ASN Profile: Alex Zhu's BFSU American Studies Experience

September 26, 2018

Topic(s):

Alex Zhu is in his third year of the American studies master’s program at Beijing Foreign Studies University. He recently spoke with USCET about his interest in American studies and his thoughts on the program.

As an undergraduate, Zhu studied teaching Chinese as a second language at Dalian University of Foreign Languages. After graduating, he applied and gained admission to the American studies program at Beijing Foreign Studies University.

Zhu primarily conducts research on the United States’ education system and economy. For his master’s thesis, for example, he completed an ethnographic study of Chinese students who attend American universities. Zhu chose this topic because he wanted to analyze the “acculturation process” Chinese students experience when going overseas for education. 

Fittingly, Zhu has experience working with Chinese students who plan to apply to American colleges. He currently works as an SAT tutor, and he anticipates continuing this work after he receives his diploma.

Zhu speculated that many students in China are attracted to American studies because of the major’s job prospects. These prospects are only likely to grow: more and more companies in China are recruiting students who have high levels of English fluency and American cultural knowledge.

Zhu explained that when he speaks about American studies to his peers in China, they are curious and “at the same time marveled.” Their reactions can be explained by the fact that American studies’ multidisciplinary nature is unique among disciplines in China. In his words, the field concerns “American politics, history, all of it.”

The American studies program at BFSU also offers three different tracks: politics, society, and culture. Students choose a focus, but they also must take classes in each subject in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of American society.

In the future, Zhu is determined for his university to have more international partnerships. We have to create that bond [between American and Chinese universities],” he said.

In 2007, as an undergraduate, Zhu participated in the ASN Conference in Sichuan, China, where he submitted a paper for review. He is currently working on his next paper to submit, and he is eager to attend more lectures organized by USCET.

American Studies lies at the core of USCET’s organizational mission. This profile is part of a series to highlight various students across China who are majoring in American Studies and who plan to use it in their careers. 

 

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Alex Zhu是北京外国语大学美国研究专业研究生三年级的学生。他在近期接受了中美教育基金会的采访,谈论他对美国研究的兴趣以及想法。

本科期间,Zhu在大连外国语大学学习对外汉语教学。毕业后,他申请并获得了北京外国语大学美国研究项目的录取。

Zhu主要研究美国的教育制度和经济。例如,在他的硕士论文中,他完成了一项关于在美国大学就读的中国学生的民族志研究。Zhu之所以选择这个话题,是因为他想分析中国学生出国留学的“文化适应过程”。

与此同时,Zhu也有与计划申请美国大学的中国学生共事的经验。他目前是一名SAT辅导教师,他希望在拿到文凭后继续从事这项工作。

Zhu推测,许多中国学生之所以被美国研究这门专业所吸引,是因为这个专业的就业前景,并且前景只会越来越大:越来越多的中国公司正在招聘英语流利程度高、具有美国文化知识的学生。

Zhu解释说,当他向中国的同龄人讲述美国研究时,他们很好奇,“同时也很惊讶”。他们的反应可以用这样一个事实来解释:美国研究的跨学科性质在中国的各个学科中是独一无二的。用他的话来说,这一领域涉及“美国政治、历史,以及一切”。

该校的美国研究项目也提供了三种不同的途径:政治、社会和文化。学生们选择一个关注的焦点,但为了全面了解美国社会,他们也必须学习每一门课程。

未来,Zhu决心让他的大学拥有更多的国际合作伙伴。我们必须(在美国和中国的大学之间)建立这种联系。

2007年,作为一名本科生,Zhu参加了在中国四川举办的美国研究联络会会议,并提交了一篇论文评审。他目前正在撰写下一篇论文,并渴望参加中美教育基金会组织的更多讲座。

美国研究是中美教育基金的核心使命之一。本篇特稿是USCET对主修美国研究并有意于之后在领域内发展的中国学生的系列采访之一