“Be open-minded and learn about yourself,” was the advice that Zhang Fengnian’s father taught him when growing up.

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Zhang Fengnian

Year one Government and International Relations (GIR) student, Zhang Fengnian (张丰年) is from Hangzhou city in Zhejiang province. He is a part of the United Model Nations club on campus. In this club, Fengnian and his fellow club members learn diplomatic skills, along with history and geography, subjects he is passionate about. The United Model Nations will hold meetings, where students may have to represent different countries and have historical discussions.

Fengnian also makes an active effort to use English every day to improve his language comprehension. He says it’s important to find a good way to study English.

Although he is passionate about his studies, he did comment on students’ social lives by explaining that “friendship is just as important as academic performance.”

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Fengnian (right) with a friend during this years' Sports Day

“Anyone can see or say the phenomenon, but a wise man can grasp it at its inner core,” this is something that Fengnian strongly believes in.

His travels have taken him to Japan, Canada, the US, and Inner Mongolia but he still wants to see more of the world so that he can obtain a better understanding of himself. “It’s not enough to remember knowledge, you must experience it,” explained Fengnian.

Fengnian’s favourite destination so far has been Kyoto city in Japan, which he explained reminded him of his hometown.

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Fengnian's most recent achievement was received the UIC Merit Award for Student Ambassadors of the UIC Winter Admission Promotion Activities in 2019. He and other students from the same senior high school travelled back to their school to introduce UIC to high school students who may be interested in what UIC has to offer in liberal arts education.

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Fengnian with a friend received the UIC Merit Award for Student Ambassadors

Attending the London School of Economics in the UK is Fengnian’s goal for the future. When asked about his career path, Fengnian mentioned different career ideas. He is thinking about being a professor at a university in Hangzhou, or a diplomat. However, he has also considered travelling the world, as well as engaging in his other hobby, writing Chinese poems.

Reporter: Marissa Furney
Photographs supplied by Zhang Fengnian
Editors: Samuel Burgess, Deen He, Étienne Fermie
(from MPRO)