Life is rarely dull lively in Asia as a foreigner and there’s no shortage a of unique opportunities. The advertisement boards of expat websites are ripe with a range of opportunities but sometimes the best opportunities come through personal networks and being in the right place at the right time.
Swinburne University of Technology student, Chuan Tran, can testify to the importance of personal networks and the rewards of being proactive and making your own luck.
As an undergraduate student studying a double degree in civil engineering and business, Chuan studied Mandarin at Nanjing University (2012-2013) under the auspices of the Victorian Government’s Hamer Scholarship.
The 22 year-old Swinburne student admits that before going to China he lacked awareness and experience outside his degree. A change in scenery though had a major impact on Chuan. While balancing studies both at Nanjing University and online at Swinburne University, Chuan also volunteered with the Australia China Youth Association.
Chuan then employed his newfound networking skills to assess potential partnerships between Swinburne University and universities in China but his biggest achievement was landing a spot on Feichang Wurao. Feicheng Wurao, known in English as If You Are The One, is a reality dating show and a household name as the highest-rating show for Jiangsu TV Station.
Chuan was asked by a Chinese friend to join the show as part of the audience. While he ultimately missed this opportunity due to a family visit to Nanjing, Chuan was later offered tickets via another friend.
Chuan attended the recording and then inadvertently found himself on stage. During an unplanned pause in the show due to a lighting failure, the host Meng Fei turned to the audience and asked for someone in the audience to join him on stage.
Chuan’s friend snatched his hand and hoisted it high into the air. It caught the attention of Meng Fei and suddenly Chuan found himself on stage for an impromptu interview to join the show as a contestant. Chuan passed the interview and a month later he was in the studio as a contestant.
It was an exhilarating but nervous experience. I had three Redbulls before the show. I was extremely nervous, and to be honest I couldn’t maintain a fluent conversation.
Nonetheless, Chuan built up a healthy fan base overnight on Chinese social media and he hopes to utilise the experience as a launch pad for another shot on TV but this time on the singing contest the Voice of China.
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