Grace was studying in Paris during the November 2015 terror attacks. As an international student from China and an aspiring politician, the event opened her eyes to broader global issues.
By Dan Rossi ’16
Grace Zhang isn’t just a Levermore Global Scholar, she’s truly earning a global perspective. The Shanghai-born sophomore, majoring in business with aspirations for electoral politics, has set records as a member of Adelphi’s swim team and witnessed history in the making during the Paris terror attacks last November when she was studying abroad.
Zhang started in Fall 2014, coming to Adelphi from China directly after high school. “I had just landed in the (United States) with two suitcases, no friends and no relatives,” Zhang said, but she quickly got to work on her economics and finance major. Her decision to continue her education in English was driven by several factors, most of which can be summarized by her simple comment, “I like a challenge.”
Zhang only applied to four American schools, and got accepted to all of them. “I chose Adelphi because it’s near New York City, the city of opportunity,” she said. As someone interested in the economy and current political issues, being so close to Wall Street and the United Nations couldn’t be a better fit.
Shortly after she arrived at Adelphi, she joined the Levermore Global Scholars program and used her connections with Peter DeBartolo to get active and engaged with the United Nations Association of New York.
The following year, Zhang had decided she wanted to see more of the world and went to study in Paris for the Fall 2015 semester. However, her stay coincided with the terrorist attack on November 13. Zhang had just gotten safely back to her room when she noticed the commotion coming from her host family’s TV. Once news of the attack reached China and the US, she was flooded with texts and emails making sure she was safe and sound, away from the chaos.
“It made me start to think about these kinds of things—terrorism and terrorist attacks, because I want to become a politician,” Zhang said. She was at the center of a historical tragedy, and having seen the aftermath and outcry, she felt her eyes had been opened to a broader scope of global issues. “I started to research these things, what’s really going on, how did we come to this.” She reflected on how close she was to this disaster—the cafes she visited and roads she walked through just hours earlier were just as likely as any to have been attacked. Despite all the turmoil and concerns from her family, friends and school, she completed her semester.
Zhang is putting her education into practice, and in July 2015 published an article about the cultural relationships between China and America, titled “What the Chinese Education Minister is Really Trying to Say” in The Journal of Political Risk. She’s also working with experts from Switzerland and China to publish a paper on the Chinese stock market.
Equal parts brains and brawn, Zhang has gone on to win competitions on Adelphi’s swim team, even breaking a record for 50-yard freestyle in January 2016.
Zhang is anticipating her bachelor’s degree in economics in 2018.
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