This blog features information related to Asian Studies at GW. If you’re a student who’s gotten a job or internship, won an award, published a paper, won a fellowship or traveled someplace interesting, we want to know! We will also feature information about grants and fellowships you can apply for, jobs, internships, and relevant events in town, as well as information about courses, the Asian Studies program, and our faculty.
My name is Maggie Wedeman and this summer I am
attending the International Chinese Language Program (ICLP) at National Taiwan
University on a Sigur Center language fellowship. As a brief introduction, I am
a rising junior in the Elliott School and I am double majoring in international
affairs (security and Asia concentrations) and Chinese language. During my
childhood, my parents’ work often took our family to China and I have lived in
China (Taipei, Nanjing, and Kunming) for about three years cumulatively. Having
been exposed to China at a young age, I suppose you could say I caught the
'China bug' and I have been making all efforts to study China and the Chinese
language since beginning college at GW. Last summer I attended the CET
intensive Chinese Language program in Kunming, Yunnan and the quick and vast
improvement in my language skill I saw there encouraged me to attend a similar
program this summer: ICLP.
I have now been in Taipei for just over two weeks
and in this blog post I would like to share my general impressions of Taipei
the city and the ICLP program.
Having last lived in Taipei as an eight year old in
2002, it has been very interesting to return and experience the city as a
twenty-year-old full time student. There are some aspects of the city that have
not changed, others were just starting to emerge when I lived here, and some
parts of the city are completely new.
This is the ally I lived on in 2002 - nothing has changed, it even still smells the same
One aspect of Taipei, and Taiwan in general, is that
is incredibly forested and green; all surrounding hills and mountains are
covered in plants and mosses. Just from looking out my window, you can tell you
are in a tropical climate because of how vibrant the plant life is. As a
California whose state seems to be in perpetual drought, I find this greenery
quite refreshing. However, there is no wonder the forestry is so lush as every
day is incredibly hot and humid and the afternoons would not be complete with a
quick tropical rain. Before classes began, I had the opportunity to go hike up
Yangming Mountain (阳明山）and experience the greenery up close. A very friendly old man
offered to lead us on a 40 minute hike to an open green field. It was beautiful
to see cool, crystal clear streams flow down the mountainside. I hope that
later in my stay, and studies permitting I have the chance to go on other hikes
in the surrounding mountains.
A stream on Yangming Shan
When I was living here in 2002, Taipei 101 was just
being built and was going to be the tallest tower in the world. In fact, one
spring day during my stay a strong earthquake on the island caused construction
cranes to fall from the top of their building point. Since then, of course the
building was completed and other buildings have taken its title as tallest
building in the world. However, in Taipei, Taipei 101 still is by the far the
tallest building, there are many more modern buildings and highways than
before. The city is shinier and seemingly less polluted.
One aspect of Taipei that has really evolved since
I last lived here is the expansive public transport system, and more specifically
the bikeshare program. Taipei knows how to do public transportation and
understands how to incentivize its use for citizens. Taipei’s bike share
program is second to none. Unlike Capital Bikeshare where you must buy a week,
month, or yearlong membership, U Bike (the Taipei bikeshare company) is
accessible and free as long as you have a registered easycard (like a smart trip). The first 30 minutes are free and
after that it is 10 NT for every 30 min (about 30 cents US). The ease of public
transport here makes exploring the city easy and convenient, which I really
One difference I have found with Mainland China is
that here when you attempt to use Chinese to communicate with locals, they are
more likely to respond in English. I suppose this is a result of having better
English education in grade schools, however, as a language learner, this is
somewhat frustrating. When I venture out into the city I want to practice my
spoken Chinese with people and perhaps even pick up on colloquialisms that I
would not be taught in a formal classroom setting. One reason I love studying
Chinese in China is that, in my past experience, locals are often extremely
happy that you have come to their country and are making attempts to learn
their language. When locals are in awe of my (very broken) Chinese and respond
in kind, it feels like I have made some progress and I am encouraged to study
more. This has not exactly been the case in Taipei. However, while the larger
prevalence of English speakers in Taipei has been a little discouraging, it’s
not an insurmountable challenge.
On the note of
learning Chinese, here is some general information on the ICLP language program
that I am attending. From what I gather, ICLP is the most rigorous, intensive
language program in Taipei. There are many other programs that offer solid
training, but ICLP is for students who have come to Taiwan to learn Chinese as
their primary goal (as there is little time in the day to do anything but study
Chinese). Each student has three classes a day, two large classes (with 4
people) and a one-on-one class for individual instruction. Each class expects
you to prepare extensively the night before, and cumulatively can require up to
six hours of homework/preparation. In addition, ICLP emphasizes speaking and
while on the premises of the program, there is a language pledge to only speak
Chinese. Last, once you have completed either year two or three of Chinese, you
are able to pick whether to study traditional or simplified characters. To me,
this was one of the most appealing aspects of this program. However, despite my
fourth year placement one of my textbooks is still in traditional characters
(rendering me somewhat illiterate). Regardless, the teachers have been quite
accommodating in helping me struggle through the traditional characters.
