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An International Student’s Perspective of Pepperdine School of Public Policy

School of Public Policy Alumni Aotian Zheng

 

I came to the Pepperdine School of Public Policy (SPP) to seek not only a degree, but a place that can intellectually and professionally elevate my knowledge to suit my desired career path as a scholar and policy consultant in international relations. In the end, SPP offered more than my expectations. It is not only a place that offers education and knowledge, but also the cultivation of my character as a young intellectual. As an international student, my experience at SPP is truly sublime. I am from ShenYang(沈阳),which is located in Liao Ning(辽宁)province of People's Republic of China. Besides the beautiful sea sight of Malibu, SPP is a school with a strong sense of identity and fully dedicated to its mission.

Five things I experienced while attending SPP:

• Intellectual interactions with the faculty and classmates in a wide range of topics from econometric methodology to philosophical debate.

• Systematically studied and interacted within the political environment in the United States, which offers a great advantage in my future career.

• Professional and academic events that introduced me to policymakers, professionals, and activists in different fields, from city managers to military strategists.

• Learned to become a problem solver with practical skills to face immediate challenges.

• Became motivated to think as a historian, econometrician, and philosopher to evaluate the long-term utility and morality of future decisions.

School of Public Policy Alumni Aotian Zheng Hugging Other Student

 

As a recent graduate who specialized in international relations, I am not only trained with a higher level of intellectual instrument in both quantitative and qualitative fields, but also encouraged to discuss topics beyond the instrumental knowledge—the intellectual responsibility in econometric study, the prudence of policy decision, the virtue of persuasion, and the morality of serving the community as a policymaker. SPP teaches you about viewpoint diversity in the classrooms and at events, and you find the value and virtue behind every argument from the faculty. Viewpoint diversity is what makes SPP so special. It is a school that is not only willing to adapt to the constant changes of realities in our society, but also have a strong and unshakable moral ground as an institution that stays true to its mission—to cultivate policymakers who not only care about the best interest of the community they serve, but also respect the right of the community to choose their own way of life.

I can confidently say that I am proud of the two years I spent with SPP. It is an institution that prepared me for the greater challenges I will face in the next step of my career. Moreover, It strengthened my determination to pursue a purposeful and virtuous life as a young intellectual—a gift for which I will be forever grateful.