Jonathan Lopez: Building bridges between China and Colombia

Building bridges between China and Colombia

Editor’s note
In 2018, Jonathan Lopez, a young Colombian who graduated from McGill University in Canada, won a full scholarship to Tsinghua University

After traveling to 61 countries with the dream of becoming President of Columbia, Jonathan finally decided to come to China. Let’s see what China is like in his eyes after three years of exploration. 

Building bridges between China and Colombia
Jonathan Lopez

Jonathan Lopez

Building bridges between China and Colombia

As I grew up in Medellin, a city largely known to be entrepreneurial, I developed a strong inclination towards business. Even though I never visited any other country until I turned 18, I always dreamed about studying international business. Naturally, I thought of China as the single most important place for business, as everything was “made in China”.  

Also, I discovered the Schwarzman Scholars program, and fell absolutely in love with the idea of completing a master’s degree at Tsinghua University. Hence, I set my mind to this goal, and three years later, I was blessed with this opportunity, which was only given to 135 global young leaders from a total pool of 4,000+ applications. This way my journey at Tsinghua began.

In August 2018, I arrived in Beijing, China, and set off to study Global Affairs – Business and Economics at Schwarzman College. Weeks passed and my whole perspective of China changed completely. I was impressed with mobile payments, e-commerce, skyscrapers, infrastructure, Internet unicorns, and the speed at which China moved. 

Fascinated with everything I saw, and feeling completely privileged to be here, I quickly decided to stay in China, as I came to understand that “China is the future”. On top of that, Tsinghua University seemed to also be the place where great leaders and entrepreneurs were educated, which added an extra layer of gratefulness to this unique opportunity. Everywhere I traveled to in China, I got the same reaction when I said I studied at Tsinghua: “Wow! Tsinghua University?You must be super smart!”. This totally made me feel humbled to be a TsinghuaRen.

Because of Tsinghua University and the Schwarzman Scholars program, I got to meet outstanding people and access professional opportunities beyond my imagination. Hence, after my graduation, I joined one of the biggest Internet companies in China, now focusing on the Latin American market, which is exactly the goal I set for myself by coming to Beijing: to become a bridge between Latin America and China. In the years to come, I aim to strengthen commercial trading relations between Colombia and the entire LATAM region with China, and channel Chinese capital investments into Latin American start-ups. Ultimately my goal is to become a highly successful entrepreneur, businessman, and investor, and later in my career, President of Colombia.

Jonathan with Canadian Ambassador, Dominic Barton
Jonathan with Colombian Ambassador, Luis Diego Monsalve

Having lived in Beijing for over three years has allowed me to solidify a strong network of high-achieving individuals from truly diverse backgrounds and industries. From fellow Tsinghua alumni and Schwarzman scholars, fitness and mindfulness entrepreneurs, start-up enthusiasts and Venture Capital investors, diplomats and business people, and a vibrant Expat community across Beijing and across China that make living here a rewarding experience. One of these communities, for example, is the Center for China and Globalization (CCG)’s Global Young Leaders Dialogue (GYLD), with whom I’ve had the honor of traveling to Guangdong, Hebei, Shanghai, and Zhejiang to learn more about the vast diversity of Chinese history, culture, technological development, and more. 

Jonathan Lopez

Jonathan: While being so far away from home is a real challenge, I’ve felt welcomed since the day I’ve arrived. I’ve found a “family” in my classmates and friends, and today I get to call China “my new home”. All this wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Tsinghua University and Schwarzman Scholars, and I look forward to advancing my ambitious personal and professional career goals in China and the world. 

Related: A story of a Pakistani student at Tsinghua University, the best university in China

(Source: Tsinghua University)

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