Summer has ended (although it doesn’t feel like it yet in Boston) and school has just started again. I have completed my first week at Fletcher for the Fall semester and am starting to get back into the rhythms of being a student again. Perhaps the hardest part of this week was trying to figure out my schedule for the semester. The biggest problem was that I wanted to cross-register for classes at the Harvard Kennedy School, and signed up for four classes. The classes at HKS are great, and I am glad that Fletcher students have the opportunity to take them, but they are frustrating because it is hard to know which classes will have spots available. Some classes, like the ‘Making of a Politician’ with Professor Jarding or ‘Great Powers’ with Professor (and former undersecretary of state) Nick Burns are always oversubscribed and difficult even for HKS students to get into. I am happy to have been accepted into the ‘Negotiating U.S. Interests in East Asia’ course with professors John Park and Steven Bosworth. Professor Bosworth was the former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea and interestingly the former dean of the Fletcher School. This class will have lots of simulations and hopefully a different perspective to add to what I’ve learned already.
At the Fletcher School, I have decided to take Econometrics, Civil-Military Relations, and Internal Wars and Conflicts. I am excited about all three of these classes, if a little nervous about econometrics and trying to keep up with the math. Seeing friends and new students has been a good experience so far, as was the convocation that was held yesterday. At the convocation, the main speaker was Liu Xiaoming, the current Chinese Ambassador to London, and a Fletcher Alum. He is a very good speaker, and it seems that some of England has rubbed off into his accent. He was formerly the Ambassador to the DPRK, but unfortunately he didn’t go into detail about that. Also, some of what he talked about seemed to be mostly party line stuff about China’s peaceful rise, but overall a good speech.