Hope Parker ('18)

Hope Parker ('18)

1. Please tell us a little about yourself!

I am from the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated from Wellesley in 2018, majoring in International Relations – Political Science, and minoring in Chinese Language and Culture.

2. Why did you decide to become a Chinese Language and Culture minor? How did it shape your experience at Wellesley? 

I began studying Chinese as a first-year because I was interested in learning a new language that was not related to English. Although it was a challenge (my roommate commented that it seemed as if the only subject I studied was Chinese!), I really enjoyed it and wanted to continue studying in China. I would recommend to anyone studying Chinese to study abroad in Mainland China or Taiwan. I loved having the chance to use what I had been learning for the past two years on a daily basis. Mandarin is such a complicated language, it is hard to become proficient in reading, writing, speaking, and listening from the United States. Intensive language study in China allowed me to focus solely on my Chinese-studies for a semester and advance quickly. That time in Beijing made me realize that I wanted to make a larger commitment to studying Chinese, so after returning to Wellesley for the spring semester, I declared my minor in Chinese Language and Culture.

3. What are you doing now? 

Currently, I am a master’s candidate at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center (HNC). The HNC is a cooperation between Johns Hopkins University SAIS and Nanjing University, comprised of Chinese and international students. Chinese students complete their coursework in English, and as an international student, I complete my coursework in Chinese. During my senior year at Wellesley, I began to be able to combine my Chinese and political science coursework, using Chinese language documents in research papers. Being at the HNC has advanced my language skills more and has given me the opportunity to learn from Chinese scholars about Chinese politics.

4. How has your Wellesley experience and your minor influenced your life/career after college?

I have not been an alum for very long, but I think that at least for the foreseeable future, the majority of my professional and academic opportunities will be due to my decision to study Chinese as a first-year. As I said earlier, it is a difficult language to learn, but that difficulty level also makes successes in the language more rewarding. I really enjoy the act of practicing a foreign language, which has kept me motivated to continue practicing.