Name: Dennis (Chan Min) Hong
Year: Class of 2015
Hometown: Seoul, South Korea
High School: Westtown School, West Chester, PA
East Asia and Johns Hopkins
Foreign affairs are my passion. Whether it is a news report on territorial disputes in Northeast Asia, an academic research on the rise of China as the world’s next superpower, or a political debate on U.S. foreign policy of rebalancing in the Asia-Pacific region, I have enjoyed learning and discussing them since high school. I brought the same passion to Johns Hopkins University, intending to continue to pursue my love of international relations and deepen my interests in East Asia, thereby ultimately preparing myself for the challenges of working in U.S. and China-related fields in the future. Therefore, it was very clear from the first day of my freshman year that East Asian Studies and International Studies programs at Johns Hopkins would be a perfect match for my interests and aspirations. I am particularly grateful for these programs as they have given me both regional expertise and functional tools – economics, political science, history, and foreign language – to understand the complexity of today’s increasingly interconnected global affairs.
Johns Hopkins is an excellent place to study both East Asia and International Relations. East Asian Studies, in particular, stands out among our many excellent interdisciplinary programs as an intellectual center of research and teaching as well as a socially vibrant community of students and professors. The program not only allows you to design your own course of studies but also deepens your interests and understanding on East Asia through our intensive language training and various course offerings related to East Asia. The requirements for the major are: at least three years of coursework in an East Asian language (i.e. Chinese, Japanese, or Korean) and eight East Asian Studies courses of your choice. Starting in fall 2013, the program has newly introduced a four discipline-based “Focus Area”: Political Science, History, Sociology or Individualized, all of which are designed to give you more structure in your study and help you identify your regional and discipline-based expertise. To learn more about requirements for the B.A. degree in East Asian Studies, please click HERE.
As an East Asian Studies and International Studies double major, I am also enrolled in the 5-Year BA/MA program with our School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). SAIS is an international relations graduate school of Johns Hopkins located in Washington DC, Bologna, and Nanjing. As part of the program, I will be spending my senior year at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center in Nanjing, China and complete my Master’s in International Economics and China Studies in the following year. While this program is offered through our International Studies program, any prospective East Asian studies majors can take advantage of this well-respected academic opportunity by double majoring with International Studies. Our international campus located in Nanjing, China, more formally known as the Hopkins-Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies, allows you to pursue this option and is an asset to our undergraduate East Asian Studies program, particularly for those who want to study abroad in China and increase their global understanding on China. Our newly introduced Focus Area will also help you easily double major with other programs, including International Studies, Public Health Studies, History, Sociology, etc.
Some of the highlights of our program include numerous academic, research, and extracurricular opportunities available for East Asian Studies majors. Below are a list of some of the courses that have been offered in our program, and you will be amazed by the depth and breadth of our curriculum:
- Monuments and Memory in Asian History
- Society & Social Change in 18th Century China
- Korean and Asian American Politics
- Modern Japan: 1800 to the Present
- Domestic Politics of Contemporary China
- Southeast Asia & US Security
- Comparison of Environmental Challenges and Governance between China and the U.S.
- Classical Chinese, Chinese (I-V), Japanese (I-IV), Korean (I-III)
Some of my favorite classes during my years at Johns Hopkins were: Politics of East Asia (with Professor Erin Chung), Historiography of Modern China (with Professor William Rowe), and Problems in Chinese Urban History (with Professor William Rowe). They were small in terms of size (15 students), allowing me to interact with professors and engage in course readings and discussions more effectively. These classes not only taught me new insights into politics and history of China and a wider East Asia but also strengthened my oral presentation and writing skills, which I see critical to my future careers. As an East Asian Studies major, you will study with our distinguished faculty on topics related to the Cultural Revolution, Korean identity in Japan, U.S. foreign policy in Asia, history of Ming & Qing dynasties, political and economic development in China, Japan, and Korea, just to name a few. For a full list of courses offered now, please click HERE.
From intellectually stimulating classes with top-notch professors and research opportunities in any East Asian countries of your choice via our program’s generous research grants to well-received weekly East Asian Language Corners, annual Chinese Lunar New Year celebration, and increasingly popular Hopkins-sponsored study abroad programs in Nanjing (Hopkins-in-Nanjing and Hopkins China-STEM) and Tokyo (Hopkins-in-Tokyo), our program allows you to get fully immersed in the study of East Asia. Some of my friends who studied abroad in Nanjing, China in recent years have kept their blogs, and you can read about their eye-opening experiences HERE. In addition, our program has a strong sense of community, allowing for a very close interaction between students and faculty.
Outside the classroom, I am involved in Woodrow Wilson Undergraduate Research Fellowship, East Asian Studies Student Advisory Council, Office of Undergraduate Admissions, Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium, and East Asian Forum & Review. The Student Advisory Council, in particular, is one of my favorite activities as an East Asian Studies major, as I help plan and organize many social activities for our program throughout the entire academic year. For example, we recently celebrated Korean Thanksgiving or otherwise known as “Chuseok” with Korea-related themes on campus, and we organize Chinese Lunar New Year Celebration annually. We also have many East Asia-specific student groups ranging from such cultural organizations as Chinese, Korean, and Taiwanese Student Associations to more professional-oriented such as Global China Connection, Japan-America Student Conference, and Business in China Association. You will easily find your extracurricular interests among our student activities.
My course of studies and education at Johns Hopkins have also taken me to Seoul, Korea for the past two summers to pursue two international internships at the United States Embassy and McKinsey & Company, respectively. Last spring, our Career Center has awarded me a $5,000 Charles Robins Alumni Internship Grant to pursue my internship at McKinsey, a global management consulting firm. This summer, I plan to travel to China to enhance my Chinese language skills and conduct my research on Sino-Korean relations as a recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Undergraduate Research Fellowship. This fellowship with monetary awards of $10,000 is annually awarded to incoming freshmen, and any prospective East Asian Studies majors are eligible to apply. The fellowship is unique to Johns Hopkins and allows you to design your own independent research project with a faculty member during your undergraduate career.
The East Asian Studies program in conjunction with our Center for Language Education also offers a variety of language scholarships for those who wish to study abroad in China, Japan, or Korea during their time at Johns Hopkins. In addition, departmental research and conference grants are also available for prospective majors. Some of my friends have conducted research on problems of primary education system in Guizhou, China and environmental issues across Chinese cities, while others have travelled to Japan and Korea to attend conferences on East Asian affairs. These are some of the few examples of various opportunities available as an East Asian Studies major at Johns Hopkins, and you can certainly take advantage of all of these during your time here.
With my degrees in East Asian Studies and International Studies upon my graduation in May 2015, I plan to work in one of the fastest growing Chinese or Korea cities, be it Beijing, Shanghai or Seoul, to help connect South Korean people and firms launching a new business and receiving the first-hand insights on the inner workings of China. I also hope to ultimately work for the South Korean government, improving and contributing to the relations between the two countries.
It is an exciting time to be an East Asian Studies major at Johns Hopkins. As East Asia has drawn the world’s attention in recent years, I think it is very timely and appropriate to pursue your potential career in Asia-related field. With our program’s unparalleled resources in Baltimore and abroad, you will find yourself in the midst of new discovery every day. As a 2015 Bachelor’s candidate in East Asian Studies and International Studies, I will be forever grateful for these programs. I invite you to further explore these programs and our university. Please feel free to contact me with any questions at email@example.com.
To further your exploration of this academic program and ask any question you may have of current students, be sure to visit the Hopkins Forums’ Academics: The Insider Perspective and the East Asian Studies question thread._______________________________________________________________________________