John Rindone, Chinese (Mandarin)
John Rindone is an alumnus of the 2015 NSLI-Y Chinese program and an alumnus of the 2020-2021 Schwarzman Scholars cohort. He graduated from Georgetown University and recently accepted a role at the Department of the Treasury.
A native Brooklynite, John grew up in a multicultural environment that exposed him to Chinese culture from a young age, but his language-learning journey truly began at New York City’s Regis High School, under the mentorship of excellent teachers that made it possible for him to think about continuing Chinese and making it part of his emerging set of interests. Reflecting on his NSLI-Y experience, John could not understate how life-changing it was as a young American to be fully immersed in China, learning more about a long civilizational legacy that greatly affects contemporary society both in China and in the greater region. From philosophical and aesthetic traditions to people’s internal logic and worldview, John was exposed to an entirely different culture through the gateway of the Chinese language. He sees his NSLI-Y experience as a definite “accelerator” that allowed him to begin in junior-level Chinese his freshman year at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and he would go on to spend a full term studying abroad in China.
The language skills and personal experience with China that John obtained from his NSLI-Y experience laid the foundation for further studies of the historical and current situation in China. In turn, this opened several doors for career opportunities. After using his language skills in his senior thesis research and in work with the U.S. Department of State analyzing China’s role within the United Nations, John went on to serve as an advisor to former National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and his research team at the Hoover Institution, briefing them on policy issues. He stood out for his unique China expertise while at Elmwood Asset Management, a leading credit investment firm. He has recently accepted a role at the Department of the Treasury, where he will apply his skills and expertise in tackling America’s leading international challenges.
Besides the professional impacts that NSLI-Y has had on the rest of his career, John also recalls touching moments and personal bonds that were the true highlight of his NSLI-Y experience, from dinner with his host family in the restaurant they owned to his continued friendships with his fellow cohort alumni and his ongoing relationship with one of his closest mentors, his American program director Dr. Yongling Zhang-Gorke.
The Schwarzman Scholars program is a one-year master’s program at Tsinghua University in Beijing for individuals aspiring to become global leaders. The program aims to increase participants’ knowledge of international affairs and help deepen understanding between China and the rest of the world. John was attracted to the program as it seemed like a great way to top off his experience on China and international relations. He highly recommends it as a prestigious and worthwhile program for those looking to expand their network, develop further areas of expertise, or gain experience with the highest levels of Chinese society. He found that his extensive personal experience in China, kickstarted by NSLI-Y, prepared him for success in the program. A highlight of his Schwarzman experience was the opportunity to make connections with people from all around the world and from varying disciplines, all united to learn about leadership, global affairs, and China.
John’s tip for other NSLI-Y alumni seeking new scholarships and opportunities is to, “Begin building a story for yourself. Reflect on whatever NSLI-Y sparked in you and continue to develop those interests with more experiences to become an expert who others want to invest in as well.” He notes that the story that you begin to develop is also useful for yourself, as it will help you to discern what is important: the more deliberate your choices, the better set you are to grow towards whatever you are pursuing.