Critical Language Scholarship Program | Noah Lerner
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Noah Lerner

Noah par­tic­i­pat­ed in the CLS advanced Chi­nese pro­gram in Guangzhou in the sum­mer of 2014 after his sopho­more year at Amherst Col­lege. Even after liv­ing in Chi­na for a year pri­or, the CLS Pro­gram had a great impact on advanc­ing his Chi­nese lan­guage pro­fi­cien­cy. After return­ing to the Unit­ed States and grad­u­at­ing with a bach­e­lors’ degree in Biol­o­gy and East Asian Stud­ies, he worked in Bei­jing for sev­er­al years with the Nat­ur­al Resources Defense Coun­cil (NRDC), an inter­na­tion­al envi­ron­men­tal non-prof­it through the Prince­ton-in-Asia Fel­low­ship Pro­gram. Noah was one of just a few Amer­i­cans in the office, and his abil­i­ty to do his job was depen­dent on his lan­guage skills. 

I land­ed the job in large-part due to my Chi­nese lan­guage skills, which were cement­ed through the CLS Pro­gram. As a result of my work at NRDC, I became inter­est­ed in clean ener­gy and cli­mate pol­i­cy — inter­ests that have helped to define my cur­rent pro­fes­sion­al trajectory.”

While in Bei­jing, Noah co-found­ed and host­ed Envi­ron­ment Chi­na, a bilin­gual Chi­nese envi­ron­men­tal affairs pod­cast. The pod­cast aims to build con­nec­tions among the com­mu­ni­ty of envi­ron­men­tal advo­cates and inno­va­tors in Bei­jing and inspire local and inter­na­tion­al lis­ten­ers to take action and be more informed. This pod­cast con­tin­ues to give Amer­i­cans a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive about what ini­tia­tives are being tak­en in Chi­na to com­bat glob­al cli­mate change oth­er than what is wide­ly shown in the media.

The Environment China podcast team hosting a live recording at the Beijing Bookworm International Literary Festival.

Years after the CLS Pro­gram, Noah is still pur­su­ing the same set of inter­ests. He is a joint-degree MBA and Mas­ters’ of Envi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment stu­dent at Yale Uni­ver­si­ty focus­ing on how inno­v­a­tive busi­ness mod­els can help accel­er­ate the glob­al tran­si­tion to low-car­bon infra­struc­ture. While he does not cur­rent­ly use Chi­nese in his every­day life, he is intent on find­ing ways to stay con­nect­ed. He serves as a Ker­ry Fel­low at Yale, assist­ing for­mer Sec­re­tary John Ker­ry with his pol­i­cy ini­tia­tives focused on cli­mate change and U.S.-China rela­tions. He also keeps in touch with many of his Chi­nese col­leagues, and recent­ly trav­eled back to Bei­jing to cel­e­brate the hol­i­days with his Chi­nese friends. After fin­ish­ing his degree, Noah plans to con­tin­ue to use his lan­guage skills in his pro­fes­sion­al career.

The rig­or­ous pace of the CLS Pro­gram gave me a strong Chi­nese lan­guage foun­da­tion, which has opened many doors for me, expos­ing me both to pro­fes­sion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties and mean­ing­ful rela­tion­ships. The immer­sive expe­ri­ence of being placed in a new city through the CLS Pro­gram has also trained me to be more adapt­able in oth­er parts of my life.” 


Alumni Profiles

Noah Lerner
Noah Lerner
Chinese 2014
Guangzhou, China

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Posted Date

January 30, 2020