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Student Q&A: Tudor Finneran, an English author and traveler, immerses himself in Chinese culture

Tudor Finneran is a student, writer and world traveler. Since he turned 18, he has sampled several career paths, constantly changing his professional identity as he has careened around the world. The constants are exploration and creation. His journey took him to Tsinghua University in Beijing in 2023 to begin the internationally acclaimed two-year master's program in Global Business Journalism. We are pleased to present two interviews with Tudor, by Li Ruojia (in text format) and Zhang Xi (in the above video).

Tudor Finneran is a student in the Global Business Journalism program at Tsinghua University.
Tudor Finneran on a visit to Shanghai.

Q: Could you please introduce yourself briefly?

A: I worked since age 18 in different industries, in different sectors from mining to restaurants. It’s real mix. I found an opportunity to work for the UK Defense Infrastructure Organisation, which is a public body that manages military defense. So I moved to Europe and did that for about two years and then from that role transferred around wider organizations to get exposure in all these very niche areas.

I don't really have a hometown. I went to boarding school and then I left boarding school and since then I've been traveling, more or less every year since the age of 17 or 18. I'm 26 now. So I've lived almost across all of the world by now. Many years later I find myself in East Asia after a year and a half living in Indonesia, Bali, Kuala Lumpur, Australia, Southeast Asia – stepping stones toward China, basically.

Q: Why did you change jobs so often? And why trade in the workplace to be a student?

A: I don't know really the reason for my job and my career direction changes. I did enjoy being an international civil servant and making progress in that realm. But actually I found my strength is in this new age type of publishing and I am quite entrepreneurial. I can work remotely and survive with stocks and publishing and a few other means.

My past work experience is really varied. It has given me a good insight into a whole bunch of sectors and industries and I'd like to explore more of them in journalism and write in my own book, publishing projects and see if it can go the startup route. Or if I find a new startup idea here in China, I feel like that's the natural progression of all of my work so far. I keep publishing, keep writing and I don't really mind being a student again.

Tudor Finneran is a student in the Global Business Journalism program at Tsinghua University.
Tudor Finneran represented international students in the Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication during the 2023 opening ceremony.

I've always had many different identities and different labels, so I don't pay too much attention to it. I haven't really considered it because I don't base my actions on identity. I'm still studying but I'm also doing a many other things all the time.

Q: You have written many books – I looked on Amazon today. The types and topics are really diverse. When do you usually write? How do you find inspiration?

Tudor: Without fail, I write for about five hours a day, normally from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. and then two hours in the evening on my own projects alongside now quite a lot of school writing. I cannot truthfully answer how I find inspiration or creative inspiration. I just sit down and I start typing and there's a bit of like a business angle. I look as a means to generate income whilst adding value to people's lives through the content whether it's fiction or nonfiction.

Q: You are a world traveler. Which country do you love most? And where would you want to go next time?

Tudor: Yeah, I've been to many countries that I don't really know well. I do find the good and the bad in every country so far. And then I write about it in travelogues and travel books, which is quite an interesting way to explore the world.

So in terms of settling in China, I think it looks increasingly likely because the future is Chinese, at least from a market perspective, even for English language books. And I do love Chinese culture and history. The only thing I dislike is urban city living, but that's the same the world over. I think I would be in China if I wasn't doing my graduate degree. Now, anyway, I'm funding my own kind of journalistic projects and endeavors around the country.

Tudor Finneran is a Global Business Journalism student at Tsinghua University.
Tudor Finneran joined a cultural exchange celebrating China's Belt and Road Initiative.

Q: Why did you choose the GBJ program?

A: The Global Business Journalism program is number one for this exact course of study. I would like to be part of Tsinghua and connect with some of the best minds, at the moment, as well as the best professors. It was a natural step and I can add value with my own weird little knowledge as well as explore other opportunities which no doubt will crop up throughout my time the next two years at Tsinghua. I’m super excited.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I want to do everything. I'm not limited to one route, one avenue, exactly like I've been doing the last few years. I think exploring every opportunity is my main goal.


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