Kimberly Tan ’22 and Nicole Tiao ’20 have been offered acceptance into a one-year interdisciplinary China studies master’s program in Beijing, beginning this fall at the Yenching Academy of Peking University.
As Yenching scholars, they will design their own thesis projects, choosing from what the Yenching website describes as “a wide range of electives offered by the Academy and other Peking University schools and departments.”
Tan, who is from Singapore, is an engineering sciences and philosophy major modified with Asian studies. “I’ve grown up at the crossroads of East Asia and the West; Singapore has Confucian values and a really big Chinese influence. But I also lived in Australia for a number of years, and my family moved to the D.C. area when I was in high school. So I’ve always been fascinated by different cultures and different values.”
Having traveled to China on a foreign study program, Tan says she’s eager to return. “I’m interested in learning not just about Western philosophy but about the history of intellectual thought and culture and how that was shaped in China,” she says.
Tiao, who grew up in Cincinnati, majored in physics and history, and also visited China on an FSP, has a personal reason to continue her studies there.
“My grandparents fled the Cultural Revolution, and my mom’s grandfather was a Nationalist major general,” she says. “I want to visit their hometowns and design a geography project about how those places have changed over the years.”
After graduating from Dartmouth, Tiao moved to Los Angeles, where she is conducting geography research supervised by Richard Wright, the Orvil Dryfoos Professor of Public Affairs. Her main focus now is on writing poetry and fiction.
The Yenching scholarship is not the only thing Tan and Taio, both gifted violinists, have in common. They met in the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra and traveled with the DSO to Italy.
But whether they will both be able to spend next year in Beijing is still to be determined, because COVID-19 protocols currently require foreign students to take only virtual classes.
That could change over the next few months, but Tan says she will enroll whether or not she can take in-person classes. Tiao is still unsure whether she will accept the scholarship if she cannot conduct field research.
For more information about applying for the Yenching Scholarship and other international and national programs, visit Dartmouth’s Office of Fellowship Advising.