Mentoring Sessions

As part of the CHOICE’s Future CHOICE initiative aimed at aspiring China experts, the CHOICE team introduced a brand-new series of exclusive mentoring sessions aimed at fostering the soft skills of junior researchers and experts on China in CEE and beyond.

During these unique meetings over the past year, leading specialists in the field and contributors to the CHOICE network took up the role of mentors in order to advise their younger counterparts on the obstacles they may encounter when conducting research on China and shared their experience that shaped their career paths. Future CHOICE mentoring sessions provided much-needed space for intensive Q&A sessions and a small-group interaction on plenty of relevant topics, both on a professional as well as personal level.

The online program consisted of five closed-door meetings that were held from October 2021 to June 2022. The Future CHOICE community had a unique chance to reflect on the future of China studies, especially in the context of the current strict COVID-19 measures applied in China and the overall tightening of the conditions for researchers. The second mentoring session addressed two different perspectives, focusing on pursuing a journalistic and academic career in China. In the third online gathering, the participants discussed issues related to studying in China and Taiwan. By popular demand, the last two sessions were devoted to the question of making an impact, with the April discussion outlining the principles of effective utilization of social media as junior researchers and the June session diving deep into improving public speaking skills, communication with the media and journalists, especially in the context of overcoming self-doubts and stress. 

In the feedback on the program, the participants found the sessions inspiring and also motivating. The openness of all the speakers, the wealth of their professional experience and perhaps most importantly their willingness to share personal stories and insights led to interactive discussion with the participants. The sessions highlighted the need to provide an open environment for informal debates, where participants can learn skills that are not readily available elsewhere, but are crucial for a successful career in the field. 

Although the first season of the Future CHOICE mentoring series has now concluded, our initiative will continue with the support of the new generation of China scholars in our future activities. Stay tuned for new Future CHOICE opportunities coming in autumn! 

Contact Person

VERONIKA BLABLOVÁ

Project Coordinator of the Future CHOICE Initiative, Association for International Affairs (AMO), Czech Republic

veronika.blablova@amo.cz

Past sessions

Session 1: The Making of a Next-Generation China Scholar
October 19, 6.00-7.00 PM CET

The introductory mentoring session was devoted to the future of China studies, especially concerning the obstacles that China researchers are likely to face in coming years. With China becoming increasingly insular even while the need to understand the country keeps growing, the research of China is entering a new, uncertain period. The crucial objective of the session is to enable established experts in the field to share inspiration and ideas regarding the knowledge and skills that are needed for the future professional development of the new generation of China researchers.

Session 2: The Challenges of Reporting & Pursuing Academic Career in China
December 7, 2021, 6.00-7.00 PM CET

The first session of 2022 was dedicated to sharing experience with various opportunities available for students of China studies and related fields. Firsthand experience is an invaluable asset in pursuing a career as China experts. Studying in China or Taiwan, therefore, represents a key advantage for those seeking to immerse themselves in the local environment working on language but also other skills.

Session 3: Studying in China and Taiwan
February 16, 2022, 5.00-6.00 PM CET

The December session concentrated on sharing our experts’ insights regarding the performance of various professional activities in China, each of whom has a wealth of experience working on the ground in the country. As identified during the introductory session in October, gathering information in China is increasingly arduous due to political and other constraints. Thus, it is crucial to not only build on experience but address the new challenges that have emerged as of late. This session is designed for aspiring researchers and journalists considering a career in China-related topics and especially those interested in working on the ground in China.

Session 4: How to Make an Impact
April 25, 4.00-5.00 PM CET

Session 5: Improving Public Speaking Skills
June 8, 2022, 5.00-6.00 PM CET

By popular demand from our mentoring session participants, the final session of this series will provide our experts’ insights and personal strategies for strengthening confidence in public speaking and improving presentation skills. This session’s objective is to share practical advice based on the abundant experience of CHOICE experts on overcoming stress or self-doubt when responding to media inquiries, delivering a lecture or speaking at a conference. It is crucial to address this issue as it may represent a considerable challenge for junior analysts at the onset of their careers.