Joining Worlds

Taking it to the next level– Returned Fellow Ricardo Barrios

IMG_5653Back from his year in the Middle Kingdom, Ricardo Barrios returns to us at the heart of Oberlin Shansi as this year’s Shansi Returned Fellow.

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Ricardo graduated from Oberlin in 2012 with majors in both East Asian Studies and Politics. During those four years, he spent most of his sophomore year in Beijing doing intensive language study at Capital University of Economics and Business—a trip that would prove to be a stepping stone on the road to his Shansi Fellowship at Beijing Normal University. It was also through the exposure that he experienced during his first trip to Beijing that he began to see beyond language study and feel drawn to the intricacies of contemporary Chinese politics and society. When asked why he holds such strong fascination for Chinese language, he  responds “Because I like a challenge!”  Although he concentrated on Chinese language and Sinology, he has also studied other countries and regional affairs, as well as some basic Japanese.

As Shansi Fellow to Beijing Normal University, he spent most of his time balancing the school’s demanding student life with his responsibilities as a graduate-level English instructor. During the second semester, he merged his English classes with his love of discussion and taught an English course based on a selection of western philosophy texts. In his free time, Ricardo took part in martial arts and calligraphy classes taught at the university, and explored the countless restaurants and eateries to be found throughout the enormous city. As part of his Fellowship he also traveled through several provinces within China, as well as nearby Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.

Although he claims he will miss China—and its delicious plethora of regional specialties, specifically—Ricardo is extremely excited to be back in the idyllic plains of Oberlin, ready to push the position of Returned Fellow to the next level.  He considers his Returned Fellowship an opportunity to give back to Shansi, and is very enthused to continue spreading the word about the unique and exciting opportunities Oberlin Shansi provides both Obies and its partner institutions abroad.

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