Learning to Debate, In Beijing

“I’m not good at debating,” its a sentence that I have heard many times, mostly from peers as the reason they do not want to attend the practice I have invited them to, or to replace a “sick” team member for a tournament. It took me more than three semesters to learn that I should also be saying that sentence, since I was not “breaking” or qualifying for elimination rounds like some of my teammates at my college who were bringing pride to our school by traveling around the world and beating schools like the tiny one outside of Boston known as Harvard. Spending a semester away from my team is sure to only ruin my chances of excelling at this activity and being able to take advantage of the opportunities that would come with it…

Luckily the Chinese found a way to be open to capitalist development and international cooperation. In response Western Universities are working with colleges within China to insure that more students gain the opportunities of this world wide network.

Beijing is where I have chosen to experience this. I will get build upon my debating knowledge while helping fellow students since I will be judging during the event. This will allow me to learn how to critique a debate, something I have very little practice in besides doing it at a handful of local tournaments. Of course being able to identify what makes a speech better or worse than another can do wonders to improving ones own performance. While my debate coach from Hobart and William Smith, Eric Barnes, will also be China planning out the second year of a US-China university partnership, I will be at Beihang University for the Beihang World Debate Academy. This is one of several events held around the world based on the University of Vermont’s model for debate training. For those who are interested Vermont still hosts its program and it is free of charge.

As I begin my travel I remember I am not good at debating…yet!


The Places I Will Visit…and Why They Are So Important

In about three weeks I will be departing the United States on this voyage. As I explain in detail during my previous entry about transport I am hoping to learn more about these places and the innovation that is helping to improve the economy. 

Transportation Tourism (what I want to experience):

  • Shanghai:

Pudong Airport, the Maglev train Hongqiao Railway Station, and subway system.

  • Beijing-Shaghai High Speed Railway
  • Beijing

South Railway Station, the subway and Capital International Airport 

  • Seoul

Incheon International Airport, Maglev (under construction), the Airport Limo buses, and subway system.


Shanghai’s Maglev train is the fastest in the world and all three of these cities are investing heavily in improving there transport systems creating an attractive location for business, residents, and tourist. 

Transport: The Aveune to Universal Inspiration

The experience one is provided with while traveling is vital since this is the one opportunity to have an impact on all visitors. While few passengers will take a flight primary to see an airport the fact remains that everyone on the plane is going to the airport. When I depart for China in a few weeks, many abroad will be excited to go shopping in the local markets of Shanghai or the hike a top the Great Wall, however many will have different itineraries and Pudong Airport might be the part of the country that they get to see.

The fundamental fact that we all must travel to have new experiences is the reason for our obsession with transportation. As a preschooler train stations and airports excited me and as I grew older I wanted to see them improved. These should be, and in East Asia do, serve as places of pride. High quality transport is critical in encouraging a nation to advance. This is why I will chose to focus some of my blog on it. From how to get around the cities I am visiting to ways they are working to improve options I believe this context is important and I enjoy thinking about it.

By: Aboubacar Okeke – Diagne
Hobart College ’15