28 March 2024

Finding Community with the CEAS

Vice President of the Contemporary East Asia Studies Initiative (CEAS) and Masters student in the MINT programme, Patrick Anderseck shares his experience finding the student initiative and community that plays an important role in his life at the Geneva Graduate Institute. 

Coming to the Geneva Graduate Institute, I attended a  student initiative fair at the beginning of the semester, where you could find all kinds of initiatives with topics ranging from simply enjoying being active outdoors or dancing Salsa to issues of migration or decolonisation. Despite the overwhelming diversity of activities and events presented, one initiative in particular caught my attention: The Contemporary East Asia Studies Initiative, CEAS for short, which showed a great mix of social and cultural events, as well as more academic and career-focused events. It was exactly what I had been looking for.

Before coming to the Institute for my graduate studies, I studied at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland, during which I had the opportunity to go on exchange to the Chung-Ang University in Seoul, South Korea for one year. Through my time in Seoul, I developed a growing interest in East Asian culture, society, and politics. Coming back to Switzerland, I wrote my Bachelor’s thesis on the impacts of a Korean reunification, and I knew I wanted to dive deeper into the workings of this region. Therefore, looking for an initiative that focuses on that region was an easy way to engage with this topic.

Every week, CEAS hosts Mahjong Nights, which is a great opportunity to exchange with so many different people who are interested in East Asia (and a fun and addictive game). A few Mahjong nights in, and I decided to formally join the initiative. I took on the role of Careers Projects Coordinator and, subsequently, Vice President.

I joined during a period of change where most of the existing board, including the President and Vice Presidents, had to leave the initiative, and we were left with a board that consisted largely of new members. This left us with the challenge (but also the freedom) to restructure and redesign CEAS to our understanding.

As I joined, I got to help out with CEAS’ flagship event: the Geneva Forum on East Asia. This week-long event consisted of an opening ceremony with a keynote speech by the Thai Ambassador, panel discussions, an academic session, a documentary screening, and a closing (K-Pop) party. We ended the semester with an Academic Coffee Chat with an expert on field work and a bustling Karaoke Night.

For me, joining CEAS gave me an opportunity to work on topics I am passionate about and see the actual effects of my efforts in practice. But best of all, CEAS gives us all an excuse to host many different dinners and potlucks, so I get to try a ton of new food. My journey with CEAS will continue with academic and career fire-side chats, speed dating with alumni, and many more events that are in the planning.  


Learn more about the Contemporary East Asia Studies Initiative

CEAS End of Semester Karaoke Night