Everyone here truly loves what they do; they’re passionate and brave,” Guzdar says. “And this gratitude and joy is what I want to carry forward. I’ve seen that if you’re happy and excited about what you’re going to do, even if it’s really difficult or intimidating, that’s 90% of the battle.
In her first quarter at Stanford, Maya Guzdar decided to sign up for a Mandarin Chinese class. She was nervous about starting college, and the language felt familiar – she had been introduced to it as a fifth-grader in Buffalo, New York, and continued to take Mandarin classes throughout high school.
Then that fall quarter experiment at Stanford turned into four years of classes in international relations and human rights; research and internships in national security, including with the U.S. Department of Defense; a summer studying abroad in Shanghai; and a sharpening focus on a future career.
“I really think that U.S.-China relations are going to be the defining question of the next century,” Guzdar says, “and we need a more nuanced and thoughtful understanding of China as a country, of the Chinese Communist Party as government leadership, and of the Chinese people as individuals.”