StudentUniverse teamed up with Cathay Pacific Airways to make the #MyChinaExperience contest possible! The rules? If you’ve been to China, tell us about your experience. If you haven’t been, tell us what you would do on your free trip to China. After receiving hundreds of submissions, we had to choose just one winner which was nearly impossible with the amount of touching entries we received.

The Winner Is…

We are very excited to announce that the winner of the #MyChinaExperience Contest is Genmae T.! Her story is driven by one thing: the pursuit of self-discovery.

Genmae Torelle

At 15 months old, she was adopted from an orphanage in China. During this time, adoption was illegal in China. Genmae was “lucky to be adopted at such an ‘old’ age, as most people looking to adopt want a younger baby.” Her adoptive mother was part of a group of people living closely in the U.S. that were adopting from the same orphanage. The families became close friends as Genmae grew up and referred to them as her “China sisters”. One of her sisters had the opportunity to return to China and visit the orphanage and the caregiver that looked after them. Genmae explained, “I’d love to finally get to go back and see my roots, including a trip to see the Chinese culture in general. I’ve dreamed about this and I would love to spend time really experiencing the country, from tourist sights to the more local sights. All in all, it would be a dream to go back home.”


Genmae’s story has inspired and touched us all. StudentUniverse and Cathay Pacific are honored to award Genmae with a free roundtrip flight to China on Cathay Pacific Airways. Be sure to follow StudentUniverse on Instagram to see her life changing experience.

Honorable Mentions

With so many amazing submissions, we wanted to include some honorable mentions as well!

James Raschel

James is a Blackhawk pilot in the United States Army who’s had the opportunity to travel the world through the military. One place that he’s always dreamed of visiting is China. Being a soldier, James has a passion for martial artistry. “The Art of War by Sun Tzu is a book that has enthralled me since adolescence. To that effect, a free trip to China and seeing the Terracotta Army in person would be a dream realized.”

Allie Gardner

Allie went to China when she was five years old. “My parents had been in a terrible car accident leaving my mother in the hospital. After a shattered pelvis and doctors giving the alarming prognosis of never walking again, we celebrated her ability to walk as we took a trip to China as a family. It was a huge breakthrough for our family,” she explained.

“My grandpa was my hero and adventuring in China with him was incredible. I love to look at the pictures and think about all the amazing times I had with him. There’s just one problem. I don’t remember much of it. While the miracle of my mother’s healing continues to marvel our family and with my grandpa passed away, I’ll always wonder what that trip to China was like. I’ll never be able to recreate the joy that we felt together as a family, but maybe going a trip to China would at least help me imagine the places that such pivotal family moments occurred in. Maybe I’ll feel a new connection with my grandpa, which is something I deeply, deeply long for because he was my hero and I’m doing ALL I can to follow in his footsteps.”

“I’m a struggling college student committed to my studies who would never, financially, be able to make this dream a reality. In spite of the pitfalls and setbacks, I try to find the adventure in life and make the best of it.”


Georgiana Grosariu

Georgiana’s dream trip would be reconnecting with a friend she met in Romania.

“Last winter I went to Sibiu, Romania, where I met Ju-Long from China. We shared our stories and I learned many things about his culture. I’m an architecture student, so the way their traditional buildings reflect an oriental mindset is truly amazing to me. I’d love to have the opportunity to see, in real life, China’s great architecture and to meet my friend again, if I win this free trip to China.”

Anne-Marcelle Kouame

>“My decision to learn East Asian languages led me to study abroad on my trip to China during my junior year of high school. My host mother, Mrs. Hao, influenced me greatly. Her kindness motivated me to learn Mandarin, and her character awoke in me something new. I sought the help of Mrs. Hao and my classmates to improve my Mandarin. Not only did I learn about Chinese culture, but, through the diversity that I saw among other Africans staying in China, I learned about my own culture and myself. Consequently, believing in myself allowed me to develop my ultimate goal, to become a diplomat.”

“My stay in China equally impacted the Chinese community. My host sister, Yuanjie, was able to improve her English by conversing with me. She’d come in my room after school, and we would have conversations. In class, my Chinese classmates were exposed to the affluence of African culture. A free trip to China would truly be life changing”.

Weijin Leow

During college, Weijin went to China and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Here, he taught English to college students which ultimately changed his life.

“I met a student there, Mal, who was the President of the English resource center. Now that I’m back in the U.S., I’ve kept in touch with Mal. Recently, she told me that she sold one of her dresses for 80 RMB. The next day, she sold 10 books for 80 RMB. She realized that one dress was worth the same as 10 books. She told me, “books are so cheap, but even one book can change your life. 10 dresses probably can’t change your life that much.” In that same vein, I thought, “Well, 10 dresses cost as much as one trip to China, but one trip can transform your life. 10 dresses probably won’t impact your life that much.”

“When people ask me about my favorite parts of my trip to China, I always say my favorite part was the people. Especially my students who taught me much more than I taught them, who made my trip unforgettable. If I win this trip to China, I’d love to surprise my students and tell them in-person once more that they’ll become influential teachers one day because of all that they have taught, and are still teaching, me.”


Want to plan a trip to China? Check out our top flight deals, and be sure to keep a look out for promo codes! (hint hint)


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