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Resident Spotlight: MuHan Li (China/Singapore)

Attendees at our recent Candlelight Sunday Supper would recognize resident MuHan Li, who delivered the blessing of the meal at this beloved and long-standing International House tradition. MuHan, who is from China by way of Singapore, joined our community in August 2021 to study Political Science and Economics at Columbia University. Throughout the year, MuHan has been an active participant in the myriad events and programs offered to our international resident community. Below, MuHan shares a little bit about his work and experience living at I-House over the past year.

Tell us about yourself. Where are you from, and what are you studying?
I am from China but spent half of my life in Singapore. Currently, I am an undergrad at Columbia University majoring in Political Science and Economics.

What made you decide to live at International House?
I was searching for external housing when I came across International House. I was so intrigued by the name that I needed to know more about this place. When I was exploring the website, I was very impressed by the history. It was an easy decision because I have lived in different countries my whole life and am also interested in International Relations; I knew this was the perfect fit for me right away.

What do you enjoy most about living here?
The diverse community, programs, events, facilities, and history are what I enjoy the most about I-House. In addition to my school experience, I-House plays a very important role. I met many great friends and overall this has opened my perspective and given me many inspirations. Kim [Misevis], the VP of Programs and Resident Life, asked me to bless the meal for Sunday Supper. Being part of this tradition has made me feel honored and integrated with the I-House community.

The I-House community has given me a second identity. Not only am I a Columbia student, but I am an I-House Resident, and that is a wonderful feeling.

Can you tell us a little bit about your career goals? What would you like to accomplish?
My goal is to start a geopolitical consulting company that is focused on China and Southeast Asia. The mission for this company comes from my interest in International Relations and entrepreneurship. After graduating high school, I took a two-year gap and started a media company called UFriend Media. Our clients included Grand Hyatt, UnionPay, Changi Airport, and Unilever. In 2021, I managed the $50,000 marketing budget for UnionPay Southeast Asia, helped run their social marketing campaign through WeChat advertising and Xiaohongshu, and contributed 60% of its new user growth that year.

In addition, I am the founding Co-President of the Columbia China Forum at Columbia University. This is a two-day forum dedicated to facilitating constructive dialogues between the US and China across politics, business, and academia. The inaugural forum took place on April 23-24, 2022, bringing six forums, 30+ speakers, and 400+ guest from around the world together.

Do you think your experience living at I-House will help you accomplish your goals?
I do believe that I-House will help me accomplish my goal in two ways. First, on a personal and emotional level, connecting with different residents from across the globe and learning about their cultures and backgrounds helped me become a more open-minded individual. It has allowed me to be open and receptive to new ideas. Second, is the network you build among residents, alumni, and trustees. Being part of a community makes it easier to reach out and ask for help if needed.

What is your favorite spot at I-House?
My favorite spots at I-House are the Main Lounge and Sakura Park. The Main Lounge has a beautiful open space, a grand piano, and a beautiful chandelier and I enjoy doing my work in this space. Sakura Park is nice to walk through during Cherry Blossom season on your way to school. I really enjoy living by this beautiful park.

Thank you MuHan! We are so glad to have you as a part of our community!