Our Graduate Sharing Session Pursuing Dreams in a Vast World

During the new year's first week, we welcomed a unique group — 6 of our Class of 2023. Michael (University of Oxford, UK), Joy (Amsterdam University College, Netherlands), Dora (University of California, Berkeley, USA), Han (Texas A&M University, USA), Licca (Parsons School of Design, USA), and Alex (University of British Columbia - Okanagan Campus, Canada) revisited the campus.

These alumni branched out globally from Dehong Shanghai last summer. They now pursue their studies at prominent educational establishments worldwide, specializing in diverse disciplines like anthropology, economics, fashion, electrical engineering, architecture, and statistics. Six months post-graduation, we ponder their transformations, the surprises and challenges encountered in university life, and their perceived areas of significant growth. Moreover, we're eager to hear their insights and guidance.

Let's listen to their stories, seeking insights on academics, social integration, and lifestyle.

Academic Insights

High school built my confidence, teaching me to handle challenges with equanimity

University presents our students with new teaching styles, advanced course complexity, and varied examination methods which means lots of challenges. Nevertheless, these graduates express gratitude for Dehong’s academic programme. It effectively equipped them for higher education, from managing course selections to essay composition.


"Our high school's Theory of Knowledge (TOK) and Extended Essay (EE) components effectively trained us. They honed our skills in extracting relevant arguments from extensive materials. "

- Michael, University of Oxford, UK

"Our high school offered a diverse curriculum encompassing a vast array of course types, with minimal selection restrictions. This approach provided a foundational exploration across various subjects. My previous extensive exploration emboldened me to experiment with a wider range of university courses."

- Dora, University of California, Berkeley, USA


Even though the educational experience at Dehong has established a solid foundation and bolstered students' confidence when confronting university-level courses, the considerable amount of coursework still poses a substantial challenge for each student.


"In university, numerous assignments necessitate team collaboration. Professors frequently set stringent submission deadlines, occasionally providing only a week for preparation. This necessitates that each person has strong time management capabilities, increases their study motivation and efficiency, and cooperates closely with their team to produce satisfactory outcomes."

- Han, Texas A&M University, USA

Social Integration

Broadening horizons through networking

The predominant challenge for many international students is not academic but social: integrating into the local environment and establishing a social network from the start. Universities assign tutors to new students to assist with living and academic issues. Engaging with these tutors is seen as an essential step in making inroads into the community.


"What initially surprised me about studying in the U.S. was the practice of calling professors by their first names. Though it felt strange at first, it truly bridges the gap between students and professors. With small class sizes, our professors resemble high school teachers in their approach, treating each student with individual attention. They send long, uplifting emails at the end of each term, which significantly boosts our confidence."

- Licca, Parsons School of Design, USA


Forming connections with classmates is equally crucial. University life abroad differs from middle school in that it assembles a mix of nationalities, cultures, and ages. Interactions with such a diverse cohort expose you to varied lifestyles.


"I encountered many students who are a year or two older, with some over 30 returning to pursue their undergraduate degree. They have made diverse life choices. Engaging in conversations with them has been incredibly advantageous."

- Joy, Amsterdam University College, Netherlands

"I connected with individuals holding strong convictions and high aspirations, who earnestly aim to apply their knowledge toward making a difference in the world and inducing positive changes in their home countries. Their influence on me has been substantial. "

- Dora, University of California, Berkeley, USA


It is a common belief that language poses the greatest challenge to socializing for students whose first language is not English. Nevertheless, embracing the courage to speak out and authentically express oneself can launch one on the course to making friends.


"In my major, students are from various countries meaning socializing opportunities arise. It's essential to be open to engaging with people of different backgrounds. Through my interactions with classmates from around the globe, I've discovered their interest in making friendships with Chinese students. "

- Michael, University of Oxford, UK

Life Chapter

Bravely sailing forward in the ideal environment

Living overseas alone often entails discomforts. Solo cooking, traveling, and confronting life's uncertainties are among the quickest paths to personal growth and can even strengthen familial bonds.


"In high school, support from parents, classmates, and friends was commonplace; we frequently collaborated on tasks. Entering university, however, marks the beginning of independence. In a single semester, I have learned numerous new skills. "

- Alex, University of British Columbia - Okanagan Campus, Canada


Students agree that after six months of university life, the "experiential feeling" is essential. Factors such as a school's location, climate, and alignment with personal plans influence the quality and contentment of university life. Ultimately, the place of study becomes the place of living, highlighting the importance of choosing the environment that best suits one's needs.


"During my free time, I enjoy frequenting art galleries or parks. Moreover, the contrast in industries between the U.S. East and West Coasts results in distinct internship and employment prospects, further affecting our lifestyle and career choices. "

- Licca, Parsons School of Design, USA

"I have always been enamored with the ambiance of Europe. The central European location of my present school is delightful, offering easy travel to other nations, an invaluable aspect of my lifestyle. Furthermore, our school's policy of not declaring a major in the first year has granted me the chance to explore broader options. This approach provides a cushion for my life plans and fits my current situation perfectly. "

- Joy, Amsterdam University College, Netherlands


During the session, graduates candidly shared their insights and pondered their daily experiences. They continue to explore their self-identity. These alumni also show deep interest in the class of 2024' academic achievements and genuinely celebrate their current results.

Their key advice for our current families is to conduct thorough comparisons. They recommend visiting campuses and speaking with alumni to gauge compatibility and the ability to adjust to the environment. Dora urges, "Don't overpackage yourself. Approach schools with openness, and you'll find where you truly belong."

We are eager to see more Dehong students find their best-fit universities. We also hope the graduates shine in university and courageously face the future. We would like to keep sharing more of their growing stories. Stay tuned!