Nancy Zhou GSAS'24: Shaping the Future of Global Education

A recent graduate from the MA in Global Thought program, Nancy reflects on her enriching internship at the Beijing Global Center.

May 28, 2024

Introduce yourself! What's your name, major, and where are you interning this spring semester?

My name is Nancy Linghui Zhou, a 2024 graduate from Columbia University with a Master of Arts degree in Global Thought. I have been a University Life Ambassador and student intern at the Columbia Global Center Beijing since December 2023. I'm grateful to the Beijing Global Center for offering this rewarding remote internship opportunity and furthering my passion for global education.

Why did you choose this internship?

Attending Columbia University has been my mother’s dream, yet she had to make personal sacrifices in consideration of her family so that I could dream instead of living under constraint.

As a young Chinese scholar privileged with secondary and higher education in China, the U.S., Switzerland, and France, I have always wanted to dedicate milestone moments of growth to my mother, whose selflessness and resilience have made me who I am today.

In pursuit of multicultural scholarship and professional endeavors, I’m thankful to the Beijing Global Center for bringing culmination to my intergenerational aspirations and believing in my potential.

My internship has enhanced my interpersonal communication skills and biliteracy in Mandarin and English to contribute to impactful projects in both Chinese and American contexts.

Tell us a little bit about your work. What are some of your responsibilities?

My Columbia Global internship has allowed me to facilitate and advocate for youth engagement with social innovation and entrepreneurship. Benefiting from the mentorship and guidance provided by the Beijing Center program team, I was able to extensively research the field of social innovation education and engaged in intensive communications with Columbia professors, workshop leaders, and regional partners to leverage their expertise and resources.

This work has made a significant contribution to the fellowship curriculum design in collaboration with the Qi Social Innovation Center. It is an exciting opportunity to apply my knowledge and support the cultivation of the next generation of social innovators through the Fellowship for Change Program, an intensive one-year program focusing on the development of problem-solving abilities and entrepreneurial mindset among high school youth between the ages of 15-17 years old.

Incorporating my adaptability and attentiveness to fulfill such instructional objectives of empathy, critical assessment, and innovational capacity-building, I have committed myself to turning ideas into reality and effectively carrying out the tasks and responsibilities.

Nancy Zhou (2)

How have you been finding your internship so far? How is this internship different from other internships you have had?

Education serves as the driving force for social advancement through creative change-making and the promulgation of knowledge within the international community.

My graduate inquiries into Global Thought have laid the theoretical groundwork for understanding globalization in terms of transboundary divergence and interconnectedness. Thus, with my Columbia Global internship, I connected with over 50 professors across campus, notably Joseph Stiglitz, Qin Gao, Joseph Slaughter, Katharina Pistor, Ramona Handel-Bajema, and Kevin Funk, who have shared their invaluable perspectives and pedagogical advice regarding the Fellowship for Change Program.

These collective brainstorming sessions have helped me realize the importance of multidisciplinary activities and modules for social integration, compassion, and entrepreneurial prowess. I appreciate the meaningful and thorough involvement of all members of the Columbia community in establishing a mutually respectful and nourishing learning environment for students, regardless of their backgrounds.

What's your plan for after university? 

Upon completing my studies at Columbia University, I look forward to building upon my global thought insights through teaching and writing while attaining my second master’s in international law and diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Tufts University.

Nancy Zhou (3)

Do you have any tips for future virtual interns? 

Change is the only constant, so trust the process! As humans, each of us embodies the vessel of progress, which relies on how we act in the present and assure the prospects of tomorrow. I hope our future interns enjoy and cherish their virtual work experiences to achieve their goals at Columbia and beyond with open-mindedness, kindness, and positivity.