Chen, Hongzhen – International Student Leadership Conference, 2015

The trip to ISCA was very enlightening and has opened my eyes to a new world. Not only did I enjoy all the interesting group activities and speeches, but I also met a lot of great people who shared the same interests and values as me. I was deeply impressed by the “Do cool sh*t” speech from Miki Agrawal, a young lady who has started her own companies in many different industries. As a social entrepreneur, she shared her 3- step approach to tackling the things that “suck in the world by creating a business to solve the problems. In particular, she focused on helping those vulnerable poor women who have often been ignored by the society. Being a social entrepreneur is my dream; I am passionate about a lot of social issues and always want to make a difference, however I have never taken real action. Hence, I really appreciate this opportunity to learn from Miki that persistence and diligence are two key qualities of a successful entrepreneur. Miki would never have become so successful if she only had great ideas but did not put in the effort and time working on the proposals while others went to parties.

Another great thing from ISCA, is that it gave me the opportunity to meet and talk to international students from many other universities. Through listening to their experiences, I found that each university has a very different atmosphere of international education depending on the ratio of international students. For example, Concord University has a relatively reserved attitude toward international students and provides fewer opportunities for them to spread their culture. On the contrary, JMU is a massive comprehensive university with a large international student body and a wide variety of international student organizations. Luckily, I happened to meet the president of CSSA (Chinese Students and Scholars Association) at JMU. He shared a lot of his experience working in the organization and gave us valuable suggestions on the process of starting such an organization for Chinese students at UR. He also warmly invited us to all their future activities before we have such an organization on UR campus. I am very excited to share all his experience and ideas to my Chinese friends and look forward to starting working on our own CSSA! Hopefully, future coming Chinese students would have their own organization on campus. Again, I am very thankful for this opportunity from the PAM program which made me start to think about my life in another new perspective.

Chen, Hongzhen

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