Nearly a hundred years ago, in the library of the University of Pennsylvania, a young Chinese scholar flipped through mountains of books on the historical analysis of western architecture. Finding the lack of literature on Chinese architecture at the time, he made it his mission to transcribe this segment of China’s rich history. In 1942, risking the bullets and bombings of War World II, he finished his book. However, due to various reasons, it was not released to the public until 1992. This man’s name is Liang Sicheng, a famous Chinese archaeologist and architecture, known as the “Father of Modern Chinese Architecture.”
Growing up in the highly urbanized and young city of Shenzhen, I witnessed a number of buildings face destruction in the name of urban expansion and modernization. The stories behind these buildings have always intrigued me. Encouraged by Liang’s perseverance, courage and ideology on harmonizing the preservation of ancient architect with modern urban development, I too aspire to study archeology in hopes of to follow Liang’s footsteps to give a voice and revive the endangered culture. Currently, I have developed a strong understanding of China’s history through my role as a volunteer tour guide at the Shenzhen Museum and I have scraped the surface of learning to tools to analyze history through my coursework in my AP World History class. However, I hope to expand upon my knowledge base and build on my analytical skills through studying abroad and challenging myself through university-level courses.
I can see myself taking courses such as ANTH – The Anthropological Study of Culture to develop different worldviews as well as skills to analyze sources from multiple perspectives and put sources in context. I also look forward to taking ANTH – Economy and Culture in Contemporary China to broaden my understanding of my home country. I am excited to see how my views will be challenged. I also look forward to sharing my perspectives to help others gain additional insight on my country.
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The University of Pennsylvania’s Pre-College will allow me to interact with people of different backgrounds and interests. I cannot wait to hear their stories and what drives their passions. Further, I believe that this summer program will be fundamental in helping me solidify the path of my future studies. Like Liang Sicheng, I seek to dive into my country’s history in order to share it with the rest of the world.
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