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A Life Changed by an Experience Abroad

An international relations major and Army ROTC student rises to challenges on the field and steps into a global classroom.
Portrait of Brian Bauer in Maxwell. Click to read his story.

When he’s not busy with his schoolwork, Army ROTC, his fraternity and the Forever Orange Student Alumni Council, Brian Bauer gives back to the community through his involvement with the American Red Cross Club.

Brian Bauer ’22 has never been one to back down from a challenge. Whether it is the physical exertion from 6 a.m. training sessions with his fellow Army ROTC cadets at Syracuse University or learning a new language, Bauer enjoys pushing himself to his limits.

The junior from Ocean Township, New Jersey, is studying international relations at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and Chinese language through the College of Arts and Sciences. Since arriving at Syracuse, he’s taken advantage of many opportunities presented to him—he joined Army ROTC, where he learns discipline; he’s a member of a fraternity, which has expanded his social circle; and he is a member of the American Red Cross Club, which helps him give back to the community.

Bauer is on the Forever Orange Student Alumni Council, which has connected him with alumni and shown him the power of the Syracuse University network. He’s received career advice from alumni who are now lawyers, and he was set up with an internship in Hong Kong through an alumnus. “It’s nice to know alumni and learn how much they do for the school,” he says. “You get an idea of what helps Syracuse become Syracuse.”

Being part of the Syracuse University community is about representing something bigger than yourself.

Brian Bauer ’22

These opportunities were made possible in part by the Gloria and Sidney Danziger Scholarship and the Syracuse Army ROTC Scholarship, both of which Bauer received.

“Having a scholarship makes you realize how lucky you are,” he says. “To be able to go to a great institution like Syracuse and not have financial burden on top of that really helps me focus on my studies.”

Studying in Hong Kong

One of the most meaningful experiences Bauer had was studying abroad in Hong Kong, which provided him the opportunity to test his Chinese language skills in a real-world setting. He says one of the reasons he wanted to study international relations at the Maxwell School—besides the school and program’s stellar reputation—was the school’s emphasis on studying abroad. He also utilized the alumni network to secure an internship at the Ogilvy public relations firm while there. His time in the Middle Kingdom did not disappoint. He took classes in Mandarin (which he got to practice while in Beijing), religions in Asia, and business economics, and he was able to complete his ROTC work virtually.

Bauer was struck by how geographically diverse the area is. “It was such a new, clean city in the middle, downtown and central. The more you go out, you see a lot of southern Chinese Hong Kong culture. Then you go out even further, and it's almost like Hawaii—a tropical kind of paradise. It was always warm, and the beaches were pristine with these beautiful trees. The aesthetic appeal of Hong Kong was absolutely incredible.”

Having experience with different cultures and Mandarin will help if I want to work in that region of the world one day.

Brian Bauer ’22

Bauer was disappointed by having to leave about a month earlier than scheduled due to protests in the city at the time, but that living through that type of history was unforgettable. Through the experience, he made a connection with one of his Maxwell School professors who studied abroad in Russia during the fall of the Soviet Union.

Prior to his departure, Bauer made the most of his time abroad in his signature seminar. The program allowed him to visit some historic places, including the Great Wall of China and a tea house and a rice paddy in Malaysia. In between studying and trips to Beijing, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Tokyo, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, he made sure to sample as much of the food as possible. He loved being able to immerse himself in the culture, and found the entire experience rewarding. Bauer is interested in working in another country after graduation and knows that his time abroad will be an asset. “Having experience with different cultures and Mandarin will help if I want to work in that region of the world one day,” he says.

Serving his Country and Community Now and Beyond

Brian Bauer poses for an informal portrait

Bauer is looking forward to joining the Army in either infantry or military intelligence upon graduation and plans to eventually attend law school and transition into the U.S. Army Reserve.

Bauer has always had the “urge to serve” his country. For his fifth-grade class, he had to write what his career goal was, and he said he wanted to be an officer in the Army. But it wasn’t until he received the Army ROTC scholarship that he really could put that dream into motion. Being a scholarship recipient made him want to work even harder to prove that the selection committee made the right decision. “All those strangers who were part of that Army family who have invested in me really make me push myself to do well,” he says.

When Bauer graduates, he will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He’s given a lot of thought to what he wants to do in the Army, with either infantry or military intelligence being his top choices. “I would like to utilize what I study, so it would be rewarding to be able to utilize my knowledge of Chinese in the Army,” he says.

Bauer plans to be fully active duty for at least four years, then plans to attend law school and eventually practice law, while possibly serving part time in the Army Reserve. He’d love to practice international law, which would give him the opportunity to explore the world and work with people from different backgrounds and cultures.

It’s nice to know alumni and learn how much they do for the school.

Brian Bauer ’22

Also in his long-term plans is giving back to the Orange community that has given him so much. “I feel like I’m part of a big family that’s been around for 150 years,” he says. “I want to support students and let them know that being part of the Syracuse University community is about representing something bigger than yourself. It’s not just about donning that big S or bright orange shirt. You’re part of a family.”

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Also of Interest

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Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs

The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs is Syracuse University’s home for innovative, interdisciplinary teaching and research in the social sciences, public policy, public administration and international relations. It includes America’s #1 ranked graduate program in public affairs, offering highly regarded professional degrees alongside advanced scholarly degrees in the social sciences, and it is home to undergraduate programs across the full spectrum of social sciences.

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