Students in Duke Kunshan’s undergraduate degree program declare a major toward the end of their second year, providing them the time to explore a diverse range of interests. John Aniekan Lewis ’22 from Lagos, Nigeria, explains his reasons for choosing political economy (economics track).
John Aniekan Lewis says his life’s mission has been to understand the political environment
What major did you have in mind when you enrolled at DKU?
I’ve always been interested in anything in the political field with an aspect of economics. I studied economics for four years before starting college, and from the first class, I realized that it was something I would love to take up further.
Growing up in Nigeria, I witnessed firsthand the ways and mannerisms by which our politicians play a huge role in changing and affecting our lives, and then (as seen in most of Africa) how they fail to live up to the expectations they set for themselves. More often than not, these failures prove costly to the livelihoods of those who elect them into the offices they uphold.
I’ve made it my life’s mission to understand the political environment; not just as a bystander but by partaking in it actively, with the hope of changing the narrative for good. Most importantly, to be able to use public resources appropriately and work toward making people’s lives better.
What DKU courses do you feel have had the greatest impact on you?
The courses that have really stood out for me and have had the biggest impact on my overall learning experience so far are Global China, Chinese, and Political Economy 201 and 301. To begin with, Global China helped me understand to a certain extent Chinese philosophy and way of thinking in a diplomatic or political environment. I found this very useful, as I know that in pursuit of my future ambitions in politics, China is most definitely going to be a key part of my journey. Understanding its history will be pivotal to understanding how to relate to the Chinese government and people when the time is right.
Similarly, learning Chinese has been a life-changing experience for me. I must admit, when I first heard I was going to learn Chinese (arguably the hardest language in the world) I was scared that it wouldn’t turn out that well. However, it’s been an experience I would qualify as “pure bliss.” I have never had so much fun and felt so much joy learning a new language as when I am in my Chinese classes. This experience has helped me learn a lot about myself and to grow. I have realized that by putting in a concerted effort to perform to my full capability, I can achieve the things I set out for myself. That is what has happened between me and learning Chinese.
In addition, my two political economy classes so far have been amazing. These classes combine my two passions and present them in a way that is enlightening, insightful and engaging. I have been able to learn so much about the international political environment and systems that will definitely prove useful as I pursue a future career in the field.
Did you ever consider an alternative major?
No, I knew for the start that I want to work in the field of political science and economics. However, my advisor and professors helped me streamline my interests and passions to be able to choose the right major for me.
What were the main reasons behind your decision to major in political economy?
After careful analysis and review of the other great choices and majors available to me, I knew this was the right one. As of now, my post-graduation plans are not yet clear, but I plan to work at a couple of firms to understand the corporate world before continuing my education in pursuit of a Ph.D.
What do you feel are the benefits of a liberal arts education?
A liberal arts education has been great for me. It has helped me explore major areas, and interdisciplinary course, thus giving me a broad array of knowledge and information that will surely prove vital moving forward. It has also given me the opportunity to express myself and be free in the academic environment, thus allowing me to explore my passions and interests to my complete satisfaction.
Find out more about Duke Kunshan’s undergraduate degree program.