Emily Zhao came to St John’s in 2018 from Singapore to read Law. Together with Firdaus Mohandas, she was a member of the Oxford University team for the Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition in 2019–20, the world’s largest moot court competition and an activity that involves discussion and collaboration. Emily and Firdaus reached the grand final of the UK-leg of the competition, qualifying for the internationals. There, they won the Alona Evans Award for their written submissions, though the oral rounds were cancelled due to the pandemic.
Emily Zhao.jpg

Taking this portrait was itself a delightful experience, as it got me thinking about what it meant to be part of the BAME community in College. I think celebrating diversity should not just be about recognising our achievements, as important as that is – it should also be about the negative experiences, including those that we were unable to overcome. Fortunately, my own story in university as a BAME international student has been positive overall, and I have felt extremely welcome by College. I would though like to use this space to emphasise that celebrating diversity isn’t always pretty. I got lucky, but there’s so much more we could all do to make sure luck isn’t required for a BAME student to enjoy their time in College like everyone else.