Zhili Wang

Zhili Wang

Zhili Wang obtained her Bachelor's degree in International Economics and Business Economics and her Master's degree in Banking and Finance at Utrecht University. In the summer of 2018 she finished her second Master's program in Public International Law at UU.

In love with UU, finding balance and well-being in Utrecht

As the famous quote goes: 'I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you'. I couldn't think of a better way to describe my love for this amazing University and city.

I want to thank them for providing me with the opportunities that made me who I am today. Two Masters degrees in Finance and Public International Law; together with rich hobbies in various fields, piano, aerial acrobatics, marathon running, yoga, salsa, bachata, jazz dance, boxing, pole fitness, travel, and the list is still expanding...

Most importantly, I am happy and grateful for my life.

I came from a hard-working culture in China, where happiness and fulfilment come with many strings attached. Balance is also a luxury that comes at a great price.

My life in Utrecht taught me to slow down and take a moment to enjoy the more ‘trivial’ things in life: a beautiful rainbow in the crystal clear sky, a breath-taking sunset with fascinating layers of colours from light pink to orange to purple. I have time to listen to a piece of piano played by a stranger at the train station, or play a few pieces for others; I can practice a session of meditation while doing early-morning yoga at a park; or watch the peaceful and picturesque view of the Utrecht canals, as well as enjoying a classical concert at the Concertgebouw...

This shift in my mindset happened with reason. After three years of a Bachelor in Economics with a minor in Law, I continued with a Financial and Banking Master, during which I applied for a second Master’s programme in Public International Law. I was in the social event committee for both. In the meantime, I was also preparing for the Dutch language exams and working on other projects. There was a period of time when I was so busy studying and managing my social life that I had to have my meals on the bus from point A to point B (I know I should have been biking...).

Lots of challenges arose from studies as well, from building fancy financial models to reading a legal textbook that was like reading a ‘dictionary’, with all the legal terms and French/Latin expressions. While I was busy adding things to my life, the accumulated stress and pressure started to get to me, until my body received the signals and started saying “slow down”..

That was a difficult time when I had to learn to bring balance back into my life. Fortunately, the professional university study advisors helped me with study and life suggestions. Olympos offered me opportunities to challenge my physical capacities in many ways, and in Parnassos I practiced several dancing styles.

After years of living in Utrecht, I learned the importance of living a balanced and cheerful life, which will benefit me for a lifetime. Here are some tips for those who may need them:1. Remember to breathe and take deep breaths; 2. Learn to take time and love yourself; 3. Look for resources that can help you and know that they are there; 4. Invest several minutes of your day to watch the sunrise and sunset or listen to the strangers playing piano at the train station. You will be amazed how wonderful life can be!

(With special thanks to my best friend Dea Tusha and study advisors Mr. Kim Goossens, Drs. Huub Klein Schiphorst, and Ms. Merel van Geffen)