Treehouse Chats with the 5th: Meet the Zhao Yuan

As one of the few Year 1s making up the 5th College Student Committee, our new Enterprise Director is someone you may not know much about- yet. Read on to find out more about Zhao Yuan though his responses to seven questions (some of which are completely random).

1. What are some of your interests?

“My personal interest would be to read up on things related to finance and investment- I believe that financial independence is fundamental in order to achieve other things in life.

I used to do a lot of research in Chemistry in JC. I had a very good Chemistry teacher in secondary school who got me really interested in the subject. But after A levels I decided that I don’t want to pursue it because of the prospects of long lab hours.” (Zhao Yuan is now studying Business.)

2. What would you like to do more?

“One thing I would like to do is to travel more. I travelled to the US on my own for three weeks to visit my friends studying there after my National Service, and it was amazing.

I started off in California to visit my friend at UC Berkeley- it was somewhat like Tembusu except that everyone there is much more vocal. I also went to other tourist attractions like the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf and The Cheesecake Factory from The Big Bang Theory. I got to experience my first winter in Chicago – I almost brought only one jacket for it! Luckily my friend brought me to shop for winter clothes beforehand.”


3. You must have really enjoyed your time there- have you ever considered going overseas for university?

“It was fun experiencing a new environment for a short period of time, but I figured that it would be quite hard to spend four years away from home. But I might consider it for Master’s in the future. New York or California Bay would be my ideal choice for exchange- one is the financial hub of the world, and the other has great weather.

Regardless, I really recommend travelling on your own. It teaches you to be independent because you plan your own itinerary. You learn, in your own way, to deal with the problems you run into, unlike when you are with other friends. I definitely plan to travel to more places while I’m still young.”

4. Anywhere else you want to go in particular?

“North Pole, to see the beautiful Northern Lights before the ice melts away, but I will need a lot of time to get used to the cold.”

5. If you’re going to a remote island for a week and you can only bring three things with you, what would you bring?

“A camera – I don’t get to spend one week on the beach that often. I would like to walk around, explore the wildlife and record them in pictures.

I would also bring a journal to keep track of my feelings, reflections and thoughts. When you get in contact with the nature for so long, I think you will be reflecting upon your life up to now. I want to think about what I want to achieve from this trip and maybe do a scrapbook with the photos taken later.

And maybe a book that I would like to complete- the last book of the Harry Potter series if I can’t think of anything new. It’s where everything comes into one picture and we get to understand that every character has their own strengths and weaknesses.”


6. What’s your favourite animal?

“Eagle. It can fly very high and see everything at one glance, and travels across large regions from mountains to the forests.”

7. What superpower would you like to have?

“Time – to make more of it when I need it. If you go back and forth in time, you will only end up twisting things the way you want them to be. But having more time gives you the space to think. We have to make assumptions sometimes because there is no time to think through all the details. I think we will be able to make much better decisions if given more time to think.”

(I think to myself that this is an exceptionally good answer- I would have said that I want to fly.)

I comment to Zhao Yuan that he sounds like a very motivated individual. He laughs and replies that he has been very inspired by the people he met in Tembusu. He cites an incident with one of our Treehouse writers, Zhi Min, as one of his memorable encounters. Zhao Yuan met him on his first day in Tembusu, when he was rushing through breakfast to go for his Business O’ week camp. Seeing him on his own, Zhi Min asked Zhao Yuan to join him, and they had a long conversation where Zhi Min shared his vast travel experiences. Zhao Yuan was pleasantly surprised at his willingness to share personal experiences with someone he had just met.

It was this first encounter that encouraged him to embrace serendipity and the lessons it brings along, especially in Tembusu. He also looks forward to working with the 5th CSC members to plan programmes for the college (“Stay tuned for next sem!”).

Coincidentally, Zhao Yuan is also my classmate with whom I have taken two modules together this semester. In and out of class, the Zhao Yuan I have known thus far is a person who is highly driven and poised, yet humble, pleasant and very easy to talk to. If you were to ask me, I am certainly looking forward to being inspired by his future endeavours as our new Enterprise Director too.


Editor: Alison Chew