Jiahui Zhong

Jiahui ZhongJiahui Zhong is a senior at Brandeis from Shenyang, China, majoring in Politics and Economics, and minoring in Hispanic Studies. She is also pursuing a Master’s degree in International Economics and Finance at Brandeis International Business School. Jiahui is a Community Advisor and Research Assistant in the Politics department. She has also served as President of the Brandeis Pre-Law Society and has studied abroad in Spain and the Netherlands.

Jiahui’s college counselor was an alumnus of Brandeis and recommended the university to her. Impressed by the rigorous academic environment at Brandeis, she chose to apply for early decision. Jiahui was admitted as a regular intake international student, not as a Gateway Scholar. However, a former Gateway Scholar had told Jiahui that the program prepared her well for college level classes, and Jiahui knew that she wanted to be part of the program. Jiahui had never studied in the United States before and she was eager to improve her writing and communication skills before she started college. She wrote a letter to the Brandeis Admissions Office expressing her enthusiasm for the Gateway Scholars program and was admitted.

During the seven-week summer program, Gateway Scholars take three classes that prepare them for their future courses at Brandeis: Analytical Writing, Critical Reading in the Humanities and Social Sciences, and Academic Oral Communication. Jiahui remembers that the classes were difficult, but they prepared her for success at Brandeis. She learned how to analyze a text, structure a paper, and express her opinion in an academic setting. Jiahui says, “It was very challenging, but I’m very glad that I did it. I didn’t want to go into college feeling helpless or left behind.” Jiahui’s favorite class during summer was Academic Oral Communication because she received one-on-one attention from an instructor who corrected her pronunciation and helped her improve her speaking skills. Jiahui says, “I never knew the way I pronounced ‘l’ was wrong. Even today, my friends compliment me on my pronunciation!” In this course, she also became more comfortable participating in class discussions and believes it gave her confidence to speak up in her Politics courses at Brandeis.

Jiahui has been very involved in campus life at Brandeis and for the past three years she has been a Community Advisor (CA). CAs are peer advisors who live in Brandeis’ residence halls and help build community among students. In this position, Jiahui communicates with students of all different backgrounds, plans events for her residents, and manages student crises. The application process for the CA position is rigorous and includes several rounds of individual and group interviews. Although she was intimidated, Jiahui performed very well in the group interviews. She says, “I had confidence in my English, even though I was one of the only non-native speakers there. I was still able to talk at the same level as them and I didn’t feel that I was inferior. I felt that people could hear my voice and that I could communicate effectively.” Jiahui’s experience as a CA has been very rewarding and has allowed her to make friends with people from different backgrounds. She believes that her experience as a Gateway Scholar gave her the confidence to push herself outside of her comfort zone and become more involved in the Brandeis community.

Jiahui will complete her Bachelor’s degree in May 2018, but will stay at Brandeis for another year to complete her Master’s degree. She is passionate about fashion and technology, and would like to incorporate both of those passions into her future career.