Christopher Van Velzer's headshot

Christopher Van Velzer

Resident Director, Shanghai

Start Date

January 2016


Educator • Learner • Sinophile • Photographer • Esposo • Padre

Many students say that study abroad was a life-changing experience, and I have no greater passion as an educator than to see that become a demonstrable, tangible truth. Wade Davis frames all cultures as an to answer a fundamental question: What does it mean to be human and alive? My role affords me the privilege to help students add to the depth and breadth of their own answers to that question, and by extension, to my own. IFSA-Butler's commitment to lead our field with the highest academic standards and the even harder work of intentionally designing programs that genuinely foster intercultural agility make this possible, and I am thrilled to be on that journey amongst such talented students and colleagues.


B.A. Humanities, Master in Business Administration, Ph.D. in Higher Education (in progress)

Travel Experience

Ironically, my own experience studying abroad in Heidelberg, Germany as an undergraduate and travelling extensively (and quickly!) through Europe was intensely fun, and it led to a longing to invest in another culture as a resident — not merely a passing tourist — that prompted my own move abroad to China.

Did You Know?

I love singing (choral/opera especially), am an avid photographer, lived in England as child for several years, and met my wife (a Colombian/Venezuelan who spent 18 years in Montreal, Canada before moving to China) in Shanghai of all places — and we have twin daughters!