I came to Stanford and the Graduate School of Education with an aspiration. As a student majoring in Chinese (specialty in Sino-foreign culture exchange), I’ve often been asked why I chose to study education in graduate school. My answer is simple and always remains the same: changing the world and changing people’s lives are my everlasting dreams, and education is the most powerful weapon. To fulfill this dream, ICE (International Comparative Education) is the best fit.
During my year as an ICEer, I was constantly encouraged to take risks and make an impact. Two of my greatest accomplishment exemplifying this are my MA paper and the first EPIC Stanford China Education Forum my friends and I hosted. My paper explores the educational value of intangible cultural heritages using Chinese Paper-cut as a case study. Before coming to Stanford, I only had the vague idea that I wanted to study this but no idea of how to do so. Whenever I encountered numerous obstacles, I was always given helpful advice: to try different research methods, to think from another angle, to contact someone I didn’t know but who could help. Finally, my paper was born. I didn’t forget my aspirations, and I was always reminded to make an impact at Stanford. Several friends and I founded EPIC (Education Practitioners and Innovators of China), a cross-cultural organization that aims to connect China and Silicon Valley while building communities to make changes in Chinese education. In May 2018, we successfully hosted the first Stanford China Education Forum, where we invited more than 20 professors and practitioners from both Stanford and China to discuss the opportunities and challenges remaining in China’s education. Even though this forum ended, we will continue our EPIC career.
Indeed, not only was I encouraged to push my boundaries, I was fully supported to do just that. Though nothing was easy, I was incredibly fortunate to have been surrounded by so many kind, smart, supportive, and generous people. GSE was like a big family: from my dearest program director to the dean of GSE, it felt great to have a whole team at your back. Also, I cannot thank all my cohort classmates enough for all the moments, bitter or sweet, that we had together (ICEers are never frigid). They have inspired me not only through their fabulous research but also their talent, passion, and determination to change and shape the future of education.
Since completing the program, I have joined an educational company in Cupertino called 7EDU Impact Academy, a one-stop service academy that helps students get admitted into their dream schools. We utilize online platforms and integrate Eastern test-taking strategies with American Western education philosophy. Our foremost goal is to guide and support our students through all types of challenges, preparing them to exceed their current capabilities for success in academics and beyond. I am very proud to be part of this innovative education.
I am extremely thankful to the old me one year ago. That old me took all her courage to apply and come to this wonderland from China alone. After this unbelievably amazing year, I have become braver and more prepared to face all kinds of challenges in the future. Most importantly, I will always be ready to make a difference!