Qinwen Yu - Wishing to “change the world a little bit” through wonderful experience at SFU

As a student in the Global Communication master’s program, Qinwen will be attending university in China, as well as Canada. After finishing her academic year here at SFU, she’ll continue her master’s in Beijing at the Communication University of China.

The Global Communication MA Double Degree combines courses and research with field experience. The combination of academic, professional and cross-cultural learning attracts students from various countries. Qinwen is from Beijing, China. This is her first time living in North America.

We talked to Qinwen about her impressions of Vancouver. She describes Vancouverites as “super-polite.” Drivers often wait for pedestrians. Residents help newcomers find their way.

Qinwen likes living in a multicultural city. Some people have similar cultural backgrounds to her own, while others have backgrounds that are very different. Keeping an open mind has helped her relate to people from other countries. “I never imagined that I would have a close friend from Brazil,” she notes.  

Qinwen values the opportunities she’s had here to gain new perspective and try new things—like SFU’s Three Minute Thesis Competition. Qinwen entered this competition to challenge herself, despite feeling nervous about speaking publicly in English.

The research project she presented explores how Canadian national newspapers portray China’s rising power in the 21st century. The topic reflects her interest in how Canadians see China and in the relationship between the two countries. “Communication makes the world go round. We live in a world where information is power. People, even policy makers, rely on news media for information,” Qinwen explains.

Here’s her eloquent three-minute presentation. “We care what other people think of us. The same could be true between countries…”

Qinwen was given the People’s Choice award for her presentation. The win reinforced what her professor had told her earlier—to be confident in her own expertise, and take full advantage of the opportunity to be heard. She has taken this confidence forward, and recently presented at the conference of the Popular Culture Association of Canada.

When asked about her future plans, Qinwen reports that she’s recently shifted her career focus. Before starting her master’s, she did marketing with companies such as Burson-Marsteller and Orient Star Media. While she’s still interested in marketing, that interest has now expanded to include public service campaigns. Some communication professionals use their expertise to support social justice and public welfare, and Qinwen may decide to “change the world a little bit.”