It’s a once in a lifetime experience.
And, David Livingston, 19, a criminal justice student at Southwestern Community College, is going to take full advantage.
Livingston was recently accepted into the International Scholar Laureate Program — a program for Phi Theta Kappa members that provides students a chance to further their career development and strengthen their leadership skills while engaging in culturally-enriching experiences.
“I will board a plane Monday,” Livingston said, “and take a non-stop, 13 1/2-hour flight from Chicago to Beijing, China where I will meet up with several other American students. During our stay, we will meet with Chinese diplomats from four different cities, as well sightsee and tour the country.”
Livingston said this trip was a big commitment, especially financially costing about $7,000 total, but said he received a ton of support from several different “families” including his family, SWCC family and church family.
“We are so happy he will be representing us oversees,” said Matt Thompson, SWCC’s dean of students. “David really embodies what we’re looking for at Southwestern — he’s a quality student with a positive attitude. This will be a real positive experience for him. I think anytime someone in college gets the opportunity to be exposed to a new culture and political system it will have longtime benefits.”
Livingston said he is “so blessed” for all the donations he received to help pay for the trip. He will be visiting four cities in China including — in order — Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai, Hong Kong. He will spend a total of 14 days in China.
“Honestly, this has been a personal goal of mine for a long time to get out of the country and see the world,” Livingston said. “It’s a great opportunity. I will have two weeks there, which will allow me to get pretty emersed in the cultural experience. This will also give me the chance to learn how to relate to people from different backgrounds and beliefs. This trip will be good for me personally, professional and academically.”