Few students of any nationality receive acceptance letters from eight top US universities. The fact that Wu Jing is blind makes the achievement even more stunning in her hometown in East China's Jiangsu Province.
Wu, 21, left for the US two weeks ago. She will study at Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as a major step in her goal to work at the United Nations on behalf of disabled people worldwide.
Part of the plan, according to Xinwen Morning Post, Wu hopes to study law at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, after she graduates from Harvard.
Yale and Stanford universities were among the eight prestigious US universities admitting her earlier this year.
Born into a teacher's family in Huangqiao Township in the city of Taixing, Wu became blind at 15 months from a tumor on her retina. At the age of 7, Wu started studying at a local school for blind children. She not only excelled in new studies but showed talent in sports and art.
"I really thank my parents from the bottom of my heart for their help," Wu told local media.
"My father and mother never treated me as a blind person, protecting me at home. Instead, they let me jump, do somersaults and encouraged me to do things that sighted persons can do even when I took more falls than others," Wu said.
Wu was selected to compete in sports for disabled persons when she was 12. The next year, she won two gold medals in the 100-meter and 200-meter sprint in Jiangsu Provincial Games for Disabled Persons.
Wu won another two gold medals for running in the National Games for Disabled Persons in 2003.
In the next two years, she competed in the Asian Games for Juvenile Disabled and Athens Paralympic Games.
Wu started learning English in her spare time in 2002 when she was preparing for an international sports event in Shanghai.
She purchased materials for studying English and got her roommates to read them letter by letter so that she could translate them into Braille. Wu then studied in her dormitory till midnight.
Wu can now speak fluent English and once acted as an interpreter for other Chinese players during the Athens Paralympic Games.
Last year, Wu sent her resume, study experience, list of prize-winning sports achievements and personal photos to Harvard University, via a friend studying there.
She also sent the same materials in her applications to the seven other top US universities.
Wu's next goal is to study law at Yale University to prepare her to protect the legal rights of the disabled.
Wu, who has mastered not only English but Swedish, said she plans to study German and French.
She said she will have to master five languages to work in the UN department dealing with the welfare of disabled persons.
"If I become a UN employee, I will apply to work in Africa because the disabled persons there need even more help," Wu said.
(China Daily July 31, 2007)