As can be seen from our map, LUC alumni can be found all over the world. Today’s post was written by Jules van der Sneppen, World Politics Major, Class of 2013.
You have probably heard this a thousand times before, but that doesn’t make it less true: China is a country of opposites, a country of contrast. And nowhere but in Shanghai do these opposites become so vivid. From the neon skyscrapers of Pudong to the crowded markets in the city’s backstreets, and from brand new Ferraris to chickens running in the street, Shanghai never fails to fascinate me. It is this long-lasting fascination with the city, and China as a whole, that brought me to pursue my graduate studies at Fudan University. With financial support from both the Dutch and Chinese governments, I am currently enrolled in a two-year programme in Chinese Philosophy and Culture. Whether I see myself in a career as a university professor lecturing and writing about Chinese philosophy? Probably not, but I do believe that understanding modern China begins with looking at the country’s past, and at the intellectual forces that have shaped that past: Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism and Communism. The journey China went through before it ascended the global stage and became an economic powerhouse is one of great splendour and drastic upheavals, and has produced many inspiring thinkers that are well worth studying. Sometimes I can’t help but ask myself what use it is to study what Zhu Xi, a famous Song dynasty philosopher, once wrote about the way that bamboo grows… But then again, I am convinced that it is all adding to a bigger picture.
Living here in Shanghai, and studying at this university, has also made me realise what a great time I’ve had at LUC The Hague. During the first weeks of my program here, I expected all students to get along great, go out together and all that. My expectations turned out to be false: everyone went their own way, and no real tight bonds were forged. Unlike at LUC, where within days we managed to forge bonds that will last for our whole lives. Forget about how crappy Global Challenges: System Earth was, or what you learned in Disciplinarity and Beyond (if you hadn’t already). What, in hindsight, was most important about my time in LUC was being able to live, laugh and get crunk (insert Lil’ Jon’s voice) together with such great people.
As to what the future holds? As I can imagine many of us are, with our liberal arts & sciences background, I’m constantly doubting and debating what I should actually do with my life. For now, I’m set on pursuing a PhD in East Asian Studies/International Relations in New York. However, if you ask me the same question again next year, I’ll probably give you a completely different answer. Working at KFC, maybe…