Dhanasree arrived in China to dive into the country’s tech scene. However, she soon found that time in China became much more of a “choose-your-own adventure.” Taking a break from a career in investment banking allowed Dhanasree to explore the world through a less quantitative lens. Adventures in Sichuan and Beijing complimented academic experiences at Guanghua Business School and the tech district of Zhongguancun. The beauty of Jingyuan was among the happy memories Dhanasree took away from her time as a Yenching Scholar.
Q: What inspired you to apply to the Yenching Academy of Peking University (YCA)?
A: As someone who wants to build a career in the technology industry, I felt that China was very relevant. Peking University is right next to Zhongguancun which grew a culture of entrepreneurship throughout Beida. It was aspirational to study there. What’s more, I had the chance to visit China the year before the Yenching Academy for a tech conference and I was impressed by the scale of both development and innovation that China was undergoing. Experiencing that firsthand was thrilling.
Q: What role did Jingyuan play in your life on campus?
A: We would use Jingyuan for a variety of activities. We would have meetings there, host study sessions, listen to speakers, host small events etc. It was a place people moved in-and-out of at all times of the day and night.
I remember we received additional help for Chinese language and our partners would come to help us study Chinese. They would come to Jingyuan as a meeting point.
Q: What were your impressions of the architecture of Jingyuan?
A: I loved that Jingyuan reminded me of a traditional Chinese courtyard setting. It was a real hybrid of old and new. The architecture on the outside belied a very state-of-the-art interior.
My favorite part was the transition between winter and spring during the cherry blossom season. It was such a beautiful sight.