As a University of Georgia Foundation Fellow, Logan Krusac has traveled to England, Germany, and Spain, but it’s clear that his two visits to China made the biggest impact on him.
“It was actually one long trip,” says Logan, whose yearlong stay in small-town China was made possible by State Department Critical Language and Boren scholarships. “I came back for a few weeks in December and January, but it was part of a long experience. With those scholarships, I was able to go abroad for a year and study Chinese and do some broad-based research on environmental issues, particularly the water crisis, there.
“I decided against studying in Beijing or Shanghai and spent the year in three very different parts of China. I also had a chance to travel to more than 25 different cities, towns, and villages, including a month in the countryside, which is where I learned the most about China. I was traveling by myself or with my Chinese friends, and through that I learned more than I did in the classroom.”
Logan’s time in China had such an influential effect that he decided to switch his career focus from immigration issues to playing a supporting role in improving relations between the United States and China.
“I am interested in immigration, but after my experience in China, I’m leaning more towards working on the China-US relationship,” says Logan, who will graduate in May with a degree in political science, a minor in Mandarin Chinese and a certificate in global studies. “I envision a career in the State Department and maybe I can merge my interests in immigration and China to work on exchange programs, particularly with government officials. For students who have previously studied in the United States, their view of America and what we stand for is more favorable than those of people who have grown up in China and have only heard what the media had to say.
“Exchanges are important – there’s a deep misunderstanding on both sides as to what the other country stands for. If we can clear that up, we can be more like partners as we pursue major goals and aspirations for the 21st century, instead of seeing each other as adversaries.”
A Dean William Tate Honor Society and Blue Key Honor Society member, Logan will spend his final year at UGA working at the International Center of the Carl Vinson Institute for Government, studying with local elected officials from China, and instead of attending law school after graduation will pursue a master’s degree in public policy.
This past summer found Logan in the UGA Honors in Washington program, interning with the international law and public policy consultation firm McKenna Long & Aldridge. While in Washington, he worked on an alternative energy project and was able to spend time sitting in on various “think tank” sessions on topics that interested him.
“Before this experience, I was pretty set on law school, but now I’m looking into going to grad school to study public policy instead and approaching these issues from that angle,” says Logan, who also served in student government while on the UGA campus. “At one point, I thought I had an interest in a big career in Congress, but I’ve gotten so frustrated with the debt crisis I think I’d rather approach things from a public policy perspective and tackle issues from there.”
Logan is most appreciative of the Honors and Foundation Fellowship programs, primarily for the “human resources” he’s been exposed to.
“It’s definitely been the most central aspect of my UGA experience,” says Logan, who met close to a dozen Foundation Fellow alumni in Washington. “The community that develops within the Fellowship is just great. If somebody asked me what’s the best resource of the Foundation Fellowship, I’d say, ‘The money is great, the free food is great, the retreats are great, and the travel is great, but absolutely, the best resource is the people.’
“More important are the people the Foundation Fellowship connects you with, whether it’s a dinner seminar host or a mentor to meet with you. I’ve realized you can try to do so much on your own, but if you don’t have the people to guide you along the way, it’s extremely difficult. That network of Fellows and Honors is always there for you.”
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