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Wenjun WANG: Every journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step


San Servolo, May 29th, the Closing Ceremony for Spring 2014 semester of Venice International University (VIU) is in progress. Everyone looks excited. Now it is the turn to present the Awards for Academic Excellence. Professor Luca Pes, the President of VIU, says cheerfully, “She comes from Tsinghua University, majors in Environmental Studies. Her name is... Wenjun WANG!” “I did not realize that it was me until I heard the cheers from my dear teammates. It was as beautiful as a dream.” says Wenjun, when recall this moment. “Many people come to me and say congratulations. Even after I have gone back to Tsinghua, some professors and classmates kept sending me the photos they took at the time I received the award. I am really grateful!”

Wenjun says, “honestly speaking, I was a little surprised when the award announced. However, happiness and gratefulness certainly won overwhelming superiority.” What makes Wenjun so happy is the fact that her persistent effort is well-recognized and respected by others. For her, the Award is not simply an honor, but also an encouragement and a moral support. As Wenjun says,“sincerely, I thanks for the selfless support and kind help from all the professors, classmates and official staff. It is them that help me win a wonderful life in VIU.”

Morning, Ser Sanvolo!

A two-story teaching building, several dormitories, a tiny cafeteria, and a beautiful sight, this is all of San Servolo, the small island where VIU is located in. Although quite small, the island has obvious advantages, beauty, tranquility and safety. All of these help Wenjun be free from outside distraction. Every morning, 8:30 am, Wenjun appears in the Mac Lab, her favorite place for studying. “A new day begin!” She says to herself. The days are always busy and meaningful. During the daytime, she takes courses, does group work, and goes to field trips. “Every day is different and every day I learn something unknown before. This really makes me feel good!” In the evening, she always studys hard in the Mac Lab with her friends from Tsinghua University. Wenjun says she enjoys this experience very much and now she really miss these evenings. “There is strong emotional bond beween us. As you can imagine, in this remote place, we are the most powerful and reliable source of help and support for each other.”

Generally speaking, Wenjun quite enjoys her life in San Servolo. However, there is one single thing that makes her worried, the food. The food provided by the cafeteria is very limited and always with too much oil. After the first week of arriving, Wenjun had a stomachache. Fortunately, she had brought some medicine from home. With this medicine, she quickly get recovered. “I can’t change the food there, so I have to get used to it.” Wenjun says. Just as she expected, several weeks later, Wenjun successfully became accommodated to the food and never had a stomachache again .

Oh, Sleepless San Servolo!

At the time Wenjun first arrived at San Servolo, everything is new for her. Opening Ceremony, Aperitif, Main Island Visit, Residency Permit Application, many things come. Wenjun trys to manage them one by one. “This process brings me a lot of training. Accomplishing all of them successfully makes me feel more confident”, says Wenjun.

After the orientation week, the class began. Wenjun has 6 courses in total. When she talks about this with her foreign friends, most of them are surprised. “Oh, six! Why do you have so many courses?”, many of them said like this. But Wenjun did not think it is a big deal since she always took many courses in Tsinghua. One semester she even had 14 courses! However, Wenjun realized soon that the courses here in VIU is much more taxing than that in Tsinghua, which is reflected clearly in her daily life. Since the first day the course began, she kept getting up early in the morning while her roommates still sleeping and going back to the dormitory late in the night when her roommates had already fall asleep.

When asked to analyse this circumstance, Wenjun says honestly, “Language is a problem. Although most of us can speak fluent English, it is not enough.” Every day, they have to read a lot of supporting materials so that they can be active in class. What’s more, many times, they find that it is hard to find the right words to describe their feelings or explain their thoughts. “Course content is another source of pressure,” says Wenjun. Some of the courses, such as Globalization and Competitiveness – Global Value Chains, focus on a field they know nothing about, so they have to learn from the very beginning. It takes a lot of time.

The biggest pressure came with the final examinations. 9 papers from 6 different courses is waiting to be completed in 2 weeks. “It was a real challenge.”Wenjun says. After careful consideration and plan, Wenjun began to deal with them. Her method is one thing at a time. Finally, the results revealed that this method did work. She got scores over 94 in 4 courses and even gain a 100 in one of them. Wenjun remembers these days clearly. Everyday she got up at 6am and worked until midnight. Even after the closing ceremony, when everyone was finally relaxed, she still had one final paper to work on. Wenjun said that actually there was a moment when she felt really tired and thought she cannot hold on. But finally she did hold on because she knows, as long as she does not give up, she has the chance to succeed in the end.

Bye, San Servolo!

The days in San Servolo passed quickly and finally the day of departure came. During the semester, Wenjun learned a lot and experienced real happiness. Before she came to VIU, she always thought herself as someone who is silent and no one notice. But in the San Servolo, she gained the appreciation and kind help of several professors. Some of them even give her warm advice on future development. All of these encourage Wenjun to believe in herself and pursue her dream without hesitation.

Finally, when asked whether she has some insights to share, Wenjun answers in a low profile. “As the old Chinese saying goes, every journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. It is important to have a great idea, but maybe it is as important to be down to earth. If we keeps doing something with efforts and improving ourselves step by step, maybe one day, we will finally be someone.”

Wenjun Wang and her VIU Friends