Adam Tusin ’21 was ready to spend a semester in Nanjing, China when the program was suspended due to the spread of coronavirus. After finding a new program in Tainan, Taiwan, Tusin had transited through Hong Kong and was in the air when the Taiwanese government announced that anyone who passed through Hong Kong would be automatically quarantined.
Confined to a dorm room on campus in Tainan for 14 days, the international relations major resorted to “discovering Taiwan through the delicious food delivered outside my door…Thankfully with technology, I’ve been able to participate in orientation and class discussions through Zoom.”
Tusin had initially planned to conduct a research project in Nanjing, focusing on China’s Belt and Road Initiative, under the guidance of Associate Professor of Political Science Stacey Philbrick Yadav and Associate Professor of History Lisa Yoshikawa. Having studied Mandarin since his first semester at HWS and explored surveillance in China during Philbrick Yadav’s course on qualitative research methods, Tusin wanted “to further immerse myself in the culture and improve my command of the language.”
But when the State Department applied its highest travel alert to China in January, the Nanjing program was canceled and Tusin was left “with a lot of unknowns, including the possibility of returning to HWS three weeks after classes had started. HWS Global Ed, my professors, and CIEE [Council on International Educational Exchange] all worked tirelessly to find a safe solution which would allow me to continue my studies [abroad].”
Tusin says that while the program “has changed, my study abroad goals have not.”
When CIEE proposed the Taiwan program, Tusin was excited and “immediately accepted due to the similar immersion that I would have gotten in Nanjing. Taiwan is a country that I’ve never visited and highly interested me, especially with its unique relationship with China and the United States. In Taiwan, I am joined by 24 other American students, who were supposed to be studying in Beijing and Shanghai this semester, but all faced the same roadblock as me due to COVID-19.”
Tusin is still enrolled in an Intensive Language and Culture Program, taking language classes and courses on China’s political development and foreign policy. As for the research project, he and Philbrick Yadav are currently reevaluating the opportunities that the new location offers to focus on Taiwanese politics.
Tusin, who is fluent in English, Mandarin and French, recently interned with the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. and was a volunteer with the Singapore Minister of Parliament. For two years prior to that, he was a junior officer with the rank of sergeant during his national service with the Singapore Civil Defense Force, where he managed a crew of four firefighters.
On campus, Tusin is a student assistant at the Bristol Field House, an America Reads tutor for local second graders, and a member of the Investment Club and French and Francophone Club.
In the photo above, Adam Tusin ’21 (seated fourth left in orange shirt) has lunch is with his classmates in Tainan, Taiwan.