The international students in the Beyond Boundaries Program have been an integral part in shaping our work within the student cohorts as well as within the larger Washington University community. Annika Wei, from Shanghai, China is one of those incredible “intellectual explorers.” With regard to the university as a whole, she shares that “WashU is a school that makes me feel comfortable – I am surrounded by caring faculty members who constantly check up on me and friends and classmates whom I adore.” She chose to apply and join this particular program because of the “cohort of faculty, students, and guest speakers who look past the defining lines separating different fields.” While COVID has prevented Annika from traveling and being on campus for her first year in St. Louis, she has truly made the most of her WU experience thus far. Annika shares some of her successes up to this point:
One of my biggest accomplishments is to become more at peace with who I am and better understand what I want. Through Beyond Boundaries, I got to meet many of our guest speakers who talk about combining their interests into something both fulfilling and useful. Seeing them made me realize that that is what I want to do, and it helped me set a goal for myself. In a few short months, I’ve become more at peace with the fact that I may not have all the answers right now because I know that I have a lot of support and that it takes time to find the perfect fit for me.
Annika has enjoyed pursuing her academic interests in psychology, economics, and computer science here at Wash U. While she has spent much time with psychology-related learning, she mentions that economics and computer science are “relatively new for me.” She hopes to “delve deeper into these fields and, with the help of Beyond Boundaries, find a way to combine my interests into something that I am passionate about and is of use to the world around me.”
Outside of the (virtual) classroom and related to her passion for economics, Annika participates in WU Student Investment Fund (WUSIF) which works on “creating a community where students interested in investment and finance may come together.” She has also joined Washington University Investment Banking Association (WUIB) whose mission is “to assist Wash U students through the investment banking recruiting process.” In addition to those activities, Annika has made it a priority to spend time with these groups: Active Minds at Wash U (focusing on mental health issues and awareness), the Culinary Arts Society (providing students with materials and ingredients to cook for themselves and others), and the Chinese Student Association (promoting “awareness for Chinese and Chinese-American cultural and societal issues”).
Looking towards the future, Annika will continue seeking out research opportunities “to get more experience and better understand what life as a researcher is like.” She’s also open to exploring settings in the corporate world while always observing and further appreciating her strengths and recognizing her areas for improvement.