Harvard-Yenching Institute Visiting Fellowship Programme by Ge Yun

The Harvard-Yenching Institute (HYI) fellowship is a great programme that I would recommend to all the FASS doctoral students. Although the program has emphasis on East Asian studies, the geographical focus is not a strict restriction. If any of you who are interested in the programme but hesitated because of this particular requirement, please reconsider. I have met fellows and scholars who are working on Burma, Philippines, Vietnam and India in the program. The HYI visiting fellowship program is well designed. Besides the general information that is available on the webpage of the institute, there are several things I would like to highlight. First, fellows of the programme enroll in the Graduate School of Arts and Science in Harvard University as special students. It means we have the access to most (if not all) of the university’s facilities such as mentorship, library, on-campus accommodation and gym. Second, the programme gives a large extent of freedom for fellows with different needs. I remember (may not be in the exact words) Professor Elizabeth Perry, the director of HYI, said this in the inaugural meeting, “you are the best person to decide how to use the year in Harvard.” As a student in the writing stage, I really appreciate the nice and quiet office space in Yenching. Many of us audit classes and actively participate in various workshops/seminars. Some of the students from the history department also travel around for archives and research materials. The best part I like about this programme is that the host institute is extremely supportive. As most of the fellows in the programme are not native English speakers, Yenching provides a subsidy for English language courses and proof-reading. In another example, a group of us voluntarily started a thesis writing workshop. The institute not only provided facility and financial support to run the workshop, it also helped us invite commenting professors. Last but not least, it is fun – with new friends, short trips and so on. We learnt this principle from the experience gained in the HYI program: play hard, work harder!



A group of fellows, in the living room of Yenching Institute


January ski trip organised by Yenching


With Professor Ezra Vogel (photo taken after the monthly China sociology seminar at his house)


Harvard Orchestra (performing before the undergraduate streaking at the Harvard Yard)


Me = pilot?


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