cold War. The Sihanouk government printed this pamphlet in the early 1950s to help explain the benefits of contemporary agricultural practices to rural populations. Cambodian economists also provide advice in the pamphlet regarding how to increase crop yields and help Cambodia build a viable base of exportable goods.

Although Cambodia often took technical and economic assistance from the United States, the Soviet Union, and the People’s Republic of China, there were also many Cambodian economists and politicians with their own ideas of how best to transform or “modernize” Cambodia. Pamphlets and other documents from the 1950s and 1960s, written primarily in Khmer, help to illustrate how the post-colonial Cambodian government was attempting to solidify a strong and independent state. These documents are also very useful in understanding core-periphery relations within Cambodia, as the urban populations and rural populations often had very different ideas and goals for Cambodia’s future.

I think that's all for this blog posting. Thanks for tuning in!

Ron Leonhardt, 2nd Year PhD History Student
Sigur Center 2015 Khmer Language Fellow,
Royal University of Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Studying in Taiwan! Vlog #1

Hey everyone! Here is my first vlog post. I talk about what its been like studying Mandarin in Taiwan. Take a look!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Second Video Blog Posting

Ron Leonhardt, 2nd Year PhD History Student
Sigur Center 2015 Khmer Language Fellow,
Royal University of Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Sunday, August 9, 2015

海邊很好玩! The beach is fun!

Well, I am sitting here in my living room as Typhoon Soudelor passes through. The wind has been really big but has died down from overnight. It is supposed to pick up again later tonight. So far everything has been fine, just been enjoying the day doing homework and watching TV.
So I thought that a blog post would a be a good idea!

I want to share my trip to the beach! We had July 31st off, as the building that has all the classrooms did not have power as they were doing the annual electrical testing.  So a group of friends and I decided to go to the beach! We had planned to go to Fulong beach, but when we got to the train station the next train was not for two hours. So we did a quick google search and found a beach near Yilan (宜蘭).
At the Yilan train station!

The next train was in about 20 minutes, so we quickly bought train tickets and off we went! the train ride took about an hour and half. Once we arrived in Yulin, we asked directions to the nearest beach, which was Waiao (外澳). We had to take another local train to the beach, but once we reached the station we were right across the street from the beach. This beach has more waves and we saw many people learning how to surf.  The place that we stopped off for lunch gave surfing lessons, but we were just there to enjoy the water!
The Waiao train station- that's the beach off to the left!

The water was really warm and not that salty, even though the beach is on the ocean side of the island. Getting out to the water was a challenge. Waiao is known for having black sand. So the sand in between the boardwalk and the water was ferociously hot. It was almost too hot to walk across! But once we reached the water, it cooled down. The beach is pretty shallow so we were able to wade and just enjoy being in the water. The water was really clear and a cerulean blue. the beach was really clean and not that crowded. After coming home and talking with my classmates and 老師, I learned that it is not as touristy because it is harder to get to; Fulong beach is right off of the train station so that is where most people go. I’m glad that we ended up going to 外澳 because it was pretty empty and the scenery was beautiful! The pictures really do not do it justice!
Some of the boardwalk and the beach

It was a pretty clear day- the water was great!

It was  great relaxing trip and a great break in studying. The only hiccup that we had was that the train back to Taipei was standing room only. It wasn’t that bad and if that is the worst thing to say, I would consider that a successful trip!

It was a busy weekend as the next day, I met up with my class at 士林 (Shilin) to make Pineapple cakes (鳳梨酥) . We went to a well known local bakery  Kao Yuan Ye and made these Taiwanese desserts. It was really simple as they had all the ingredients measured out for us, so all we had to do was dump it into the bowl and stir. But it was still a lot of fun and people at the bakery were very enthusiastic! While the cakes were baking we went up to the attached museum to learn about the customs and traditions of Taiwanese pastry. You can follow the process from the pictures below!