Daniel PARROTT FS2012-13, The University of Oxford | to China
I would like to extend my strong thanks to everyone at the Fung foundation. The funding was significant and really changed my year abroad experience, the £5000 helped me to do all kinds of things to learn about China: studying at Peking University, setting up businesses, undertaking internships, and travelling so extensively that by the year’s end I have travelled to 22 of 27 provinces including Tibet, as well as China’s important neighbouring states including Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and the Philippines. These travel opportunities helped me to understand the significance of the Chinese diaspora and China’s geopolitical situation. The Fung Foundation invited me to chair their 2012 Hong Kong leadership conference which gave me the additional funding and encouragement to visit Hong Kong and Macau, it also gave me my first major experience chairing a global networking conference, and introduced me to those working in the foundation.
The Fung scholarship gave me the funds and confidence to pursue a number of other ventures. One of my big projects last year was to set up education partnerships with ten schools in South China – these schools will be recruiting up to 100 Oxford students for summer camps this year, up from 40 students last summer. One benefit I have gained from Fung-related networking is to arrange an internship with an M&A Consultancy for this winter’s vacation, while over the last year I undertook internships with both the world’s largest microfinance consultancy (PlaNet finance) and China’s fastest growing immigration investment firm (Delsk.) The latter internship gave me the chance to run presentations at investment fairs in cities all over China, including Guangzhou, Hefei, Xiamen, Nanjing, Jinan, Shenzhen, Shenyang, Zhengzhou, Hangzhou, Tianjin and Beijing – among other things these travel opportunities allowed me to visit Xiamen’s intact foreign concession, and other important cultural sites in Nanjing and Hangzhou, these trips also gave me a taste for what typical Chinese cities are like.
Without the Fung money I would have, like the Leeds, SOAS and Cambridge students, been perennially short of funds and forced to stick solely to English-coaching, these intern and travel experiences were so interesting and have definitely helped me to understand a lot more about Chinese society in all localities, at all ends of the spectrum. I am very grateful to Fung for everything they have done for me so far, the funding really improved my year abroad experience.