BEIJING, Aug. 30, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — On August 30, 2023, the latest episode of Youth Power, “Gen Z Ready to Kickoff New Semester” premiered online as the start of the new school year begins. Gen Z guests from countries including China, Bulgaria, Germany, Malaysia, Russia, and Spain came together to discuss university life and envision the upcoming academic year.

Entering college comes with distinct and exciting recreational activities. The guests recalled their joyful and surprising experiences as freshmen, noting that the back-to-school season varies from country to country. Jood Sharaf, a Bulgarian student at Tsinghua University, who previously studied in the UK and South Korea shared her experience. “At some British universities, the first week of school is ‘Freshers’ Week.’ There are no classes during this week, and the school organizes social activities for students,” she mentioned.

When asked about what essential items you should bring as you begin university life, the Gen Z guests all agreed that bringing hometown specialties is a “must-have”. Malaysian student Low Kai Xin said, “I brought Malaysian-style noodles and various seasonings.” Cooking and cuisine not only facilitate social interactions but also showcase personal uniqueness.

Leopold Lind, a student from Germany, noted, “A unique aspect of Chinese universities is their strong emphasis on physical exercise, with many well-organized sports programs.” The mandatory physical education courses at Chinese universities received praise from the Gen Z guests. Zhong Yutong, the program host and graduate of Fudan University, summarized that most Chinese universities are public institutions and focus on students’ comprehensive development, aiming to cultivate a lifelong habit of exercise.

The four years of university are a critical period of growth and transformation. While discussing the shift in perspective during university life, the Gen Zers expressed that time goes by fast in college, the initial excitement gradually fades, sometimes replaced by uncertainty or anxiety about the future. Following this, senior students shared their own tips for managing anxiety. Low Kai Xin shared that participating in various extracurricular activities off-campus can expand horizons, build connections, and offer avenues for dealing with anxiety. Wang Licheng, a Chinese student at Peking University, affirmed that feelings of anxiety often stem from comparing oneself to others, and engaging with peers can guide individuals to uncover their unique paths.

Diego Rodriguez, a Spanish student, added, “It’s well known that Chinese universities are highly competitive. Instead of constantly comparing yourself to others, compare yourself to your past self to see if you’ve made progress.” Yulia Temelidi from Russia expressed, “When I first entered university, it was like I was a child and received a lot of help from others. During my junior and senior years, I’m willing to share the experiences I’ve gained and help others through their difficulties.”

Drawing from their personal experiences, the Gen Z guests shared insights into university life while extending well wishes to new and prospective students returning to school. Jood mentioned, “The keyword for my university life is ‘perseverance.’ You might face many difficulties and choices, but the important thing is to stay grounded and take steps toward your dreams.” Wang Licheng emphasized the importance of learning to let go. Faced with numerous choices, there’s no need to force yourself to do everything. Indeed, only by letting go can one stay true to their original aspirations and achieve their goals.

During the final segment of the episode, Low Kai Xin expressed her hope that university students would venture beyond their comfort zones and embark on bold explorations. Jood and Leopold shared their aspirations for everyone to find a balance between studying, socializing, and resting, emphasizing that a well-balanced life is  one that endures over time. Additionally, Yulia reminded everyone not to forget to explore more and find happiness, thus making the best out of their university life.

Youth Power, organized by China Daily and first broadcast in June 2021, aims to build a global platform of communication and exchange, focusing on the interests and ideas of Generation Z. The program comes in the form of interviews, forums and speeches, with topics related to anything of current interest in the world.