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ZhaoZhou Dai


Embracing the unknown.

Zhaozhou Dai knew that when he came to Nebraska, he wanted to take advantage of every opportunity, even if failure was a possibility.
– ZhaoZhou Dai –

When I came to Nebraska, it was my first time abroad by myself, and I didn’t know anyone. I felt cultural shock, and there was a big adjustment to the time difference and the cold weather. I would tell any international student to get out of your comfort zone and cherish all the opportunities you have—just go for it. Even if you think you might fail, always try. 

“…Get out of your comfort zone and cherish all the opportunities you have—just go for it. Even if you think you might fail, always try.”

— ZhaoZhou Dai

Zhaozhou had a childhood dream of pursuing journalism—a major that challenged him to get out of his comfort zone.

When I was in middle school, I really enjoyed reading the news, so I started thinking that I would want to be a journalist. From there, I joined a journalism class, and after that the seed was planted in my heart; I wanted to become a journalist.

My first year at Nebraska, I told myself I needed to get out of my comfort zone. As a journalism student, one of the ways I’ve connected with others at Nebraska is by interviewing them. I write for the Nebraska News Service, and this semester I’ve been focusing on writing about diversity and inclusion.

I interviewed Nebraska professors about their immigration stories, including professors who had immigrated from Russia and Vietnam. Recently, I wrote a story about the Stop Asian Hate movement. I reached out to Asian communities in Nebraska like the Nebraska Chinese Association, Nebraska’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion and even a local restaurant owner.

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By getting involved on campus, Zhaozhou found opportunities that directly apply to his interests.

I really enjoyed being part of the National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) team and competing against other American universities. At first, I wasn’t sure about it because the whole team was domestic students; I was afraid I wouldn’t fit in. They were all so friendly and warm, and they helped me if I had any questions.

I also work as the visual communications lab assistant. I assist journalism underclassmen who are learning the Adobe programs they need to complete their assignments, including InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. Recently, I took a data journalism class, which is all about news reporting using data and analysis. I feel like I’m falling in love with this topic, and after graduation, it is a topic I want to pursue.

ZhaoZhou with friendsZhaoZhou in front of the State CapitalZhaoZhou with friends
Zhaozhou turned his fear of the unknown into an opportunity to build a dream career.

Nebraska is a good place. Before I came here, I didn’t even know there was a state called Nebraska. At first, I was scared, because I didn’t know what to expect. When I got here, I quickly saw how safe and friendly it is. Nebraska is a great place to start your dream career—you can learn so much here.