Hear from the Dulwich College Beijing’s alumni | Vivian HU

Cecilia T
Dulwich College Beijing 2022 student prefect for Alumni, Careers and University

We are happy to share our series of interviews highlighting our International Old Alleynians, or IOA in short, namely, our Dulwich College Beijing alumni. Their childhood and teenage years at DCB behind them, they were happy to share fond memories of DCB and tell us about their journey since then.

Let’s get to know Vivian HU (DCB 2020), who was interviewed by Cecilia T, Dulwich College Beijing 2022 student prefect for Alumni, Careers and University.


Vivian HU, DCB Class of 2020

  • Undergraduate at Barnard College of Columbia University, New York City
  • Economics and Psychology

1. Please share a memorable experience or moment from your DCB years

One of the most memorable moments I’ve had at DCB was returning to school at the start of Year 12 after I left Beijing a year and moved to Australia because of my parents’ work. Seeing my friends again, catching the surprise in their eyes and knowing that I would be spending the rest of my high school years in a place where I feel I belonged was such a unique and unforgettable experience!


2. Why did you decide to apply to Barnard? What factors were most important in determining your "fit" university?

I decided to apply to Barnard because the idea of having a peaceful, intimate campus in the middle of a bustling city really allured me. The mixture of the city’s liveliness, the diverse range of people I could meet, and the calmness of the quiet spaces I could study in seemed like the perfect balance. The most important factor to consider when choosing your next destination is not only the academic resources the place has to offer; you also need to think about the energy you want to immerse yourself in.

Manhattan, NYC

3. What do you like the most about Barnard and your current college life? Did anything surprise you when you first came to Barnard?

What I love the most about Barnard is the mixture of the intimacy I experience on a small delicate campus and the unlimited resources I can obtain in an extensive university system. What really surprises me about Barnard is the range of classes and resources I can make use of. For instance, I can take classes from both the Engineering School and Business School when my college doesn’t offer courses in particular areas I’m interested in. Moreover, as Columbia University students from different colleges can join the same campus clubs and organisations, I met many like-minded people I wouldn’t have met otherwise. 

Columbia University

4. How has DCB prepared you for your college life? 

Back in DCB, everything was so safe, warm and familiar! People grow up together and experience ups and downs like a family. College is more about adventures and reality. I realised that there are so many new and exciting things out there, but I also started to cherish, more than ever, the memories and friends from high school. 

Vivian Hu at Dulwich Beijing

5. One thing you would advise our current DCB students, especially since the new application season is approaching.

This might sound like a cliché, but don’t strive to be a perfectionist. The entire college application pushes people to think they must be perfect in every way possible, from grades to standardised tests to extracurricular activities. The biggest mistake I made in high school was pushing myself in every direction without thoroughly reflecting on my strengths and weaknesses. I was good at doing things that I hated or thought I should do, but I didn’t pay enough attention to identifying what I loved. Think about what you do well naturally and sharpen that. Also, don’t forget to turn your weaknesses into something powerful. 


6. What’s your favourite quote?

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." --- Oscar Wilde


7. Which word of each pair describes you best: 

  • Extroverted/Introverted: Extroverted
  • Americano/Frappuccino: Frappuccino
  • Hutong/Sanlitun: Sanlitun
  • Morning bird/Night owl: Night owl