On Friday, March 10, Yenching Academy organized a fourth welcome reception for its 7th and 8th cohort Scholars who recently arrived on the Peking University campus to continue their studies. Several YCA top team members attended the event to welcome the new Scholars, including YCA Dean Dong Qiang, Associate Deans Fan Shiming and Brent Haas, Director of Graduate Studies Lu Yang, Assistant Deans Chen Changwei, Zuo Jing and Guo Fei. Besides, many Scholars already residing at the on-campus Shaoyuan dormitory were in attendance to warmly receive and support their peers.
Daryl Lahm (2022 Scholar, Singapore) was the master of ceremony (MC). He kicked off the event by welcoming all present, expressing his joy at the arrival of many more Scholars on campus, and introducing the available YCA top team members. After his brief opener, the MC invited Dean Dong to deliver his opening remarks.
Prof. Dong Qiang was elated to see the new Scholars finally in China. He appreciated the efforts of the YCA staff, who worked tirelessly, even during holidays, to plan and assist Scholars with their travel arrangements. He encouraged the Scholars to focus their time and energy on their studies and collaborate with their teachers and peers.
“The ultimate goal we provide here at YCA is a step for you, academically, mentally and socially. Simply put, we believe the education YCA and PKU offers is to help you become a better version of yourself.” More so, Prof. Dong expressed his anticipation for many YCA events coming up later in the semester, including the Yenching Global Symposium (YGS) in Hainan and the field trip to Chengdu and Chongqing. He hoped the Scholars would find the events insightful and make the most of the experiences to learn more about China: its cultures, customs, religions, people, development trends, landscape, etc.
Besides, the Dean noted that the Scholars have arrived at one of the most beautiful times to be on campus, adding that “spring is upon us, and the beautiful waterfall wisteria hanging over the entrances of Courtyard 3 and 4 will blossom sooner than you know; other trees and flowers will sprout, showing their stunning colors, and their sweet-smelling scents will also envelop the entire campus.” He encouraged the Scholars to take in the beauty and explore the campus while studying hard and seizing all available opportunities and resources the Academy and University provide for improving themselves.
Dean Dong concluded his speech by singing three songs to entertain the Scholars. Everyone loved his singing skill and thunderously applauded his performance.
The MC invited the student representative of the 7th cohort, Bella Tseeva (2021 Scholar, Russia and Portugal), to deliver a speech following Dean Dong’s remarks. Bella noted her excitement of being present with everyone on campus and grateful that she could return to China. “China is a special place; every time I come to China, there is always a new experience,” she stated. She was happy for the friends she has made at the Academy and encouraged her classmates in the 7th cohort to press harder with their studies and pursue their aspirations. “The YCA experience has shown me that online friendships can be real too, and most importantly, we all come with different experiences, and that is what makes YCA very exceptional.” Bella also admonished the 8th cohort Scholars to enjoy their China experiences, study hard, explore opportunities, travel around the country, be unafraid to learn from mistakes made and have fun.
Furthermore, the student representative of the 8th cohort, Christopher Newby (2022 Scholar, South Africa), gave a remark. Christopher thanked every YCA staff for their support in bringing students to China. He also stated that “the flowers that blossom in adversity are the sweetest of all” in appreciation of the efforts and friendship of his classmates during the entire travel process and student activities to foster a sense of community. Christopher encouraged his fellow Scholars to explore Beijing and China, create memories, and build life-long friendships for the future, adding that nothing beats the joys of being together and sharing laughter.
Afterwards, everyone present gathered for a group photograph.
Daryl, the MC, closed the event. Snacks were served, and the Scholars and teachers mingled and had hearty conversations with one another.