North America, USA, Grand Rapids (MI)
My name is Eric Bratt and I hail from Grand Rapids, MI, USA. At present I am a first-year MA student in political science at National Taiwan University (NTU) in Taipei, Taiwan. Prior to my matriculation at NTU, I spent three years living in Harbin, China. During my first year I conducted Fulbright research on the Manchu ethnic minority at Heilongjiang University. For the two years thereafter, I worked for the CET Harbin Chinese Language Program at the Harbin Institute of Technology. In 2009 I graduated from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, USA and earned degrees in Asian Studies, History, and German. In addition to my time in China and Taiwan, I lived in Helmstedt, Germany for a year in 2004-2005, spent a semester abroad in Beijing in 2006 and in Budapest in 2007.
My MA concentration at NTU is in international relations. Thus far I have taken particular interest in Sino-American relations, South East Asian international relations, and the effect of globalization in Taiwan. For my masters thesis I plan on researching the role that environmental issues play in the relationship between China and the United States.
In my spare time I enjoy reading, traveling, athletics, hiking, bicycle riding, and foreign languages. David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Franzen, Günter Grass, and Peter Hessler are some of my favorite authors.
Even though I enjoy living in the United States, I have learned a great deal from the different people and cultures I have encountered along the way. It goes without saying that the Change Course Conference will prove to be enlightening, enriching, and enjoyable!