Fulbright Scholar sets sights on career in foreign affairs

Caroline Fried, SSH’17, has received a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in Asia Pacific studies at Chengchi University in Taiwan this fall. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Caroline Fried focused much of her academic work at Northeastern on better understanding the Asia Pacific region—most specifically, Taiwan—and its cultural and political complexities. She points to her co-op last year at the Asia Society Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., as playing a critical role in her shaping a career path.

Fried spent six months performing research and compiling reports for the institute on topics such as economic, security, and gender policy. She followed the daily press as countries discussed and ratified the Trans-Pacific Partnership, kept tabs on the trade climate between the U.S. and Asia, and tracked developments on gender inequality within the private sector in various Asian countries.

Not only did she gain valuable hands-on experience, but she said being the only undergraduate intern working alongside graduate students pushed her to deliver high-caliber work equal to her peers. She also discovered what her next step had to be to achieve a career in foreign affairs. “Everyone around me either had a master’s degree or was working on one,” said Fried, SSH’17. “I realized that was what I needed.”

Fried, who was in the University Honors Program and graduated earlier this month as a double major in international affairs and history, is now on that track. In April, she earned a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in Asia Pacific studies at Chengchi University in Taiwan and launch a career working in foreign policy think tanks.

Caroline Fried, SSH’17, poses for a photo with President Joseph E. Aoun, right, and Provost James C. Bean at the Academic Honors Convocation in April, where she was recognized for receiving a Fulbright Scholarship. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

In her two-year master’s program, which begins in September, Fried will draw from and build upon several global experiences from her time at Northeastern. In 2013, she was selected to engage in a social entrepreneurship and development study program in Indonesia. In 2014, she participated in a five-week Dialogue of Civilizations program in China that focused on intensive language study. The following year, she received a Presidential Global Scholarship to work on global co-op at Dandelion Middle School in Beijing. As a full-time teaching assistant, Fried primarily taught English to ninth-graders. She said living on the campus of a school in a low-income migrant neighborhood taught her to adjust to a different lifestyle—that is, to serving the community as an outsider. But she added that she became deeply embedded in the community. Through these global experiences, she said, she learned to be culturally adaptive and to put aside any preconceived assumptions to better understand and thrive in new and different communities.

Immediately following her global co-op, Fried traveled to Taipei to spend three weeks conducting self-directed research on China-Taiwan relations. The project, which was supported by a Scholars Independent Research Fellowship from Northeastern, involved research at several local institutes and libraries, including Chengchi University.

Throughout her time at Northeastern, Fried sought to balance her rigorous and rewarding academic experiences by continuing her passion for dance. She joined the No Limits Dance Crew and also took up ballroom dancing. “I’ve been dancing since I was young,” she said. “It’s a creative outlet and a great way to get exercise, and I’m looking forward to finding more opportunities to continue dancing in Taiwan.”