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Shanghai, Manhattan help to shape senior

The last two summers have played a major role in Ezechiel Bly’s personal and professional development.

Bly, a 21-year-old senior accounting major from the Bronx, spent the summer of 2008 in a study abroad program at Fudan University in Shanghai, China, where he took classes in business and culture. He was one of 11 students to make the trip.

“It was a great experience,” said Bly, who was born in the Ivory Coast. “I got to see a different perspective of the world and mingle with people I would’ve never mingled with before.”

Bly became interested in learning Chinese after hearing it spoken in New York City. At Binghamton, Bly said he spent two hours a day, every day, learning how to speak the language. He would go on to minor in Chinese.

His efforts impressed Hong Zhang, senior lecturer of Chinese in the Asian and Asian American Studies Department.

“It is rewarding to see a student become confident in learning Chinese and set a high goal for achievements,” Zhang said.

Bly, who hopes to return to China for a visit this winter, said the growing number of collaborations between China and places such as Binghamton University are good learning experiences for both sides.

“You think China is a great global place, but when you get there you realize that they don’t know much about the external world,” he said. “They’ve been closed off for such a long time. It’s new for them to meet foreigners. We need to open our arms to them.”

An internship in the summer of 2009 at PricewaterhouseCoopers solidified Bly’s desire to become a certified public accountant. In Manhattan, he helped audit a hedge fund and took part in community service projects such as the Food Bank for New York City.

“It opened my eyes and made me realize that you never know where you might go,” he said.

Summers in Shanghai and Manhattan do not mean Bly hasn’t made a difference in Binghamton, though. He works with local boys ages 4-16 as part of the Black Student Union Youth Program; helped build a home in Binghamton with Habitat for Humanity; served as a Discovery adviser; and also is the educational coordinator of the African Student Organization.

Bly, who hopes to enter the master’s program at the University and go on to PricewaterhouseCoopers in fall 2011 in investment management, said he has gotten the “full college experience” at Binghamton.

“I’ve been trying to help my family and reach my goals,” said Bly, the first member of his family to go to college. “I came here thinking, ‘I won’t have another chance to learn this much and do this much.’ I have to grab all of the opportunities given to me. And I think that’s what I did.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08