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Nicholas A. Henderson
Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS) ‘21
Boren Fellow
Q: What encouraged you to apply to Johns Hopkins SAIS? 
A: I had wanted to apply to Johns Hopkins SAIS ever since admissions representatives from the school visited my alma mater, Franklin & Marshall College. There were also representatives from the top four International Affairs Masters Programs, but I believed Johns Hopkins SAIS, specifically the Hopkins-Nanjing Center (HNC), would prepare me the best for a career in China Policy and Risk Analysis.
Q: Could you please tell us about applying for the COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund and how this has helped support your education?
A: In early 2020, when US Airlines began to suspend flights to and from China due to COVID-19 I, along with many HNC students, was stranded once my flight back to Nanjing had been cancelled. As a result, I needed to find a place to reside until I could return to Nanjing. I had also only brought one suitcase with me, and most of my clothing, contacts, and school supplies were still back in my dorm in China.

Once I heard the COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund went live, I applied and received the help I needed to continue pursuing my studies. I am grateful for our alumni that gave back to the school, the administrators and the financial aid officers who organized this fund to help the students during a time where everyone is suffering physically, mentally, and financially. I will certainly take a lesson from their generosity and pay it forward after I graduate.
Q: What has been one of your favorite experiences at the school so far? 
A: It is hard to forget how nice it was just spending time with my colleagues on the fantastic terraces we have at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center. Just interacting with other likeminded people where I could practice my mandarin daily. It was exactly the program I had thought it would be, and the folks at the HNC work hard to make sure we all have a unique and worthwhile experience.
Q: Could you please tell us about your current internship? 
A: I am currently working for the Global Taiwan Institute (GTI) in Washington DC. I work with some incredibly smart, dedicated people who contribute to insightful, cutting-edge research on policy issues regarding Taiwan and the international community. I am currently writing a piece for GTI’s Global Taiwan Brief (GTB), which is one of the best places to look for professional analysis on the latest news coming out of Taiwan. My topic for the GTB is consistent with my HNC thesis which will be written and defended in Chinese in the spring of 2021.

Q: Are you involved in any extracurricular activities at the school? 
A: I am a part of the Careers in Diplomacy group, and a retired 班委 (Bān wěi) or student-leadership member, but I am still active in the HNC community. My thesis is slowly beginning to take over my life, but I am optimistic about a return to Asia. If not in China then I am hoping I can shift my country of study to the approved travel location of Taiwan, where I can resume some of the more interactive events, and so I might be able to speak with experts in the field regarding my thesis, which directly concerns Taiwan.
Q: What do you hope to do with your degree after you graduate? 
A: My dream position would start off as a Foreign Service Officer and serve my country by assisting in the creation of a greater China strategy. There are already so many qualified and intelligent people in the greater China and Taiwan studies community in DC, and around the world, and I would count myself lucky to be one of them. I am a current Boren fellow, dedicated to serving in the public sector, and I believe I can do that the best from the US State Department.

Want to support students like Nick? Join the Johns Hopkins SAIS community on Giving Tuesday, December 1, as we take part in this global day of giving. Learn more and #GiveTueSAIS early at

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