ASN Profile: Nina Wu’s BFSU American Studies Experience

July 23, 2018

Topic(s):

Nina Wu is in her first year of the American Studies graduate program at Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU). As an undergraduate, she knew she wanted to major in area studies because of her interest in the discipline’s approach of analyzing different regions. After selecting a course entitled “American Culture and Society,” she became exposed to the study of America in an academic setting.

Wu explained that while taking this class, she was “immediately attracted to the diversity and ideals in American culture.”

“I am intrigued by the constant pursuit of progress in American society,” she said.

In Wu’s third year at the university, she had the opportunity to participate in an exchange program at Barnard College in New York City. Through this experience, she developed “a very personal connection to America.” It allowed her to compare her observations of race relations in the United States with her own experiences of racial discrimination in China and it inspired her to dig deeper into the study of race and culture in America.

Wu (First Row, First from the Left) primarily focuses on critical analysis of American culture. In her opinion this includes a diverse array of topics: for example, she recently wrote a paper on the mass consumption of cupcakes in America. She is also interested in issues of political correctness and cultural exchange. Recently, Wu decided to write her thesis on American students’ study abroad experiences in China. “As a Chinese student who studied in America, I need to see what it is like the other way around,” she said.

The American studies program in which Wu is enrolled at Beijing Foreign Studies University is ideal for her because the students can follow different tracks: politics, society, or culture.  “The major [goal] for American studies programs in China is to cultivate talent for the development of US-Sino relations,” she said. “My interest, on the other hand, is in American culture and society, not just politics or the economy.”

Wu explained that when she tells peers she is in an American studies program, they are very interested in the multidisciplinary approach of the field, which she believes is its strength. American studies experts make use of sociological, historical, and anthropological methods to conduct research, making the discipline more diverse than many others in China or the US.

In the future, Wu would like to be a teacher. After graduating from her master’s program, she hopes to pursue a PhD in education in order to work at an international school. “I want to use my knowledge of America to teach content courses on American studies,” she said.

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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Nina Wu是北京外国语大学研一的学生,主修美国研究。当她还在读本科的时候,她就知道自己想主修区域研究,因为她对该学科分析不同区域的方法很感兴趣。在选择了一门名为“美国文化与社会”的课程后,她开始接触美国研究。

Wu提到,当她开始上这门课的时候,她立马就被美国文化的多样性所吸引了。

“我对美国社会对进步的不懈追求很感兴趣,”她说。

在大学三年级,她有机会参加了在纽约巴纳德学院的交换项目。通过这次经历,她“与美国建立了非常私人的联系”。这让她能够将自己对美国种族关系的观察与自己在中国看到的种族歧视经历进行比较,并激励她对美国种族和文化进行更深入的研究。

Wu(前排左一)主要关注美国文化的批判分析。在她看来,这包括了一系列不同的主题:例如,她最近写了一篇关于美国大量消费纸杯蛋糕的论文。她还对政治正确性和文化交流问题感兴趣。最近,吴决定写一篇关于美国学生在中国留学经历的论文。“作为一名在美国学习的中国学生,我需要看看反过来会是什么样子,”她说。

她就读的北京外国语大学美国研究项目对她来说是个很理想的选择,因为学生们可以选择不同的方向:政治、社会或文化。她表示:“中国的美国研究项目的主要目标是为中美关系的未来发展培养人才。”“另一方面,我的兴趣在于美国的文化和社会,而不仅仅是政治或经济。”

Wu解释说,当她告诉同学们她在学习美国研究时,他们对这个领域的多学科研究方法非常感兴趣,她认为这是该领域的强项。美国研究专家利用社会学、历史学和人类学的方法进行研究,使该学科比中国或美国的许多其他学科更加多样化。

在未来,Wu想成为一名教师。从硕士项目毕业后,她希望攻读教育学博士学位,以便在一所国际学校工作。“我想用我学到的知识来教授有关美国研究的课程,”她说。

 

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