The UNH Center for International Education Newsletter
Fall 2011

Building Bridges of Understanding
10 days in China with Project IMUSE

This summer, two UNH International Affairs dual majors were selected to journey with 8 other U.S. and U.K. college students to China to take part in Project IMUSE (Initiating Mutual Understanding Through Student Exchange).

Some of the 2011 IMUSE participants on the Great Wall of China
Some of the 2011 IMUSE participants on the Great Wall of China (third from right-Kiryl Melnichak, right-Jennifer Lindsay)
This four-year old nonprofit puts together a conference each summer to provide intellectually meaningful face-to-face interactions for a small group of promising Western and Chinese college students to increase mutual trust, curiosity and understanding. To that end, student delegates had a packed agenda: debate-provoking conferences with leading Chinese professors, journalists, and businessmen; a tour of Beijing's 798 Art Zone; a briefing at the American Embassy's Information Resource Center; and a meeting with a top Chinese consulting firm, where students presented a business proposal for review, among other events. For Kiryl Melnichak (International Affairs/Economics ’14) and Jennifer Lindsay (International Affairs/Studio Art ’12), the impact of being part of such a dynamic and intimate group of student delegates, cannot be underestimated. The application process was quite competitive, with over 100 U.S. students applying for the few spots. Honored to be selected, Kiryl and Jennifer reflect on their recent experience below:

Kiryl (right) with a delegate from China
Kiryl (right) with a delegate from China

Kiryl:  This was a truly rewarding experience. IMUSE allowed me to interact with very interesting and intelligent speakers. It provided an opportunity to meet Chinese college students who have similar interests, goals, and aspirations as I do. It was interesting to participate in discussions on various topics and see how similar and different our views are. Yet, most importantly this experience helped me establish friendships and a valuable network of people whom I know and can count on.

IMUSE is a fantastic program that I highly recommend to anyone who is interested in International Affairs, Chinese-American relations, and China in general.

 Jennifer’s presentation group at Hejun Consulting
Jennifer’s presentation group at Hejun Consulting (Jennifer is third from left)

Jennifer:  Though most of the speakers and events were fantastic, by far, the best aspect of IMUSE was the other students! We had an extraordinary group, and formed many new friendships. It's great to have these connections on both a personal and professional level. I am currently studying abroad in Beijing. As part of my program, I am volunteering at a school for children of migrant workers, thanks to a contact I made during IMUSE!

I am interested in cultural diplomacy, fostering communication and understanding across cultures through the arts. After IMUSE, I went into my semester in Beijing well-prepared to take advantage of opportunities here, such as an internship at an international design center in the 798 Art Zone. I now have a much better idea of the directions my life could take after graduation, and how I might get there!