Universities provide warm welcome to freshmen

Yang Meiping
Shanghai Universities are welcoming freshmen with the new semester about to begin.
Yang Meiping

Shot by Dong Jun. Edited by Dong Jun. Subtitles by Yang Meiping.

The city's universities are welcoming freshmen with the new semester about to begin.

More than 4,200 new students, including over 300 international students from 36 countries and regions, registered to study at Fudan University on Sunday.

Darwin Vickers from Australia will study philosophy at Fudan. He had studied computer science in Australia, but after having worked as a software engineer for about five years, he decided to do something different.

"I was always interested in China and wanted to live in China," he said.

"I already knew a little bit of Chinese and wanted to improve my Chinese and also was interested in philosophy. I decided to study philosophy at Fudan because I heard that Fudan is a very nice university."

Universities provide warm welcome to freshmen
Dong Jun / SHINE

More than 4,200 new students register at Fudan University on Sunday.

Vickers said he grew up in Canberra and most of his friends were Chinese descents in Australia.

"So I think definitely I was influenced by that," he said. "That was part of why I was interested to even study Chinese when I was like 16 (at high school)."

To study philosophy in a Chinese university, he studied Chinese at Nanjing Normal University in neighboring Jiangsu Province in the past year to pass the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) 5 test, a Chinese proficiency test, before his enrollment at Fudan.

As Najing is close to Shanghai, he had visited the city several times.

"I love it," he said. "It's so big. I feel like I've only seen a tiny piece of Shanghai so far. I'm just looking forward to studying and to meeting the other students in philosophy and other international students. It's really nice to be part of this international student community."

Universities provide warm welcome to freshmen
Dong Jun / SHINE

International students are welcomed to the Fudan campus.

Laksika Hongfongfah from Thailand is going to study at the School of Management at Fudan.

As a Chinese by descent, she learnt Chinese online by all means, including watching Chinese Internet drama series, such as "Hidden Love."

She said she decided to study in China after seeing Thai celebrities participate in Chinese talent shows.

"I found Chinese people are friendly to foreigners and Chinese language is also attractive to me," she said.

She said she would like to open a company for trade between China and Thailand after graduation.

Zhang Yanpeng, a Chinese student from Zhejiang Province, became a celebrity after a video about the pen that he had used to take 600 tests in his final year at high school went viral online.

He has been admitted into a natural science class at Fudan.

"I have been using the pen not for auspicious reasons," he said.

"It's like my comrade or a darn-well handy tool that helps me maintain in a stable condition and has accompanied me to overcome all the challenges. I've replaced 70 pen refills, but never thought of dumping the pen, even though it's broken somewhere and I swathed it with Sellotape. I will continue to use it in university as long as I can."

Universities provide warm welcome to freshmen
Yang Meiping / SHINE

Zhang Yanpeng, a student from Zhejiang Province, with his trusty pen.

Several days ago, Shanghai New York University's New Bund campus welcomed incoming students from the Class of 2027.

American students Ignacio Cowles, from Texas, and Jonathan Engalla, from California, both graduated from THINK Global School, an innovative traveling high school, where they traveled around the world with teachers and studied while experiencing different cultures. They said attending NYU Shanghai is yet another opportunity to explore different cultures.

Cowles said that the chance to learn more about China was a key part of his decision to attend NYU Shanghai.

"I know a lot of people go to university in the US, but I'm the first person I know to go to university in China," he said. "I did a bunch of projects in my senior year that were all China-related, and one of them is a video on Chinese history."

He added that he already speaks a bit of Chinese and hopes to study Global China Studies.

Universities provide warm welcome to freshmen
Ti Gong

Jonathan Engalla (second from left) and Ignacio Cowles (far right) reunited on NYU Shanghai campus with their families.

Engalla said Cowles was the one who convinced him to apply to NYU Shanghai and he was looking forward to all NYU Shanghai has to offer.

"I'm interested in interactive media studies and business and I think I'm going to try out for the basketball team," he said.

Antanina Hilevich, from Belarus, said she was attracted to NYU Shanghai by its diverse community of students, staff and faculty.

Having started her modeling career in high school, she has traveled in and around China and just finished a desert photo shoot in north-western China. She said she is looking forward to taking classes in social science and business at NYU Shanghai.

Special Reports