To be completely
honest, so far the ICLP experience has been quite stressful. Even having
completed a similar intensive program on the Mainland, I am finding it hard to
adjust to the ICLP teaching method. However, the ICLP students are top notch
and are for the most part incredibly dedicated (not to
mention they come from all walks of life). In my opinion, having classmates and
teachers who are just as dedicated to Chinese language study as you are is
vital to improvement, as you work together and push each other to advance. In weeks to come I hope to learn how to more effectively/efficiently prepare and retain all the new vocabulary and grammar structures I am learning, so as to ease stress and enjoy the language I love to study. While
it is currently hard to see my improvement, I know that by the end of my summer
I will have made great strides in my ability to speak, read, and write
The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) North American Representative Office (NARO) in Washington, D.C. is seeking applicants who are nationals of the United States or Canada to participate in a student associate program at ADB’s office in Washington, D.C.
ADB seeks to engage a student interested in international development, on a voluntary part-time or full-time basis. The associate will gain close insight into the work of a major international development organization, work collaboratively with experienced professionals, gain a deeper understanding of development finance; and contribute to ADB's work through research and support of public relations activities.
ADB welcomes motivated, open-minded and self-directed students to apply. The student associate program is a research-oriented learning opportunity for graduate students to research thematic and development issues and to network with representatives from other international organizations in the Washington, D.C. area.
Must be enrolled in a Master's- or PhD-level program at a school in the United States or Canada, both prior to and after the internship assignment;
Must be engaged in academic study in a field directly related to ADB's work;
Must be a United States or Canadian national. ADB is unfortunately unable to sponsor this work;
Must be familiar with using social media tools;
Must possess an excellent command of English, both orally and written; and
Should have relevant professional experience.
Preference will be given to students in graduate school MBA, MS Finance, MS Economics, or majoring in international relations, development studies, development economics, political science, or other related fields. Students should demonstrate research and writing skills, and knowledge of Microsoft office applications.
Please apply by submitting a cover letter, resume, and two writing samples to Michael Reyes at email@example.com by June 30, 2014. Indicate in your cover letter the university and program you are enrolled in including expected graduation date, and what days and times you would be available to work. More information about ADB's work can be found at: www.adb.org/naro.
The Congressional-Executive Commission on China (www.cecc.gov) is offering paid internships to qualified undergraduates, graduate students, or recent graduates this coming fall in Washington, D.C. Interns must be U.S. citizens. The application deadline is July 1, 2014 for the Fall 2014 internship that runs from September 1 to December 15, 2014. Fall internships are part-time; interns are expected to work from 15 to 20 hours per week. See application instructions below.
CECC internships provide significant educational and professional experience for undergraduates, graduate students, or recent graduates with a background in Chinese politics, law, and society, and strong Chinese language skills. Interns work closely with the Commission and its staff on the full array of issues concerning human rights, the rule of law, and governance in China (including criminal justice, democratic governance institutions, environmental problems, religious freedom, freedom of expression, ethnic minority rights, women's rights, etc.). Interns perform important research support tasks (often in Chinese), attend seminars, meet Members of Congress and experts from the United States and abroad, and draft Commission analyses. Click here for CECC analysis of recent developments in the rule of law and human rights in China. Interns may also be trained to work with the Commission's Political Prisoner Database, which has been accessible by the public since its launch in November 2004 (click here to begin a search).
Fall 2014 interns will be paid $10/hour. Those unable to apply for Fall 2014 internships may apply for the Spring (February-May) or Summer (June-August). Further details are available on the Commission's Web site at http://www.cecc.gov/pages/general/employ.php.
Interns must be U.S. citizens.
Interns should have completed at least some China-related coursework. It is also desirable that they have some background in one or more of the specific human rights and rule of law issues in the CECC legislative mandate.
Interns should be able to read Chinese well enough to assist with research in newspapers, journals, and on Web sites. More advanced Chinese language capability would be a plus. The successful candidate for an internship often will have lived or studied in mainland China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan.
Although our interns are generally undergraduates, graduate students, or recent graduates, others are also welcome to apply.
Application Instructions for Fall 2014: Interested applicants should send a cover letter, resume, and the names and contact information for two references, to the CECC via e-mail to Judy Wright, Director of Administration at firstname.lastname@example.org by July 1, 2014. Applications must be received by our office no later than 11:59 P.M. Eastern Time on July 1. Please discuss in your cover letter how your professional goals, interests, and background relate to the Commission's legislative mandate regarding human rights and the rule of law in China. No phone calls please.
Similar to the Fulbright Scholarship, Taiwan’s Ministry of
Foreign Affairs for the Republic of China created the Taiwan Fellowship to
promote scholarship in the social sciences and humanities on topics related to
Taiwan, cross-Strait relations, mainland China, the Asian-Pacific, and
Qualifying applicants are professors, associated/assistant
professors, post-doctoral researchers, doctoral candidates, doctoral program
students at related departments of overseas universities, or research fellows
at an equivalent level in academic institutions abroad. Alternatively,
candidates may be recommended by a Taiwan overseas mission with a field of
study on Taiwan’s foreign relations or cross-Strait relations. Ineligible
individuals are those who are currently conducting research, teaching, or
studying in Taiwan.
Selected fellowship recipients will receive direct,
round-trip airfare subsidy and a monthly stipend (three months to a year
depending on duration of research) to pursue advanced studies at Taiwan’s
universities, colleges, or research institutes.