This winter term and summer, nine students will explore intellectually and socially engaging projects through an Oberlin Shansi In-Asia Grant.
Oberlin Shansi is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting understanding and communication between Oberlin and Asia. Founded in 1908, the program is one of the oldest educational exchange programs in the United States.
Executive Director Gavin Tritt characterizes the program as “a vital link between Oberlin and Asia.” It is also a valuable resource for students interested in global engagement, international careers, and other cultures.
The In-Asia Grant provides Oberlin College & Conservatory students $1,500 in support of creative initiatives in East Asia, Southeast Asia, or South Asia, including internships with non-governmental organizations, art explorations, environmental research, or other projects during winter term or summer.
Mohit Dubey ’18, Gloria Lewis ’18, Thu Le ’19, Laura Li ’18, Yan Yu ’18, Yasmine Ramachandra ’19, and Kirsten Mojziszek ’19 are this year’s winter term recipients. Yael Reichler ‘19 and Naomi Fireman ’19 will complete a joint project during the summer of 2017.
Winter Term 2017
Mohit Dubey ’18
A double-degree student majoring in classical guitar and physics, Dubey will spend his winter term tracing his Indian roots and performing, teaching, and studying classical guitar in several cities across India. Not only will Dubey perform at concerts and give master classes at schools in Hyderabad, but he will also immerse himself in studying Carnatic music at the Brhaddhvani School in Chennai. Upon his return to Oberlin, he plans to share his experience through a concert that features both Western classical and Carnatic music.
Gloria Lewis ’18
Lewis’ winter term will feature a cultural exchange with a focus on folk dance. She will travel with Dance Diaspora, Oberlin’s West African dance ensemble, to Madurai, India. There, Lewis and the other group members will collaborate with current Shansi fellow Vanessa Champagne at Lady Doak College. Dance Diaspora will later explore Mandinka dance, drumming, and the transatlantic slave trade in Bajul, Gambia. Through this project, Lewis looks forward to deepening her understanding of the Africana diaspora.
Laura Li ’18 and Yan Yu ’18
What is the contemporary youth and art scene in Beijing, and how do artists live and work? Laura Li and Yan Yu will spend January exploring this in China. Li and Yu will interview Beijing musicians and filmmakers and document the artists’ lives. The experience will culminate in a documentary film that will help shed light on youth culture and current art trends in Beijing.
Thu Le ’19
The Human Library is a project that enables volunteers from marginalized groups to act as human books and engage in one-on-one conversations with participants. It is also a project in which Thu Le has been heavily involved after organizing the first Human Library in Hanoi, Vietnam, last year. Le will return to the country during winter term to expand the project to Ho Chi Minh City and educate and challenge deep-rooted discrimination against underprivileged groups.
Yasmine Ramachandra ’19 and Kirsten Mojziszek ’19
As students on the pre-health track, Ramachandra and Mojziszek wanted to gain hands-on medical experience in a larger cultural context. To do this, the pair will travel to rural Mehsana, India, to volunteer at the Shiv Ganga Animal Helpline. There they will care for stray and injured animals and help with vaccinations and other basic tasks. When they return to Oberlin, they plan to begin a campus conversation about the varying levels of medical care for animals in foreign countries.
Yael Reichler ’19 and Naomi Fireman ’19
In Japanese culture, the practice of rice farming holds deep cultural significance. This summer, Reichler and Fireman will closely study this important aspect of Japan’s ancient food system. They will stay on a rice farm and observe the physical labor involved, the process, and the role that the local food system plays in Japanese culture. The two students hope their examination of environmental work in an international setting can ultimately inform the Oberlin community’s local food system.
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