Xuemei Zhang is studying for an MSt in General Linguistics and Comparative Philology and is a member of the Oxford Sirens Cheerleading Team.
We asked Xuemei a few questions about her experiences at Oxford and Kellogg, as well as about her time competing as a cheerleader on behalf of the University of Oxford.
What were you doing before you came to study at Oxford?
I graduated from Tsinghua University with a Bachelor Degree of Art in Chinese Language and Literature in 2014. I then worked as a program officer in the social organization Beijing Forward Foundation, doing public welfare program management on fundamental education and aging people care until I came to Oxford.
What are the best things about studying at Oxford?
First of all, Oxford is a poetic paradise with a strong feeling of history and culture, making it the best place for studying the Humanities. I often feel that I am in a fairy tale while walking along the old buildings in bright sunshine, which has definitely given me much inspiration for writing.
I can find nearly every book I need and the best scholars in my research area are here in Oxford. Many lectures are given by people whose names were only seen in books and papers before. It is true that studying in Oxford is a privilege.
The international diversity makes it possible to meet people with different life experiences from different cultural backgrounds. By listening to their values and stories, I believe life is full of possibilities.
The whole environment is both encouraging and challenging. Like in Cheerleading, if I fall down, there is no time for me to cry on the floor, all I need to do is get up, try again and stand higher. As my coach puts it: progress has no limit here.
Tell us about your involvement in University cheerleading
I am a flyer in the All Girls Level 2 of the Oxford Sirens Cheerleading Team, the University’s competitive cheerleading squad. We have regular training twice a week and we have just finished the competitions for this season: The University National (which is also the Varsity against Cambridge) in Birmingham and Legacy Just Believe in London. We ranked 9th in the University National and 5th in the Legacy Just Believe competition.
What else have you been involved with during your time at Oxford?
I worked as one of the Directors for the Chinese traditional costume show, which was the opening show for the Chinese New Year Gala held in Oxford Town Hall by OXCSSA (Oxford Chinese Students & Scholars Association) in February 2016.
What do you think of Kellogg?
I love Kellogg! Although our College is physically small and not as wealthy as many other colleges, I know it always prioritises what is best to benefit its students. The College has really created a friendly, open-minded and warm atmosphere for students. The staff are very kind and helpful. I am the MCR Communications Officer this year on the MCR Committee, and I have witnessed the Committee’s effort to bring a more colourful college life for MCR members. Also friends here in Kellogg have helped me a lot when I have encountered difficulties and troubles. Last but not least, we have the best food!
What would you like to do after your Master’s?
I plan to work in the culture industry after my Master’s study and also learn more practical skills in design. And maybe after several years’ work experience, I will come back to university for another degree with a more specific focus, aimed to better promote my future career.