Andrew Nenow is a rising senior with an Asian Studies major and a Computer and Information Science major. He hails from Boone, North Carolina, and came to Chapel Hill as a transfer student from Appalachian State University. He recently was awarded the Boren Scholarship to travel to China and learn Mandarin at Yunnan University during the 2020-21 academic year, though this has been complicated by the pandemic. Andrew has successfully won other awards to support his studies of Mandarin and Chinese studies; he applied for and received a Foreign Languages and Area Studies (FLAS) Scholarship from the Carolina Asia Center. Andrew is also active as a member of the Carolina Analytics and Data Science Club and works as a political science research assistant.
I spoke with Andrew about his experiences trying to continue his study of Chinese amidst the COVID-19 crisis of 2020.
With regards to Covid-19 and my courses moving online, including my summer Chinese courses, it has made it more difficult to practice writing Chinese, but at the same time it has caused me to become more engaged with practicing my vocabulary and speaking on my own, which has been one positive outcome.
I then asked Andrew what has been most meaningful to him about studying Asia since coming to Carolina.
My favorite parts of my Asia-related courses at UNC have been starting to see myself slowly becoming more comfortable conversing in Chinese with some of my peers – a trend I really hope continues! I also have greatly enjoyed learning about Eastern philosophies, but Daoism and Tibetan Buddhism especially interest me.
In terms of his plans for the next year, Andrew is hopeful that he will be able to take advantage of opportunities for learning and leadership on campus:
In the next year, I want to be a part of organizing the 2021 Chinese Leadership Summit, so long as coronavirus will permit such a large event, as well as continuing to write for the Carolina Political Review. I would also like to get involved in a small role with student government in preparation for my time which I will spend with the US government as per my Boren requirements. Later on, I hope to enter the Foreign Service Officer program and work for the Department of State.