Nora's Story

Hi my name is Nora and I am from Beijing. I was born in beautiful city Chengdu and then moved to Beijing with my family when I was 4. NYU Shanghai attracts me with its innovative academic freedom, and I feel excited about pursuing my college study in this first Sino-US joint venture university in China. My one and half year experience has proved that I made the right choice. The similarity of open and diverse learning atmosphere between my high school the Affiliated High School of Peking University and NYU Shanghai enriches my perspectives and indicates further academic direction. "Making the World Your Major", NYU Shanghai not only enables us to study aboard in its various global sites, but also involves us in social practice to help us know about people and the society.

Last year, I’m honored to become the liaison between one of the biggest volunteering organization in Shanghai—HandsOn Shanghai and our school. Compared with other volunteering organizations, HandsOn Shanghai has more flexible time for different individual programs which cover large group of people in need. NYU Shanghai students mainly work on teaching programs in kindergarten and migrant schools, accompany program at children’s medical center and UPS road safety education program.

NYU Shanghai students have good English skills and are willing to use English as a tool to communicate with kids and teachers from different kindergartens and primary schools. By using simple powerpoint slides and interactive English games, our student volunteers taught English with great passion to kids who have disability in hearing and speaking. We used standard English textbook and various kinds of vocabulary cards to engage more. No words could describe that satisfaction when you know that you could use what you’ve learned to deliver useful information and help others. In addition to the program mentioned above, we also participated in visiting hospitals. Little children aged from several months to ten years old feel extremely fearful of the surgery or any other kind of treatments, and our job is to accompany and encourage them. Many of our international students joined the program, and it was very surprising to see that, even though our students could not speak Chinese fluently, they still shared emotions to communicate with the lovely kids. Probably because love is the worldwide language that needs no translation at all. I really had a great time working with HandsOn Shanghai this year, and I hope to join more social activities in the coming semesters.

This is the first time that I join an NGO and participate in social practice to change the surrounding world with my small efforts. These experiences positively changed my view on others, on society and on the world, and remind me of what our dear Vice Chancellor Jeffrey Lehman had said in candidate weekend, “Do care about the others, we are in such a small world”. Giving back to community and promoting volunteerism definitely make a difference and it is wonderful to have more of our students to join this team.

Besides working in volunteering program, I had an on-campus job during my freshman year at the Chinese Admissions Office. Chinese Admissions was the most competitive department since it would be extremely interesting to have the chance to introduce our schools and application process to prospective students. The one-year working experience improved my patience by answering repeated questions in phone calls and vis-a-vis, encouraged my confidence by welcoming external guests and triggered me to become a responsible candidate-weekend ambassador. The days I spent on school introductions and guiding campus tours are engraved so deep in my mind that I will never forget. Guiding the candidates reminded me of what I look like one year ago, when I was a curious girl who felt anxious about entering this dream college. My precious reminiscence drove me to pay full efforts to provide informative suggestions to help prospective students fulfilling their dream of entering this world-class university.

Last semester I took the class of dear Deputy President Ms. Diane Yu’s Public Speaking in a Leadership Context. By watching speeches from worldwide leaders to well-acknowledged celebrities, we learned how to prepare a speech with good content, smooth flow, clear logic, and persuasiveness. By practicing our own speeches for formal occasions and elevator pitch, we learned how to calm ourselves and avoid filling-words in front of the podium. To put what I learned into practice, I took part in the 21st Century Coca-Cola Cup National English Speaking Competition in December and won the second prize in the Shanghai region and then decided to join the first NYU Shanghai Cup Parliamentary Debate Competition this March. Got fully involved not only in academic courses but also in on-campus activities, I started to recognize the importance of engaging actively to truly benefit from all the given resources from our school.

Currently I am at the later half of the sophomore year, and I have been preparing for study-aways in New York campus in fall. Study away program provides me the chance to pursue further learning in my major and to receive brand-new experience out of Shanghai. I am not local Shanghainese, and the one and half year study in Shanghai had triggered me to continue to pursue my education in new places. Choosing New York Campus as my first option is based on consideration of academic purposes and personal curiosity, it has the broadest variety of subjects and the most concentrated courses for my Business&Marketing major, which indicates that my study away semester will be complied with strict and abundant major degree requirements. The thought of studying in the main campus really gets me excited since I have never been to New York. I will have the chance to fully immerse in the authentic American culture by living and studying there. The goal I set for myself during the study-away semester is to become fluent in oral English, bright in writing style, comfortable in cultural exchange and well-behaved in academic performance. My major in Business & Marketing is guiding me as well as shaping my later-on career development, and the abundant courses provided in New York would help me move one step closer to my dream.

Studying inside the classroom and learning outside the campus are both parts of NYU Shanghai’s liberal education. The unique education system inspires us to explore more of the textbooks, seek more in the society and live out the meaning of young blood.

More Stories