Haitong Du, A22

School: Arts and Sciences 
Degree: Bachelor of Arts in International Relations  
Next move: Working toward an M.Phil in International Relations at Oxford University 

 

What have you learned about yourself during your time at Tufts that surprises you? 

In high school, I was deeply interested in subjects connected to international relations: world politics, Model United Nations, history. I came to Tufts expecting to diversify and pursue other interests—and it surprised me that I got even more involved in IR. Now, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life. My Tufts experiences—from the classes I have taken to the people I have met to my study abroad programs—only got me more hooked. 

It also surprised me that, through my studies, I became simultaneously more pessimistic and more optimistic, the former because I grasped the sheer complexity and number of problems in the world, and I found myself asking if this is the best that human beings collectively can do; the latter because I felt significantly better equipped to analyze the problems and more hopeful about the roles I might someday play in helping to find solutions.  

What was a course you took that had a big impact on you? 

Education for Public Inquiry and International Citizenship (EPIIC). It’s a yearlong course that I took as a sophomore. The course is taught not only by the professor but also by a wide range of experts in the field who come in and discuss different aspects of particular issues. The year I took it, the focus was on preventing genocide and mass atrocities. In the second semester, as students, we got to organize a symposium, setting up panel discussions and inviting researchers to come work with us. What I loved most about the course was that we were given so much trust and the liberty to fully explore the depths and complexities of issues. Plus, we connected with participants globally; as an international student, I appreciated that knowledge was shared across borders and from beyond the United States.   

What’s your favorite place on campus? 

I have to name three. First, the kitchen of the French House, where I live. I have a minor in French, and I cook every day, often with my francophone housemates. What I love most about cooking is the way it juxtaposes with my main studies. International Relations involves trying to understand causes and effects that are not immediately apparent. On the other hand, with cooking, if you toss salt into a pot of soup, the soup is guaranteed to get saltier. I appreciate that my kitchen helps create balance in my life.  

Second, Kindlevan Café. I’m a student supervisor with Tufts Dining, and I work at the café’s register several hours per week. I love it there, because I encounter so many different people in the Tufts community I wouldn’t ever meet otherwise. I appreciate having that exposure to the community. And doing work that requires me to just follow instructions or complete repetitive tasks is how I meditate. The counter at the Kindlevan Café gives me that.  

Finally, the roof of Tisch Library. Every week, when I’m reflecting on what’s happened, what I’ve accomplished, what’s taken up my attention, I go to the roof and listen to music. I try to find a theme song for the week and I listen to it while looking out over the Boston skyline. I imagine how people might interact in that massive space; it’s one of the ways in which I try to figure out my place in the world.  

For full Commencement 2022 coverage, please visit now.tufts.edu/commencement-2022.

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