Humans of TU Delft: Zongchen Li

Like most students at TU Delft, Zongchen “Darren” Li is very busy with academic work. But not afraid of a challenge, he still found time to organise a large cross-cultural event recently.

“Currently I’m the president of the Chinese student association (ACSSNL-Delft) in Delft. On March 9th we hosted a Chinese New Year Gala that was something we never tried before. It was at Theater de Veste. We had twelve performances, not only by Chinese students, but people from other countries like Spain, India and Indonesia. Some of the performers also came from other places in the Netherlands like Leiden, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Enschede.

In the past, the association hosted events which mainly included Chinese groups. The moment I became president I wanted to make some improvements, to lead the association to become more international. Therefore we decided to do the gala only in English, which was a challenge for me because I was also the emcee of the event. The biggest challenge for us was that we needed a big budget to cover the costs. Therefore we tried to connect with five companies and luckily we got sponsorship from them, and the Gemeente Delft and Chinese Embassy supported us as well. In total, we obtained more than 6000 euros, which was a big step forward for a student association.

‘I took a huge risk’ 

Some people told me I was bold and crazy, because I took a huge risk to make a tremendous step. But I love challenges, want to do things differently, and am interested in cultural exchange. We worked hard to organise it until the final second. People liked the new style of the event which left us feeling satisfied about our efforts.

Holding an event like this is a big challenge because we’re all students, which means we had to sacrifice time from our studies and from our daily lives. Nevertheless, I think it’s good to jump out of the box and do something different. It was a big challenge, but it was a good step for me and our association and that feels great.”

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Heather Montague / Freelance writer

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