Samuel Galler '12

Samuel Galler '12

Harvard College ’12 (Quincy House)
A.B., East Asian Studies
A.M., RSEA '12

Samuel Galler remembers “stumbling into EAS as a concentration,” as a result of his interest in Chinese language and culture. His initial interest quickly transitioned from a few electives as part of a Social Studies concentration to his main field of study, and comprised the majority of the courses he took as an undergrad. Concentrating in EAS definitely shaped Sam’s professional aspirations. He will continue studying advanced Chinese in Taiwan following the completion of his PhD at Oxford, and he plans on working in Asia in the future. As an EAS concentrator, Sam was involved in some of the Asian cultural organizations on campus, and also benefited from support from the Asia Center and the Fung Scholarship for research and language study. Additionally, he attended the Harvard-Beijing Academy Summer School in 2009, which was a terrific experience. These resources expanded his understanding of China and inspired new possibilities for professional and academic life after college.

EAS provided a pathway for Sam to build a career in his field and has opened up many doors, including job opportunities in different fields in Asia. The combination of excellently taught language courses and applied ethnographic research that he conducted within EAS has equipped him with the skills necessary to work at a high professional level in China. In fact, his area of research at Oxford involves long field trips to China, which are extensions of topics and questions that arose during his time at Harvard. Among the Harvard Alumni who Sam met around the world were many wonderful mentors and advisors, and he was very grateful to attend Harvard Club events in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong when doing fieldwork. He highly recommends EAS as a concentration to anyone considering working or studying in Asia at an advanced level, noting the inspiring faculty, wide variety of courses and supportive community of students and alumni.

For someone with a specific interest in another field, Sam emphasizes that it’s possible to take sufficient courses related to that concentration and still major in East Asian Studies, since the concentration is flexible and interdisciplinary. EAS can be customized to fit a variety of interests, and he feels very lucky to have had the opportunity to travel and conduct research abroad. Sam notes that his life would be “unrecognizable” had he not concentrated in EAS.