When Thinking Globally Is a Family Affair
Isaiah Schulze is studying International Political Economy in the School of Foreign Service, focusing intensely on China in his studies. He’s also carrying on something of a family tradition.
An SFS dean described Schulze as someone who could be a key figure in U.S.-China relations someday.
Schulze – a rising senior – was preceded at Georgetown by one of his brothers, a five-year BSFS/MSFS student who went on to work at a private equity firm in Côte d'Ivoire. Another brother started his own business in Beijing. In fact, Schulze says he and all six of his siblings look at global engagement as “one of the things that drives” the family. “It’s this desire get out of your local context and go and see the world – work overseas, travel as much as possible,” he says.
His family’s outlook was key as Schulze contemplated spending a full year of high school with a host family in Beijing. “I went kind of as a way to get out of a small town, but I ended up just loving China,” he says. It was the first of four trips, and as this newsletter went to press, Schulze expected that he would return for a fifth time over the summer. “After you’re there enough, it almost feels like home – ‘I know this place.’ It’s amazing to feel at home in a foreign country,” Schulze says.
Atop Schulze’s interests is the Chinese language. “It’s an incredibly difficult language, and you need to keep throwing yourself into it,” he says, noting that additional training could help him in enrolling directly in a Chinese university for a time prior to when he earns his Georgetown degree. An SFS dean who praised Schulze’s work ethic described him as someone who could be a key figure in U.S.-China relations someday.
Schulze says his sense is that from the private sector to the diplomatic world, there’s interest in those who fit the profile of “China expert.” “I want to have an academic and a ground-level perspective,” he says. At the same time, he appreciates the broad-based international study fostered by SFS and Georgetown as a whole – noting that his theology classes have been formative and that the core curriculum connects students to topics they might not choose on their own. More than anything, though, he is grateful that his parents encouraged him to think globally. They still do, he says: “They’ve been pretty supportive of my independent adventure.”