"By resolving to study abroad, I opened myself to a new world."

Max Zimmerman '15

Major: Asian Studies

Hometown: New York, NY

Why did you choose Cornell?

Lost in the maze of choices a high school senior is faced with I decided to take the path where I felt I could stumble into any field at the highest level possible. Certainly Asian Studies was not on my college application, but it seems my intuition was right this time.

What is your main Cornell extracurricular activity -- why is it important to you?

My main extracurricular activity is working for the Cornell Community and Learning Service Partnership (CLASP), as well as my time at Engaged Learning and Research (EL+R). Although I was just a work study, it has in a short time greatly impacted my thinking and appreciation of others. At CLASP, we facilitate mutual learning partnerships with Cornell non-faculty staff and has helped me connect to a part of the Cornell community students rarely, if ever, are aware of.

What was your most profound turning point while at Cornell?

My most profound turning point was when my advisor urged me to study abroad unaffiliated. As an Asian Studies major, I naturally needed to go to Asia. By resolving to go it alone, not with Cornell's assistance, I opened myself to a new world. Highly recommend it. 

What, if any, Cornell-related scholarships/special financial benefits did you receive?

Thanks to the Johnson Summer Travel Grant I was able to take my first three week trip to Japan to confirm my interests. Some of the most profound three weeks I have experienced.

What accomplishments/activities are you most proud of while at Cornell?

Senior Honors thesis and conducting research in Japanese.

Who or what influenced your Cornell education the most? How or why?

Probably my advisor Jane Marie Law, although there are many honorable mentions but I will refrain from listing them. Professor Law in her own way has helped me to not give in to external pressures and has fostered a resolve in me to do what it is that I want. And her Introduction to Japan class is probably the reason I am an Asian Studies major.

How did any of your beliefs or interests change during your time at Cornell?

Scared of travel --> Asia enthusiast (they may not be mutually exclusive... but it is hard to reconcile)

What do you value about your liberal arts education?

The ability to take a term off to NOT go to school and travel have that be considered the best educational experience by my own professors.

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