Two Oberlin seniors who traveled to Asia to conduct research as
undergraduates will expand their work next year with the assistance
of the major Fulbright grants they've recently been awarded.
Nancy D. Nguyen, a second-generation Vietnamese American from
Houston, Texas, went to Vietnam in January 2002 under a Shansi-in-Asia
study grant to understand and experience the language and culture
This fall, the history and creative writing
major will return and broaden her focus. Dividing her time
between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, she will explore the work
of women writers, journalists, and activists during the French
colonization and the war against France (1945-1954) in the country's
"I am very thankful for this opportunity to access materials
not available in the United States," she says. "I am
particularly looking forward to working with Vietnamese historians
and a new generation of young, post-age Vietnamese like me."
Tobias Smith was born in Osaka, Japan, the son of East Asian scholars,
and lived in a number of countries in that region as a child. An
East Asian studies and philosophy major, he attended a Buddhist
immersion program at a monastery in Taiwan the summer after his
sophomore year. He was invited to return and help direct the program
the next summer, and he became interested in the order's
"A Shansi-in-Asia study grant allowed me to delve into the
beginnings of the group," he says. "The discovery that
their roots lie in early 20th-century China sparked my interest
and led to my applying for the Fulbright."
Smith will live and study at Fudan University in Shanghai, immersing
himself in three things he loves—"Mandarin Chinese,
Buddhism, and books," he says.
"I intend to visit historic monasteries in the region and
research the life and work of several progressive Chinese monks
who were active in the early 1900s."
An international educational program sponsored by the U.S. Department
of State and Department of Education, the Fulbright Program is designed
to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United
States and those from other countries. The program has provided more
than 250,000 participants with the opportunity to study and teach
in other countries, exchange ideas, and develop joint solutions to
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