Fashion photographer Dali Ma: dali.studio
I learned the spirit of innovation, entrepreneurship, and – more importantly – the fearlessness, which has been influencing me to this day.
Exeter has taught me to think big, think different, and think the unthinkable.
I grew up in a small city in Northeast China, where the end of the world was an hour’s bus ride away. I was the first one in the city ever to go out of China straight out of high school, not to mention into a prestigious place like Exeter College. Needless to say, there was a lot of anxiety and excitement.
I came to Exeter in 2005, seeing the world with my own eyes for the first time and meeting the amazing people, some of whom turned out to be friends of a lifetime. Exeter took care of me, an international student, really well. I was both humbled and inspired by my peers and my teachers. My major was Physics and Philosophy, but I was always exploring elsewhere, and eventually founded the Oxford Debate Society (which became the Oxford University Debate Society). Frankly, this wasn’t a success, but I got so much help from the Rector and my fellow Exonians that I could learn a lot from it for my future endeavours.
College years flew by. I got to meet so many extremely talented people in Exeter; I was a little bit introverted, but was inspired by everyone’s talent, ambition, and friendliness, which really made Exeter shine. I was lucky to have great tutors, and received personal care from them, which is the strength of Exeter. I learned the spirit of innovation, entrepreneurship, and – more importantly – the fearlessness, which has been influencing me to this day.
Towards the end of my stay in Oxford, I took a part-time job in a camera store, and began to learn the skills of photography. I began reaching out to models, designers, etc, over time, to establish my portfolio and build connections. I’m now a fashion photographer, and have been published on – among other magazines – Maxim Africa cover and GQ Mexico online. I’ve always cherished my time at Exeter and what it has shaped me to be over the years. I hope my testimonial can inspire my fellow Exonians to think great thoughts, and do great things.