An NYU Shanghai senior has won a full-tuition Erasmus Mundus Scholarship to pursue graduate studies in industrial dynamics and sustainability. Jacky Huang ’23 will use his award to study for a Jointly Conferred International Master’s (JCIM) degree from three universities across Scotland, Spain, and Japan, thanks to the Global Markets, Local Creativities (GLOCAL) program.
Sponsored by the European Union, the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship promotes cooperation among top higher education institutions in the world, and gives students from both EU and non-EU countries the opportunity to take multidisciplinary courses at a different school each semester.
Huang, who graduates this month with a degree in Social Science and a concentration in Urban Studies, will head to the University of Glasgow in Scotland and the Universitat de Barcelona in Spain for his first academic year in the GLOCAL program. In fall 2024, he will move to Kyoto University in Japan, where he will spend the whole academic year as he finishes his thesis.
“GLOCAL encompasses a lot of universities in different countries, and it’s important for me as an urban studies student to have this diverse perspective and learn from different cultural backgrounds,” Huang said. He added that he looks forward to the economics courses at the program and field trips to large enterprises in Japan, which will complement his undergraduate studies on the social and environmental aspects of sustainability.
“Erasmus Mundus is a fantastic opportunity for students from around the world to pursue fully-funded graduate study across Europe, in specialized Masters programs and transnational consortiums,” said Director of Global Awards and Scholarships Anna Kendrick. “I’m thrilled that Jacky will be NYU Shanghai’s fifth Erasmus Mundus Scholar, with his interest in urban studies and sustainability joining those of our alumni pursuing subjects as diverse as urban studies, evolutionary biology and Central and Eastern European studies.”
Huang hopes to strike a balance in his research between the economic needs of cities and the well-being of residents. He has been interested in this topic since his first year at NYU Shanghai, when he researched an urban village in China as part of a competition on sustainable community design. “I was thinking about how we can protect this local culture from economic influences,” Huang said. “Cities always want to build their global image, but sometimes they are not doing it correctly, which leads to social injustices like displacement.”
Huang (second from left) with friends on campus in his first year at NYU Shanghai.
Huang said that he feels he has grown tremendously over four years at NYU Shanghai. “I was not very open-minded when thinking about cultural differences, but now I think more about class and gender dynamics,” he said. He attributes this to courses that he took — above all, the required Global Perspectives on Society. “I didn’t get a very good grade, but I gained a new insight into many different social issues from talking with my classmates and professor,” Huang said.
He added that support from NYU Shanghai faculty has been instrumental to his success, including Assistant Professor of Urban Science and Policy ChengHe Guan, who taught him quantitative analysis, and Assistant Professor of Practice in Environmental Studies Travis Klingberg, who introduced him to environmentalism in China. From Assistant Professor of Sociology Jia Miao, Huang sought advice on graduate applications and inspiration for his thesis on the impacts of a heat wave in Chongqing.
Miao, who taught Huang in her “Research Method for Social Sciences” and “Urban Sociology” classes, said that Huang’s self-motivation impressed her. “He has an intellectual curiosity regarding today’s most pressing social problems and ways to potentially solve them,” she said. “He is always willing to apply the knowledge and skills he learned in class to real-life situations.”
Huang said he hopes the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship will prepare him for a career in sustainability in East Asia, whether as a consultant or working at an international organization. “I think, ultimately, that I am attached to the cultural environment in East Asia,” Huang said. “This place is my home, and I want to do something that can benefit it.”
Learn more about scholarship opportunities from the NYU Shanghai’s Global Awards & Fellowships office.