Our newly-enrolled Scholars arrived at Peking University and embraced their new life at Yenching Academy. The Scholars were warmly welcomed by our YCA family members, enabling them to settle down in the campus filled with a burst of alluring golden-yellow-hued trees, showers of falling leaves, and the cold wintery breeze of late November. New-comers and late arrivals have perfectly integrated themselves into campus life, enjoying their splendid experience in China. Although the semester is halfway in already, everything is new to those who recently arrived on campus. They could expect more at the Academy’s “cart”. The 11·11 at YCA was full of love and warmth. It was an encore of our welcome party.
On November 11, Yenching Academy held a welcome party for its 2022 Cohort at the atrium of Peking University’s No.2 Stadium. Dean Dong Qiang, Associate Deans Fan Shiming and Brent Haas, and other faculty members attended the party.
Dean Dong Qiang received our newly arriving YCAers, “I want you to know that you are not alone, even if you just resumed on campus; you are like-minded Scholars from all parts of the world, and this makes YCA feel like a mini-United Nations. The national flags here are a reminder that you are ambassadors of your countries in this community.” Dean Dong hoped that our Scholars would be cultural envoys without borders and help build shared values of humans.
Dean Dong appreciated the students’ efforts for on-campus study and extended his gratitude toward the Yenching staff for their hard work down to every detail to help our Scholars. Our faculty and students – Chinese and international students – have collaborated to overcome inconveniences caused by the pandemic and forge strong cross-cultural communications and ties at the Academy.
Dean Dong summarized his speech, noting that there was no time to waste because two years would flash by, especially for international students, who have to spend more time adapting to life in China. He called our Scholars to cherish every minute in China, immersing themselves in its long tradition of extensive education and exchanges. Drawing on Confucius’s “To learn without thinking is futile; to think without learning is perilous”, and Du Fu’s “Read thousands of books and travel thousands of miles”, Dean Dong emphasized learning and critical thinking. He admonished our Scholars to learn, think, study and apply theories. He hoped that the students would make the best of the resources YCA and PKU offer and communicate without reservation for academic progress.
Jasper Abrahams (Belgium) and Ailsa Brown (UK) from the 2022 Cohort, who were previously engaged in China studies, hoped they would better understand China at the Academy and be better prepared to build bridges between China and the world. They appreciated the faculty’s effort and fellow students’ support for pre-campus preparation and on-campus life. They also expressed their hopes for a happy and productive life at the Academy in the following two years.
Hong Kai Tan (Singapore): It is like fate that we meet. Winter began last week, and it is heart-warming to sit and chat with my fellow students about our joy without care.
Katie Chua (USA): It is the third welcome party we have had this year at the Academy. We feel at home, and we feel our teachers’ love and care. I have been on campus for a week, and I am happy to meet my colleagues and teachers whom I only saw online before arriving in China. They worked so hard to help us study and live on campus. This is a true welcome party; I am excited about my life in Beijing.
This winter, cold as it grows, feels warm as the students ignite their passion for knowledge, cross-cultural communication, and mutual learning. In the quiet Jingyuan courtyards, our Scholars will embrace open minds and critical thinking, meet like-minded fellows, and become better versions of themselves.