Fall 2013 Alumnus Receives Prestigious Rhodes Scholarship

Fall 2013 Alumnus Receives Prestigious Rhodes Scholarship

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Christian Holm
February 25, 2016

Chenzhou Gong arrived in Washington, D.C. in the fall of 2013 to take part in the Prudential Foundation Global Citizens program. Only three short years later, he finds himself on the way to the University of Oxford as a recipient of the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.


Chenzhou is currently working with UNESCO in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania as a trainee on the communications and information team. This is Chenzhuo’s second time in Tanzania, having previously volunteered for a summer as an English teacher. His long term goal is to take what he learns in the field and start an NGO that empowers rural students and other marginalized groups in China.


We caught up with Chenzhou to find out a little more about how he got to this point and how a D.C. internship motivated him to zero in on issues he is passionate about.


Why intern in DC? What first sparked your interest?


As someone who always looks for the next challenge, the program components were just so alluring. I was also thrilled by the opportunity to work in the hub for American politics and history and to be surrounded with a group of talented young people from all over the world.


What is your advice for people thinking about applying for the program?


Show your motivation to the program and realize your power to make unique contributions. Then be prepared for a whirlwind semester. It is no exaggeration to say that TWC is an ideal place to launch your career.The career service and capstone project taught me a lot, from crafting a winning resume to conducting informational interviews. The program is designed to push your limits and drive you out of your comfort zone. The TWC experience goes a lot farther than internships that you find on your own.


Also expect to make some really good friends and build lifelong connections in D.C. After more than two years, I am still connected with many of my friends back then. Some of them will visit me in Tanzania!


What was the best part of your experience?


Besides the wonderful people around me, I would argue that I learned the most from my failures. Failures are “great” experiences since they imply you have tried hard enough, you are going out of your comfort zone and taking on new knowledge and skills. In the words of Samuel Beckett, an Irish poet and playwright: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” I left D.C. more mature, more resolute and with a positive attitude.

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