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Intern Spotlight: Guanhua Nie


Guanhua Nie (chinese name)

My name is Guanhua Nie and I am currently an MSW student at University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) Luskin School of Public Affairs.


I was born in a small city in the northeast of China and was raised in a family that emphasizes much on diligence and education. When I was 18, I left my hometown and studied at Peking University in the capital of China, and like many students of my age, my parents helped me select my major. After studying at the English Department for one year, I realized language and literature were not my passion. I made a brave decision and took a gap year to explore my personal interests in various fields. Due to this experience, I also fell in love with traveling and I was keen to learn about different cultures. This is also one reason why I applied for international graduate programs after graduation.


Coming back to college after the gap year, I transferred my major to Sociology and chose Psychology as my minor. I finally discovered my passion for understanding human behaviors and my interest in providing human-related services. I was impressed by how psychological mechanisms and personal life experiences can shape the way individuals are and felt excited to learn how individual behavior interact with familiar, social, and cultural factors.

Hoping to work with children and youth, I first went to Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) to advance my knowledge in human development after graduating from college. Out of my intrinsic passion for clinical work, I came to UCLA Luskin to continue my second master’s degree in Social Welfare.


In the U.S., I was amazed by the fantastic prevention and intervention programs initiated by scholars and practitioners, and I was also introduced to the concept of cultural humiliation. As an international student who has studied and lived in multiple countries, I have the privilege to understand how social and cultural context might make some “successful models” ineffective for certain populations. To make local programs sustainable, scholars and practitioners need to become “the expert of being a non-expert.”