Explore a world of opportunities: International Studies graduate talks about his Nottingham experience
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts,” Rachel Carson writes in Silent Spring.
Hao Zhong, who has just graduated with a degree in International Studies, is someone who appreciates the beauty of nature. From volunteering with an NGO to supporting sustainable development, Hao aims to gain an insight into how to become a visionary citizen of the world.
When asked about his interest in public welfare, Hao says: “I have never thought about what it can bring me. I just feel content and pleased to do these things.” He also talks about his awareness of environmental protection since childhood - “Just think about billions of people suffering from water shortages before we waste water.”
The experience that affected Hao the most was being a volunteer at a refugee care centre in Copenhagen during his exchange in Denmark. His chores included preparing food, washing the dishes and distributing daily supplies.
“I met multilingual volunteers and refugees who had done business with China; once I even saw bloody conflict in the centre,” says Hao. “I understood that I personally may not make a difference, but it was also the imperfection and inequality of the world that motivated me to act.”
While other Year 4 students were considering pursuing a Master’s or preparing for job interviews, Hao noticed an intern opportunity at an NGO in Beijing. Despite the peer pressure, Hao chose to spend a year devoted to sustainability – “I have been studying since primary school. Maybe it’s time to stop to experience another life and examine my gains.”
Hao interned in Beijing, participated in a World Wildlife Fund wetland conservation programme in Heilongjiang Province, and went on to perform field research in Taiwan. "I want to try my best to break down the barriers of national boundaries, race, social class, religion and other factors that impede my understanding of the world, and to see how other people live and think." This is Hao’s greatest motivation on his road to improving public welfare.
“International Studies gave me exactly what I needed - it provided me with international vision and my instructor, Dr. Christian Mueller has been very supportive and gave me professional advice,” says Hao.
Hao has since started a new journey as a member of Shanghai Roots & Shoots, a non-profit programme started by the renowned primatologist Jane Goodall. When looking back at his college life, Hao summarises that he has clarified his pursuit to become a visionary citizen with inner richness and active participation “to explore the endless possibilities and expand the breadth of life, so that 60 years later I will have no regrets.”
Posted on 16 August 2019