XIE Li Jerry, English major, Grade 2016
Hi, my name is Li (Jerry) Xie, and it is my greatest honour to welcome you, on behalf of all my teachers and classmates, to the learning community at the Shenzhen University School of Foreign Languages, your new place to call home!
Looking back on my four years as an undergraduate student here, gratitude is the single word that comes to my mind. Indeed, all my efforts have paid off. Not only am I now admitted to the Master of Education program (in Language and Literacy) at Harvard Graduate School of Education, I also find myself much grown over these years in scholarship, leadership, and character. So just as I now embark on the next phase in my life’s journey, I would like to tell you a little about this wonderful school, the cradle of my dreams.
Born in China, I was raised here in Shenzhen, and immigrated to Canada in middle school, where I lived and studied all the way until high school graduation, then returned to China as an international student shortly after. In 2016, I enrolled as an English major here at SZU. The choice of concentration was no surprise to my mother, who had alwaysknown me as a language nerd, having received the top grades in high school English and Literature classes three years in a row albeit being an ESL student. Maybe I was just born with a flair for words - I don't know. Anyhow, all through my teenage years, my sole favourite pastime had been memorizing vocabulary lists, and I must have knocked my Canadian teachers’ socks off with five out of five on my Advanced Placement English Language exam in grade 11! By the time I had finished high school, I had already had several op-eds published in local newspapers…
I enrolled in the SFL at SZU with the simple hope of attaining my Bachelor’s degree in four years. College life was simple, blissful, and carefree. Every morning I woke up early, had breakfast at the canteen, went to my classes, lunched and dined with classmates, then studied in the computer lab until midnight (unfortunately, they don’t open this late anymore!). Study was fun for the challenge it brought. All of my Chinese and international professors at the SFL were highly qualified scholars and educators, each being a delight,with a knack for blending the student-centered approach with a traditional emphasis on diligence and effort on the student’s part, peppered with years of rigorous scholarship, which translated into something of their signature pedagogies.
To excel at the SFL, you really need to apply yourself perseveringly in and outside the classroom, and on top of that, engage in the critical study of language and literature. As we know it, to begin with, language development necessarily entails performing grammar drills, memorizing words and passages, mastering sentence structures, and acquiring an ear for the language by practicing its all four aspects –speaking, listening, reading, and writing – with all possible diligence. And the study of literature cannot be complete without a close acquaintance withculture, history, and society. Nothing was easy, yet somehow my professors managed to made everything accessibleaccessible for us.
I suppose that one of the biggest rewards of living and studying here on campus was the possibility to explore in depth the metropolitan city of Shenzhen. An “overnight” coastal city and direct beneficiary of China’s open-door policy, it is blessed with a fusion of the East and the West, possible and alive thanks to its geographical proximity to the Hong Kong S.A.R.. Go saunter down the streets and alleyways, sample the delicious local food, hang out with friends in the midst of the neon-light glow, attend a trade fair… or alternatively, go to the suburbs for sightseeing, mountain hiking, or visit some historic sites and museums – and you will find Shenzhennot just a unique cultural hub of traditions and modernity, but also a crossroads for all things Chinese and international. For me personally, after years of living abroad, there was nothing more satisfying than a homecoming of sorts, back to where I spent my most formative years, where modern cityscape and dynamic vibes laid the foundation for my intellectual pedigree and imbued me with a global outlook. It was here where I first set sail, and here where I finally found a snug haven.
Here at SZU, I was able to meet countless exciting and wonderful individuals – who were my classmates, professors, and the friendly university staff – with some of whom I have built lasting friendships, and whose cheerfulnesspermeated through me, prompting me to take up the new endeavour of poetry translation. Oh, how Ipracticed late into each night, sometimes all the way till sunrise! Not surprisingly then, as time wore on, my language skills were drastically sharpened, and I became a published tranlator twice in the UK, and had my first academic paper written (and published) in my Junior year, on the art of L2 English vocabulary learning. The rigorous academic training also took effect, as I received 120 out of 120 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and 5.5 out of 6 on the Analytical Writing section of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). In the summer of 2019, I attended Harvard Summer School, where I took Fundamentals if Academic Writing and received an A. For these achievements I owe to my professors and my own striving on this beautiful campus, a city within city, my constant source of inspiration.
I have spent four solid years here at the Shenzhen University School of Foreign Languages, and with this confidence I now encourage you to come and check it out! This is such an exciting place, where cutting-edge scholarship meets state-of-the-art facilities,where passion meetsrigour. Just get in touch with us, and I am sure you cannot wait to become part of this unique and intercultural learning community. I know that you will fall in love with our wonderful teachers, staff, and students, and will find your passion in the subject areas of your choice. So come and join us, and I'm sure the rest will follow.