China / Education

Fudan undergraduate secures place in Oxford

By Zhou Wenting in Shanghai (China Daily) Updated: 2016-01-25 07:47

An undergraduate from Shanghai Fudan University was one of four people from the Chinese mainland to be awarded a Rhodes Scholarship this month.

Gong Chenzhuo, who graduated from the university's School of International Relations and Public Affairs last summer, will head to Oxford University in Britain for graduate studies with high hopes and a scholarship of 50,000 pounds ($71,000).

This is the first year the scholarship, regarded as the most prestigious in the world, has accepted candidates from the Chinese mainland.

Each year, thousands of students apply, usually with a chance of success around 0.7 percent. According to Fudan University, more than 40 former Rhodes scholars have become state leaders, with 70 ending up as chief executives of multinational corporations.

"It was his academic excellence, international exposure and social responsibility that made him a standout performer," Zhu Jia, a student counselor at the school, said of Gong.

Gong had the second-highest GPA among 178 students, including more than 30 international peers, in his program at Fudan University, an institution that only accepts top students.

At Fudan, Gong conducted research in public diplomacy and attended two international conferences to present his findings. He also participated in exchange programs around the globe, spending more than 430 days in 28 countries.

"He is able to think independently and critically, and at the same time demonstrate passion and impressive leadership skills," said Shen Guolin, an associate professor in Fudan's School of Journalism whom Gong consulted during his research.

Gong was an avid volunteer, too, having worked as a relief teacher in Chinese villages during three consecutive winters. In the summer of 2013, he went to Mwanza, the second-largest city in Tanzania, to teach children English.

Gong's other achievements include being among the first batch of 20 students recommended by the China Scholarship Council, as well as doing an internship for the United Nations in Tanzania, where he assisted local media in educating the public about HIV and gender equality.

"I aim to establish a nonprofit organization to help rural students and disadvantaged groups in China," Gong said.

 Fudan undergraduate secures place in Oxford

Gong Chenzhuo (back right) taught English at a primary school in Mwanza, Tanzania, during his first term at the UN International Children's Emergency Fund in July 2013. Provided to China Daily

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