We are happy to continue our traditional series of interviews of our International Old Alleynians (IOA in short), namely our Dulwich College Beijing alumni. With their childhood and teenage years at DCB behind them, they are happy to share fond memories of DCB and their journey, learnings, and achievements since then.
- DCB Class of 2022
- Parsons School of Design, The New School
- Second year of BFA Architectural Design
What have you been busy with?
After successfully completing (and surviving…) my first year of college and enjoying a more relaxing summer pace in New York, I took a trip back to France. I’ve also been putting my digital designing skills into practice to support a friend’s business and have been enjoying the city with friends. I’m now in my second year of college and have started diving into Architecture projects.
Please share a memorable experience or moment from your Dulwich College Beijing years.
I have many fond memories of DCB, but as the Johnson House Prefect, I must highlight the weekly House Prefects meetings with Ms T, who always had chocolate in her office as a great antidote to our feeling swamped under the deep waters of the IB and the hectic house events schedule! Physics classes with Ms Rogers are also among the moments I’ve taken away as some of my best of DCB. And, of course, lunchtimes in the IBCR (IB Common Room) where we could share the highs and lows of IB with the assurance of being understood!
At the time, these moments were just part of our daily routine (and sometimes, not so enjoyable), but these are now the moments I miss the most as I realised how special the DCB community made them. More than a year after leaving DCB, I’m still amazed by how connected we are and how precious these high school friendships turned out to be and hopefully, will remain over the years.
How has your education at DCB prepared you for your university life?
DCB has taught me many interpersonal skills through various leadership positions and hard work. These skills have been incredibly helpful in building new connections in an unknown environment and settling into my new college life.
I always felt DCB was a safe environment that allowed me to explore and develop skills I wasn't comfortable with just yet, such as public speaking. That encouraged me to try new things, eventually fail and learn from my successes as much as my mistakes.
In short, DCB has helped me to learn how to tackle challenges. Not only was this motivating, but it allowed me to keep faith when hard times came around.
What factors were most important in determining your “best fit” university?
When looking at universities, I primarily focused on their reputation in the field of study I was targeting. I also considered geographical location as an important criterion because I knew I wanted to be near a big city.
Parsons boasts an enriching community and offers a lot of resources for students to thrive. People here have a strong spirit of entrepreneurship with an inspiring drive. They are not afraid to try and either succeed or bounce back. Its central location in Manhattan also offers students a lot to explore and learn from. My international fellow students also bring a wide range of intercultural vibes and inspirations that demonstrate the meaning of the expression “third culture kid” to its fullest.
After settling in here for over a year now, I have no regret about my choice: the vibrant city of New York has proven to be a great source of inspiration and motivation in the field I want to study.
How did you determine your major?
It wasn’t until Year 12 that I decided to study Architecture. At the time, it could look like a rather spontaneous choice. However, as I look back at it, all my chosen IB subjects led me to it. I loved Physics and Art and always enjoyed designing and building things. I took Art for IGCSE but had to drop it to be able to take both Biology and Physics in IB, which were some of my prospective universities' requirements. I realised then how much I missed Art, so I searched for a way to combine Art and Sciences, which led me to Architecture.
As I was still unsure about studying in the USA or the UK, I had to prepare different sets of portfolios and participate in additional school-specific challenges. That was quite stressful as I also had to catch up on some Art techniques and thought processes.
After your first year, what did you like the most about your college experience?
I really enjoy the course and the professors! In addition to teaching, professors are all professionals in their own fields, so classes often relate to real-life topics that we can explore further.
I also like my daily life as a college student! My classes were scheduled in blocks of 3-hour classes, either mornings, afternoons, or evenings. That left a lot of room during the rest of the day to get organised between my studies and free time to explore the city.
Another amazing aspect of Parsons is its location in Manhattan and all the inspiration we can draw from the city. At the start of the year, we often heard the whole city was our campus. It was quite a surprising statement, but after a while, I understood it as everything is within reach, and we draw a lot of inspiration for our assignments from the energy and the variety between the different neighbourhoods of New York City.
What did you find most challenging about being a university student?
What I found most challenging was setting a routine and maintaining my standards. The freedom that is given to university students comes with a need for more personal determination. Professors are always available to provide us with advice and feedback, but they also expect their students to take full ownership and responsibility for their studies, projects, or professional endeavours. So, it is up to each student to find the right balance between achieving their studies while enjoying college life. That comes down to a lot of self-discipline!
What would be your word of wisdom to our current DCB students?
Be true to yourself and remember, setbacks are not the end of your journey but the beginning of new legs.
What’s the best thing to do in New York City?
Central Park is one of the most iconic places in Manhattan, and going there is always a treat, especially when I add on a visit to one of the surrounding museums. I also enjoy strolling in West Village after visiting a few galleries in Chelsea. Of course, one can’t miss a stop in Chinatown for a yummy set of dumplings that would almost take me back to Beijing!
Which word of each pair describes you best?
- Coffee/Tea: Coffee (only during desperate times!)
- Cat/Dog: Dog. Definitely!
- Movie/Book: Movie
- Hutong/Sanlitun: Hutong