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Overcoming Unforeseen Challenges

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pku.edu.cn | Updated: Sept 19, 2021

From Enzo Cardoso Pertence dos Santos, a Brazilian student of Peking University

Enzo Cardoso Pertence dos Santos studied at FGV-EAESP in Brazil for the former half of his bachelor's degree and is currently doing his latter half at Peking University. He had spent more than two years studying Chinese in China before joining the "Future Leaders" Program at PKU. He is a big fan of scuba diving and traveling, and he is fond of learning about new cultures.

Experiencing Local Culture and Developing Leadership through Teamwork in Competition

If you ask me what my most impressive experience is so far, I would probably answer playing in the University Championship as a member of the Ultimate Frisbee team during my exchange in China, which happened before the pandemic. After a grueling year with regular practice sessions twice a week plus extra night sessions every other day, we finally made it through the regional qualifier and earned a spot at the university national championship.

Although we didn't get to play in nationals due to the Covid, getting into the regional Top 4 after beating one of our major rivals 13 to 2 was simply amazing! While we have achieved a lot, the process of getting there was also nothing short of extraordinary. We had lost a large part of the team due to graduating students after the previous season, so it was hard for the ones left and the new team members to build the necessary cohesion in but a few short months, especially in a team with both locals and foreigners.

However, with our shared effort, we finally managed to come together as a unit and play a cohesive game. This experience helped me further understand the local Chinese culture, strengthened my leadership skills, and taught me ways to support others to be leaders themselves.

Terror in the Ocean: Always Prepare for the Worst Outcome and Safety Comes First

As to the experience I find the most unique, it would be one that I hope would never happen again. I was traveling with my friends in Malaysia for a scuba diving trip. Our hotel was in the middle of the ocean, so we thought it'd be a waste not to go down and swim. As the most experienced swimmer in the group, I asked my friends if everyone could swim before going down in the water, to which all of them replied positively. After leveling with the water, we all jumped into the ocean and raced towards the floating station nearby, the only other place where one could stand at other than the elevator we were at.

Upon reaching the station, I looked back and suddenly noticed that I couldn't see one of my friends. By the sound of his voice, he wasn't making it back to the platform on his own, nor staying above water for too long. I performed exactly as I had done during training, with nothing on my head other than the goal of getting my friend out of the water. I swam over, talking to him to make sure he wasn't panicking, supported him above water from behind so that he couldn't hit me, and wrestled the buoy thrown to us under his body. When I realized it'd probably take me some 10 minutes to swim over due to the current, one motorboat approached. They threw me a rope to grab on and pulled us towards the platform. The realization of what had just happened dawned only after 30 minutes had already gone by on land, and it was awful.

The sudden despair and anxiety that washed over me after is something I could not describe.

I wanted to share this experience to show that safety comes first with no matter what you do, and always be ready to deal with the worst possible outcome. Also, don't go swimming out in the ocean with friends without a life buoy.

Social Life in a Global Society

While I really enjoy reading books and comics, watching movies, playing ultimate frisbee, traveling and teaching, one of my most unique talents would be my ability to interact with different types of people, with the most varied tastes, hobbies and cultures. This is a result from my ability to talk about politics, economics, video games, football, movies, and a plethora of other topics, with people not only from my country but also from different places and cultures. Being able to communicate with most of them given the time and effort is something I'm confident I can do.

This probably stems from constantly moving schools when I was young, interacting with new people, having different interests, and also having lived in China for more than 2 years. When you constantly adapt to new environments, you end up learning how to do it better. Through this process, I not only grew more confident, but I also gained a deeper understanding of the world we live in.

Shenzhen-Shanghai-Beijing: A Closer Look at China and Meeting Excellent People

I grew further interested in China after visiting Shenzhen in late 2016, when I was awed by the city's landscape and bustling economy. After my visit, I thought the closest I could ever experience China would've been during my exchange program in Shanghai, and later thought it would be during my 2 years studying Chinese, but upon hearing about the possibility of staying in China and immersing myself for another 2 years in possibly the best business school in the country, I knew I couldn't let this opportunity simply pass by. I chose to attend the "Future Leaders" Program because it aligned closest with my personal goals and aspirations, which could provide me with not just a closer look at China but also an international and diverse environment. It was the perfect opportunity showing up at the perfect time.

During my time at the "Future Leaders" Program, I was most impressed by how attentive the staff was to all of our needs, especially when we have to learn remotely. They made sure all of our classes at Guanghua were interactive and with good audio and video streaming. I was also extremely impressed by the achievements of my classmates. All of them are outstanding people and are nothing short of the best their respective universities could offer. This program so far has been full of nothing but extremely pleasant surprises and has far exceeded the expectations I had prior to its beginning.

PKU Guanghua "Future Leaders" Program

Partnering with 15 of the world's best business schools, the Guanghua School of Management has founded the "Future Leaders" International Undergraduate Double-Degree Program that gives students the opportunity to gain an understanding of their local markets while also immersing them in one of the fastest-growing and most dynamic economies in the world: China. This program will focus on admitting top students with outstanding leadership potential from Peking University and its partner institutions. After completing their first two years of study at the institution in their home country, students will live and study together with classmates of diverse backgrounds from all over the world, including students from China, for two more years as a single cohort at Peking University.

Meet Our "Future Leaders" is a featured series on stories of PKU "Future Leaders" International Undergraduate Program students. It aims to introduce program students coming from Peking University and our partner schools all over the world and share their experiences and thoughts before and after studying at PKU.