4 International Icons in China’s Education Landscape

Discover the journeys of four famous figures whose pathway to success was largely influenced by – or influenced – China’s higher education. From renowned entertainers to business leaders, these stories illuminate the transformative power of education and its role in fostering global understanding.

We touch upon the lives of Mark Roswell and Mira Sorvino, who have used their experiences as students in China to propel them in their careers. Meanwhile, Isabel Crook and Dominic Barton are reknowned for their invaluable contributions to young people studying in China. Be inspired by these four foreigners have not only reached heights of success, but also left an indelible mark on the world.

Isabel Crook

Isabel Crook is a Canadian-born sinologist and author known as one of the founders of New China’s foreign language studies. She was born to a Canadian missionary family in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, where she returned after studying her master’s at the University of Toronto. Isabel’s love for China and the Chinese people eventually led to her role in the development of the Central Foreign Affairs School and Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU), along with many other contributions to education during her 90 years in China.

Dominic Barton

Dominic Barton is a prominent Canadian business consultant and former global managing director of McKinsey & Company. In addition to his extensive experience in the business world, Barton has a notable connection to China through a joint elective MBA course he developed with Tsinghua University, one of China’s top universities.

Dominic helped set up the McKinsey global leadership course in 2012 as a collaboration between McKinsey & Company and Tsinghua University’s School of Economics and Management (SEM). Students of the Tsinghua Global MBA Program can get direct access to this course.

Mark Rowswell (Dashan)

Mark Rowswell, widely known as Dashan and China’s “most famous foreigner”, is a Canadian comedian and TV personality who skyrocketed to fame in China. He studied at Peking University in Beijing, where he became a master of Mandarin and immersed himself in Chinese culture. Dashan’s incredible language skills and cultural understanding propelled him to become one of China’s most beloved entertainers, appearing in comedy sketches, talk shows, and hosting various programs. He is an inspiration young people studying in China who hope to develop language proficiency, embrace a different culture or open doors in the entertainment industry.

Mira Sorvino

Mira Sorvino is an award-winning American actress and social activist. She graduated from Harvard University with a major in East Asian area studies after spending a year studying abroad in China. Mira was an exchange student at CIEE in Beijing, where she learnt to speak fluent mandarin. She has spoken about how the experience helped to influence roles in her acting career and activism around women’s rights.

Study for Success

They journeys serve as a testament for the potential that awaits students who are considering further education in this dynamic country. Now it’s your turn; turn inspiration into action and pave your own path to achieving your dreams. If that means the next step is pursuing an education abroad, you’re in the right place to begin applying to your dream programs in China.

Kay is a marketing assistant at China Admissions. A "third-culture kid" based in Thailand, she has had lifelong exposure to international communities and has worked with top global brands. Having studied abroad herself, she encourages young minds to invest in their self-development and foster an appreciation for new countries and cultures.
Kay Marlowe

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