Author: Leo Barton
Feeling endlessly nervous and excited I set off for the Far East, flying from London to Chengdu. Touching down I was greeted by two smiling volunteers who helped me to the Hotel and took me for a local dinner, providing just a taste of what was to come. This warm welcome was extended even further when we met with all the staff, and other student volunteers, who helped us throughout our time on the course.
This opportunity not only provided an ideal chance to visit a part of the world otherwise nearly inaccessible (due to reasons of finance and nerves of travelling alone), but also allowed an exploration of the unique approach the Chinese have towards arts. This encouraged me to question, and explore, the established pillars of my understanding of art as such varying forms exist between the cultures.
Being a Film student this chance also provided key insight into the Chinese film industry, a personal and academic interest, which will feed into my next year of study as we tackle Chinese Film as a key topic.
Back to the experience itself! The course was extremely well managed, providing us with the free time necessary to explore the culture and city of Chengdu ourselves (and with our new-found friends, the volunteers).
Words only provide so much bearing on an experience, as many things change within a person and are nearly impossible to describe, but this experience has managed to change my perspective on art, the world and even myself. It has provided me with confidence to travel the world further, and the drive to explore more cultures – while questioning and developing everything on every step of the way.
For anyone who gets the chance to travel during university – do it. The endless support provided by both establishments allows for you to truly explore while feeling safe-guarded and besides when will you ever be able to do it again?
Here is a short project I completed during my time in Chengdu, and my three weeks of travelling afterwards.