Hi! I’m Andrew.
I just finished my semester at Fujian Normal University 福建師範大學 on a Fulbright U.S. Student Research Fellowship to study contemporary tea culture in southeast China.
Tea has always been a part of my life. Growing up in a family with Teochew ancestry, tea was always the default drink—especially oolong. However, it was not until college that I began to look deeper into the beverage, and even then it was a bit forced.
I remember struggling to find a topic to research the summer after my second year at Pomona College. Despite my professor’s interest in food research, I had no such interest. Exasperated, I decided that I could settle with tea.
After a summer of reading about the development of ritualized tea culture in medieval Japan, I began my semester abroad in Kyoto, where I began to experience tea rather than simply read about it. I found myself increasingly interested in the topic, and when I returned to California, I decided I liked it enough to make a senior thesis out of it.
And so, I wrote my thesis on the development of loose-leaf tea culture in Ming dynasty China. Along the way, I applied for various programs and decided to pursue a fellowship that would allow me to visit the locations I read so much about while researching for my thesis.
If I’m not drinking tea, you can find me practicing calligraphy in Chinese or Sanskrit (Siddham), playing guqin, appreciating incense, or reading classical poetry.