Zhao Tianyi: Sharing an International View

May 12 2017
Written by NYU Shanghai
Four years ago, Zhao Tianyi ‘17 arrived at NYU Shanghai, driven by a sense of adventure and uncertainty. Now two weeks before graduation, the Global China Studies major said she is glad she made the decision.


Why did you choose Global China Studies as your major?

The major, initiated and developed by NYU Shanghai, appealed to me because it allowed me to examine my own culture from perspectives of outsiders. We were exposed to literary classics by historians, philosophers and artists from the East and the West. The flexible curriculum also gave me opportunities to study away globally and take cross-disciplinary courses.


What did you learn?

Global China Studies has not only motivated me to travel and learn in different countries, but also coached me to appreciate and understand other cultures with humility. I chose to study at NYU Tel Aviv to deepen my understanding of the Middle East, a once distant and mysterious culture to me. I had been exposed in my previous studies, to a wealth of history and culture about North America and Europe, but I rarely had the chance to learn about Middle Eastern culture before.

One of my favorite courses was China Goes Global taught by Professor of History Chen Jian, where we learned about China’s rise on the international stage. Professor Chen has unique insights about Chinese history, influenced by both Eastern and Western cultures. He has also made all the reading materials bilingual to help students fully understand the implication and rationale in between the reading.

Outside my major, I also took courses from other areas such as Introduction to Computer Programming, because I did not want to be confined to a particular field and I wanted to broaden my perspectives.


What was the most memorable moment in your college life?

In April, I was selected as one of the student delegates to the Duke-UNC China Leadership Summit, a conference bringing together undergraduates interested in deepening China-US relations and a mutual understanding of the two countries.

At the conference, we discussed China as a responsible stakeholder in multiple issues within the framework of Sino-US relations, as well as in international governance. I think the conference turned out to be a great platform for NYU Shanghai students to exchange perspectives, connect with speakers, and network with students from around China and the US.


What’s been your biggest gain from NYU Shanghai?

I spent three semesters studying separately in New York City, Berlin and Tel Aviv. In my freshman year, I also joined an NYU Summer course in Athens, where we delved into the history of Greek language and literature, and  gleaned an understanding of how Greek history and classics have been translated into modern narratives.

In the past four years, I have also made great friends with people from all over the world. NYU Shanghai, as a small-scale university, provided a perfect setting to getting to know more people and their cultures, which make up the very character of the school.The inaugural class has come together as allies who have weathered difficulties and challenges together, which makes our friendship even stronger.


What are your plans after graduation?

The cultural diversity and multinational perspective of NYU Shanghai have sparked my interest in the field of international relations. Looking into the future, I plan to study international politics and business, and take advantage of what I’ve learned from NYU Shanghai in landing a career at international organizations.