Ryan Goehrung is a recipient of the Summer 2018 Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship. The award provides undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students with financial support to develop fluency in less commonly taught languages (LCTLs) and expertise in the regions in which these languages are spoken. Every year the Center for Global Studies awards between 12-15 fellowships to UW students. Click here to learn more.
As a PhD Candidate in the Department of Political Science with a professional background in International Development, I study global phenomena that are relevant to policy makers, governments, and activists, particularly in the Asian region. A primary focus of my research is on forced migration and human trafficking. As a former Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines, I developed fluency in Tagalog (Filipino), but as my research deals with flows of migrants across borders, I knew I needed to gain fluency in another Asian language in order to conduct cross-national research. I was awarded a Summer FLAS Fellowship through the Center for Global Studies to begin intensively learning Mandarin (Chinese) on the UW campus. The FLAS helped me gain foundational competency in Mandarin, so that I can continue to study this language over the course of my PhD program. By the time I reach my dissertation stage, my goal is to have achieved fluency so that I can conduct research on human trafficking flows from the Philippines to Taiwan. This research, which would not be possible without the language training provided by the FLAS program, will provide a better understanding of human trafficking so that we can develop informed decisions about how to best address this transnational crime.