My Pre-Departure Thoughts

  1. My international experience to date is:

I do not have any experience traveling to another country. However, I have gained a substantial amount of knowledge of Chinese culture from the elective I am taking this semester: Religion and Culture in East Asia. From this class I have learned about Chinese government, culture, religious beliefs, traditions, and history.


  1. Why I want to go to China:

I want to go to China to experience a culture that is completely different than the one I grew up in and to gain a newfound sense of cultural empathy. One of my favorite quotes is by the late Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein that reads: “The limits of my language means the limits of my world.” Although I won’t be learning a significant amount of Chinese, I believe being surrounded by people who think differently than me because of their language, as well as their culture and beliefs, will be a unique experience.


  1. I think the main professional work differences I will experience will be:

I think business structure and management style will be different in China than in the United States. Based on my knowledge of Chinese values, I think that businesses in China will encourage a more collective work style among employees; there will be less individual tasks given to employees. Also, because of the strong influence of Confucian values that are often observed in Chinese business culture, I predict a greater focus on long term commitments and projects instead of fast deals for quick profit. I expect this difference because Confucianism, an ideology sponsored by the Chinese government, encourages fostering good relationships and quality/moral work ethic rather than simply working for reward.


  1. I think the main cultural differences I will experience will be:

I expect the most obvious cultural difference will the respectfulness and politeness of Chinese citizens. Since sensitivity to another person’s needs is an important value in Asian culture, I expect that workers in the service industry will be especially concerned with our comfort. Furthermore, I expect that the older population in China will be better cared for and treated with more respect than in America.


  1. I think the main political differences I will experience will be:

The main political difference I expect when visiting China is the influence of the communist government. I doubt there will be citizens speaking out against the government or any political diversity. I also expect that it will feel like the government is much more involved in the daily lives of citizens and visitors than in the US. For example, I predict that my texting and social media apps on my phone will not work and I will be restricted to only those allowed by the Chinese government, like WeChat.


  1. I think the students I meet in China will be:

I predict that the students I meet in China will be very interested in the United States college learning experience. Since there is not much ethnic diversity in China, I expect Chinese students will be intrigued because we will look, act, and talk in a way very different than the people they interact with on a daily basis. I also expect Chinese students be very intelligent. Because China has such a large population, Chinese universities only accept the brightest students.


  1. I think the major differences in living conditions will be:

I predict that living conditions will be much more varied than in the U.S. In Chinese cities, I think that living conditions will be very crowded and people will live in small apartments with their family members.  I do not expect to see suburban neighborhoods that have two-storied houses organized in housing developments/neighborhoods like in the U.S. In the rural areas of China, I expect the living conditions to be humble.


  1. I think the most enjoyable experience I will have during this trip will be:

I think the whole trip will be an enjoyable experience! I am very excited to visit famous Chinese landmarks I have only seen pictures of in history books, like the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Terracotta Soldiers. I am interested in learning more about their history and the role they played in the past. Besides the experience Chinese history, I am also excited to try authentic Chinese food. I am interested in how the cooking styles will vary from Beijing to Xi’an to Shanghai. Finally, I am looking forward to seeing how Chinese culture influences engineering and business in China.


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