SERIES: Pengyous of Beijing
Project Pengyou intern, Tammy Tian, collects slices of life from Pengyous in Beijing in this ninth installment of the Humans of New York-inspired photo in series.
“I’ve been at Tsinghua for five years now, same department, but I’m a graduate student now. I am a political advisor for my department, I know the name kind of sounds weird…I think it probably holds on to some historical significance. A lot of the work I do is mentoring undergraduate students. It’s kind of fun to see them where I was just a few years ago. I help them talk though their day-to-day worries, I give them advice on courses, I plan outings and activities for them, sometimes I help them with their studies. It’s really important to talk with them because the pressure as an engineering student here is really painful. It’s easy to get depressed, sometimes even suicidal – Sorry for cutting our conversation short, but I have a student that’s looking for me. We can meet to talk again!”
“I really didn’t like people growing up. I had it bad throughout middle school and high school. My classmates weren’t nice to me, boys especially. I didn’t understand why. I was just always singled out. I suppose there’s just always that one kid in the class that gets picked on. I am thankful for my family. They helped me through those times.
When I look back, maybe there were some things I could change. So, when I entered college I made it one of my goals to change the way I present myself and meet new people. I still feel uncomfortable when I talk to boys, but I’ve made some valuable friends here. I think I am doing pretty well.”
“Put simply, I came to study at Tsinghua because I wanted to experience a different culture.
I first studied at Edinburgh. My hometown is a little mountain village in Scotland. As you can imagine, it was pretty homogeneous place. Edinburgh, on the other hand, is an international city; there are a lot of international students…While I was there, I noticed how much more the international students got out of their education. During my first couple years of university most of my friends were from the U.K. Most people of the students from the U.K. like to stick together. By the end of my second year of university, just about all of my friends were international.
I’d like to think I’m a bit special. The person that changed me was my first girlfriend. Before I met her, I was a terrible student. My girlfriend was from Lithuania. She came from a small town in Eastern Europe…by the age of 14 she had made the decision that she wanted to study in Edinburgh, leaving her village. No family, no relatives; alone. She had to make it all happen on her own initiative. When I think about that, that’s so daring. I give her lots of respect for it. Her parents must be so proud of her. She inspires me a lot.”