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A Scholar Pursues Global Understanding

When he chose his first courses at Red Cross Nordic UWC in Norway, Marcin Jerzewski (Poland, University of Richmond ’18) wanted to take full advantage of the diversity he was offered — so he signed up for Mandarin Chinese. He struggled hard to make progress, but advanced enough that, at Richmond, he selected Chinese studies along with political science as his major.

He has traveled to China three times: with UWC friends as a volunteer English and art teacher, then to compete in the 2014 Chinese Language Proficiency Competition, and then in 2015 on a scholarship to Princeton’s summer program at Beijing Normal University. At Richmond, he worked as research assistant to Dr. Vincent Wei-cheng Wang, then a professor of political science and associate dean at the university, on projects that included examining the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the region.

This year, Marcin was in Taiwan studying political science at the National Chengchi University, learning the Taiwanese Hokkien language, and interning as a researcher for Poland’s Warsaw Trade Office in Taipei. And he traveled last summer to Chile and Argentina to explore the impact of Chinese economic investment there. He presented his preliminary findings at Duke University’s China Leadership Summit.

Marcin hopes to earn a Ph.D. and teach at a university, focusing on South-South relations. “I have noticed that many fields tend to be dominated by Western-centric theories and ways of thinking,” he writes. “As a professor, I hope to explore various political concepts from a perspective of East Asia and Latin America.

“A holistic, interdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning fosters compassion,” he adds, “and broadens horizons of both students and educators.”