Jinhuei Dai and a group of MIIS students recently returned from an innovative advanced Chinese language immersion program that provided networking opportunities focused on nonproliferation issues and international relations. The students who accompanied Prof. Dai to Beijing were committed to speak Chinese and interacted with professionals, scholars and graduate students at various institutes of international relations and professional organizations focused on nonproliferation issues.
The following summary of his experience by one of the participating students shows how programs like this offer a triple payoff: language, content, and connections. “The Nonproliferation Beijing Immersive Module was an enriching experience in all of the ways I had expected it to be. First, it was beneficial for my Chinese language skills – by using only Chinese during our series of meetings, the nonproliferation vocabulary was engrained in my memory, and I learned how to interact in a formal setting. The report I gave on the last day of meetings was probably my most-prepared and best-delivered Chinese presentation. Second, the content was very informative – although I did not understand 100% of what was said, and some people we met seemed to just be repeating the official stance, I began to understand the Chinese viewpoint on arms control issues and how they tend to think about the problems and solutions in this field. Finally, it was a networking experience – as I intend to keep working in the field of nonproliferation in China, I imagine I will be running into the same people again in the future. ”