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Kyle Obermann: A Look into China through My Lens

JUL . 18 2020
Peking University, July 18, 2020: Editor's Note: Peking University has always been incredibly proud of all our students who have worked hard and contributed to society in their own ways after graduation. As we all know, it's been a special year under the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic and the editorial team has interviewed several PKUers with hope that their stories will inspire those in our audience who are striving on their journey in the adventure we call life.


Featured alumnus: Kyle Obermann

Kyle Obermann, a Texan nature photographer based in Chengdu, who discovered his love for China's natural sights while attending Peking University. He was admitted to PKU on a scholarship, which to him, was the biggest honor and changed his life for the better. As a scholar, he felt a sense of responsibility and wanted to make China better in the way that he could, for the people of China.

"PKU laid the seeds for so much of my work and current life, that it's hard not to feel connected in some way no matter where I go."


He found his true calling while studying at PKU, where he discovered his passion for photographing China's incredible natural sights. He works hard to preserve China's nature, protecting it and ensuring that future generations would be able to enjoy the beauty that China has to offer. Even though he is no longer a PKU student, he often works with the Shanshui Conservation Center located on campus on projects related to conservation of China's nature.

"There are always new connections and projects that come out of PKU, and I am thankful always for the experience and opportunities it gave me."


 

 

Kyle credits his time at PKU as his first chance to form meaningful friendships and connections with Chinese people. He used to spend a lot of time on campus, with fond memories of studying around Weiming Lake, running with the track team at Wu Si field, swimming in the pool, eating malaxiangguo at the cafeteria, writing papers in the library… Even though he no longer sees familiar faces whenever he visits the PKU campus, he feels happy that the places he's familiar with are filled with new faces, with new life stories being made.

At PKU, he was a member of the track team, where he had the opportunity to bond with fellow athletes, allowing him to improve his language skills tremendously while learning how to integrate himself into Chinese culture. To him, the lessons of language and friendship he learned at PKU has helped to propel his career and network, enabling him to chase his dream of becoming a freelance photographer. He is grateful for his network of Chinese friends and proudly claims that he has more Chinese friends than foreign friends in China!


 

 

Last year, Kyle received a second-class prize and Best Editing Award in the "@China" Global Short Video Contest presented by People's Daily. This contest asked candidates to upload videos themed "China and I" to tell their China stories to the world.

Over the course of the contest, People's Daily received over 430,000 submissions from more than 60 countries across the globe. Among all submissions, only FIVE were awarded the second-class prize and only ONE was chosen for the Best Editing Award.

Kyle's video was produced in collaboration with his alma mater Peking University.


"I hope that foreign students who go to PKU can do their best to integrate themselves with their Chinese peers and that their Chinese peers would do the same with foreigners. That kind of open exchange and friendship is the best way to build cultural understanding and trust as people head into their futures."

Kyle plans to be in China for a long time and wishes to continue to work to build bridges between the East and West while conserving nature in the process. He believes that it is important for humans to work together to protect our planet, as this Earth is the common planet we share, regardless of differences and boundaries, and all of us need to play our part in protecting our planet, and each other.


Source: Kyle Obermann
Editor: Shannon Lim, Trevor
Photo: Kyle Obermann