What better way to find out about China than to live there for a year? That’s what PhD Political Science student Myles Hulme did. Here is what he had to say upon his return to Carleton.

From a young age, I was interested in China. Growing up in Vancouver, celebrating Chinese New Year with classmates at the elementary and secondary level, the country was always on my doorstep, yet still thousands of kilometres away across the Pacific.

In my graduate research at Carleton, I chose to embrace the study of Chinese language and Chinese foreign policy while trying to relate it to my place as a Canadian, whether living on the Pacific coast or here in the nation’s capital.

In the spring of 2011, my supervisor suggested I see China firsthand and apply for the Chinese Government Scholarship, which provides funding for a year at a prestigious university in China. I jumped at the opportunity.

That summer, I went to Shanghai for a year-long stay at Fudan University – ranked third in the country. Tuition was fully funded. There was free accommodation at the university, and I received a monthly stipend to cover basic costs.

I was able to continue my dissertation research and throw in a few term papers on subjects of direct interest, including one involving China’s Arctic policy. Speaking to students and professors on the ground about my research subject and travelling to the country’s political centre in Beijing were invaluable experiences that I will never forget.

My coursework at the University was well-rounded, including Chinese language, history and foreign policy. It was deeply satisfying to sit at a round table with graduate students from China, the rest of Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas as well. It taught me that China is not only on the doorstep of Vancouver and Canada, but also the world as a whole.

There was also enough holiday time to experience the country’s new high-speed rail system, which can now take you anywhere from north to south and a fair distance inland at a reasonable price.

I’m happy to be back at Carleton University in Ottawa, but I also can’t wait to push my interests to a new level as I participate in witnessing and maybe someday helping to build an important relationship.

Postscript: Details about the China Government Scholarship are available at this website.

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