Student Blog: My First Travel Experience to China

The blog below highlights Courtney’s first solo travel experience, and first ever trip to China and her lessons from learning Mandarin in the metropolitan city of Shanghai, China. This is the first part of a series of student blogs in which our former China Enterprise Summer Programme students relay their personal experiences of living and studying in Shanghai and Hangzhou with Oxford Bright Scholars.

Travelling to China for the first time

Initially, I was most anxious about traveling from the US to China alone, not knowing any one else who would join me on the programme. But I eventually found that this was the best decision I could have ever made.

Solo travel allows people to truly find themselves and find their way in the world; it gives people the opportunity to explore different cultures without any other biases or opinions of your peers, allowing people to form their own opinions about global perspectives.

“Traveling alone allows people to

truly find themselves and find

their way in the world.”

Without much travel experience, I was forced to make stereotypical assumptions about China and its neighbouring countries based on movies, social media, and my limited schooling on the country. These commonly known stereotypes also contributed to my anxiety about travelling to China.


After taking the initiative to actually see China for myself, I was able to come to my own conclusion and form my own opinion on the country. I was able to see for myself how a country with a different political system operates, and how it operates much more successfully than common misperceptions. With Oxford Bright Scholars I was able to explored parts of the world that I would not have been able to explore had I not come on the China Enterprise Programme.

Learning Chinese

While Mandarin lessons at Easy Mandarin Language School were sometimes intense, I found it extremely valuable to my time in Shanghai. As a student that has little to no foreign language experience, I found that immersing myself in the culture really forced me to pick up the language and become fully integrated into Chinese culture.


Debating Chinese Politics

As for the Chinese Politics masterclasses, I have been able to successfully teach courses on Chinese-U.S. Relations upon my return to Roger Williams University this Fall, and have been able to run class discussions on different topics discussed in the masterclasses.


I found that putting myself in the culture really forced

me to pick up the language and become

fully integrated into Chinese culture.

For example, as a political science major, I was unaware of the debate between the US and China for relations with Taiwan and Africa, as a result of me obtaining this knowledge, I have been able to educate my peers in the unfamiliar topic and create some recognition towards the situation!

Overall, this experience with Oxford Bright Scholars enabled me to think from various perspectives because of the diversity of the student body. I can safely say that I have learned more in the two weeks of the China Enterprise Summer Programme than I have my whole 4 years of college.


About Courtney

Courtney is currently a sophomore at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, USA and has been awarded a full tuition scholarship. She is pursuing a double major in legal studies and political science and has excelled academically. A budding lawyer, Courtney has successfully completed various legal internships and aspires to become an international lawyer, specialising in Chinese trade.