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CIDE Graduate Student Profiles

CIDE Student Profiles | CIDE Programs

Merritt WilsonMerritt Wilson

Master's Student
Expected Graduation: December 2015
Hometown: Madison, Wisconsin

Previous Education

Areas of Interest


I've been interested in China for as long as I can remember. Although I studied Spanish during my formative years, when I had the opportunity to learn Chinese as an undergraduate student I was elated. Eventually, I transitioned from majoring in piano performance to majoring in Chinese. The years of self-discipline, memorization, and melody that comprised my piano studies were extremely helpful as I learned to master a new, tonal language. After graduation, I spent four years living and working in Beijing, first translating white papers detailing development in China and then working in marketing/business development for an American engineering company. However, my true passion was in education. When I made the decision to return to the United States, I was thrilled to be offered a position at the University of Minnesota China Center, working with Chinese delegations coming to the U for professional development training. This position not only provides me with the opportunity to continue speaking Chinese on a daily basis, but also the chance for continued growth in intercultural competence.

Since beginning the program in Comparative and International Development Education, I have noticed great changes occurring in my world perspective and the way in which I interact with international populations, not least of which are the Chinese training delegations. In addition to my love for China, I gained a keen interest in the Middle East after traveling to Israel and Jordan in 2013; I hope to expand my knowledge base in intercultural communication and competence in order to further my career in the field of international education and make a positive impact at the university.

Revised June 2015