NYU Shanghai Love Story: Sabrina Goodman ’19 and Lu Zijie ’19

When Lu Zijie ’19, from Shanghai and Sabrina Goodman ’19 from Los Angeles, California, were introduced to each other by Zijie’s roommate Michael Dinku, during their first week at NYU Shanghai, they had no idea they’d be getting married someday, with Michael as their wedding MC. Now living and working in LA, the pair reflects on their NYU Shanghai journey together.

Before classes officially began, the pair often had chances to hang out together while exploring the city with friends. “Had it not been for NYU Shanghai organizing Chinese students and international students to live together, Zijie and Michael would not have been roommates, and Michael wouldn’t have united us,” said Goodman. “We also wouldn’t have met so many friends from all over the world.”

“I appreciated that Zijie was funny, personable, and didn’t take life too seriously,” said Goodman. Throughout Orientation Week and the first few weeks of classes, the two enjoyed each other’s company and felt a strong friendship in the making from the moment Lu helped Goodman set up her bank account in Shanghai. For a first date, they decided to get creative and make their own cups and bowls at a local ceramics shop. “Unfortunately we forgot to pick up the finished pieces,” Lu said. But even though their ceramic wares were left behind, their relationship was already taking shape.

At NYU Shanghai, Lu majored in Computer Science and Goodman double majored in Interactive Media Arts and Global China Studies. Aside from two courses they took together (one on videography and one on the Silk Road), they intentionally kept their academics and their relationship separate. “We are both very competitive and didn’t want to cause any distractions during our studies, but the best form of support we provided was simply to be there for one another,” Lu said.

Over the years, “being there for one another” took many forms. It meant two years of sitting beside each other on the bus back to the dorms. It meant roaming around cheap coffee houses all over New York City and hosting game nights with friends during their junior year studying away. It meant visiting each other’s families in LA and Shanghai over the summer, or keeping in touch with daily texts and weekly calls during times they had to be apart. And during their final year at NYU Shanghai, it meant staying up late together to draft job and grad school applications. 

One of their favorite memories at NYU Shanghai was directing and acting in their own 10-minute short film for the course Moving Images, taught by Assistant Arts Professor of Visual Arts Alice Wang. Just like their first date in the ceramics workshop, sharing at least one class gave them a chance to explore their creative chemistry. For their senior film project, they made a montage of their daily life on campus, nuanced with some of their most cherished idiosyncrasies. “The film brings us so much joy whenever we watch it,” said Lu. “It captures Sabrina’s craze for all flavors of chicken feet and my habit of singing along to songs on my headphones, and it features many of our classmates–nearly all of whom came to our wedding from all over the world!”


A group photo of Sabrina and ZJ with their NYU Shanghai friends on their wedding day

Lu and Goodman (in red) surrounded by NYU Shanghai friends on their wedding day.


Zijie and Sabrina may have been inseparable since their first year, but it wasn’t until graduation that their parents met for the first time. They were nervous about how their parents might navigate the language barrier, but their parents quickly became friends while touring Shanghai, dining together, and finally attending NYU Shanghai’s commencement ceremony.

“I felt so lucky that [our parents] were open-minded and refused to let the language barrier prevent communication,” Lu said.


Sabrina and ZJ's families meeting during their graduation ceremony

Sabrina’s mother says their relationship provides both families with a deeper understanding of the cultural differences between Shanghai, Guangdong, and the United States. “Our lives became more interesting,” she said.


After graduating, the couple continued onto graduate studies. Lu earned an MS in Computer Science from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, while Goodman earned a MSc in Global Media and Communications from University of Southern California’s dual-degree Global Media and Communications Program (LSE and USC).

With grad school completed, the pair readied themselves for the next chapter of their life – tying the knot. They married in Culver City, California on July 8, 2023, a day full of surprises. The first: when Zijie and Sabrina (dressed in a red cheongsam typically worn in Chinese weddings) danced together for their guests to the song “September” by Earth, Wing & Fire. The second: A congratulatory video message from NYU Shanghai Chancellor Emeritus Yu Lizhong and Vice Chancellor Jeffrey Lehman, who wished the couple a life together full of adventures, respect and love.

professional wedding photos of Sabrina and ZJ

The newlyweds reside in Los Angeles, where Lu works as a senior software engineer for Meta’s Production Department of Creative Agency, designing and promoting interactive features of Meta’s Cash Reward project. Goodman has joined Fiona Hutton & Associates (FHA) as an account executive, where she provides information and media relations management consulting services for clean energy companies. To keep connected during their busy work weeks, they make sure to start each morning together with coffee and share thoughtful conversations over their evening meals.

“One of our favorite things to do as a couple is visit local diners for the coffee, the food, the ambiance, and for the people-watching,” Lu said. They also love taking their dog Zhou on adventures to dog parks, beaches, and to the mountains.

As they start their married life together, food has played an important part in their cross-cultural relationship. “I knew Zijie would want Chinese food every day, while I enjoy eating foods from different countries,” Goodman said, while adding that she still craves Zijie’s mother’s spicy crawfish and steamed fish head with chopped chili. They made a pact: Zijie would perfect his spaghetti-making skills, and Sabrina would master the art of scallion noodles. 

The couple said that they’ll always have a special place in their hearts for NYU Shanghai and Shanghai. “They enabled us to be immersed in diverse cultures and taught us to be citizens of the world with open minds,” said Lu. “Our shared spirit of adventure and devotion to people we love have joined our families into one huge family.”

So what comes next? The couple hopes to celebrate their marriage with a second reception in Shanghai in 2024, before jet-setting to Morocco for their belated honeymoon. “We are also considering raising a second dog and looking to purchase our first home in the coming year or two,” Lu said. “After that, who knows?”