Pre-departure Reflection

  1. My international experience to date is

I have had no prior international experience besides a brief visit to Niagara Falls. This summer I had my first major travel experience when a few friends and I went on a two-week cross country road trip. I was amazed to see the cultural, historical, and geological differences within just one country! I cannot wait to see what lies beyond.


  1. I want to go to China because:

I want to go to China to learn about entrepreneurship in an increasingly global world. Especially in the technology industry, businesses rely on increasingly complex and interdependent supply chains to deliver their products. Not only does this mean cheaper goods and services, but it allows for this technology to benefit more people than ever before. I hope that I will be able to witness the benefits of globalization first hand in one of the fastest growing economies in the world.


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

After some reading, I believe that one subtle but powerful difference in the Chinese professional setting is in how criticism is expressed. The U.S. has a very straightforward approach to voicing dissent, and attacking someone’s work is different from attacking them personally. I think that in China, criticism will be saved for private conversations.


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

I think it will be amazing to experience the different cuisines of each of the different regions in China that we will visit. Looking at a map of China, one realizes that the distance between Shanghai and Beijing is like the distance between New York and Chicago, which both have very unique food styles. I am also looking forward to observing smaller differences in everyday life, such as what people do for leisure.


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

I think the most striking difference I will experience is access to news sources and the internet. I know that China does have censorship policies in place to prevent “bad publicity” about the government. As someone who has grown up with nearly unlimited access to information, it will be interesting to experience what it is like to have to read between the lines to get the full story.


  1. I think the students I meet in my country will be:

…Just as excited to meet us as we are to meet them! I know that if given the chance, I would love to give foreign visitors a tour of the Pittsburgh area, especially if they were really excited to be there. I hope that we will be able to exchange stories from our different lifestyles and find that there is a lot in common.



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

I think that in the cities we will visit, most living quarters will be smaller than in the U.S. (although I hope not smaller than the freshman dorms at Pitt!). I have read about the high population density combined with high cost of rent leading to many people living in high rise apartments. I do not think this will lead to major differences in hospitality however.


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

I cannot wait to visit the cultural sites. In the U.S., most “old” historical sites only date back a few hundred years. I find it amazing that some of the structures in china date back thousands! It provides a neat cross-sectional view of Chinese culture, as you can literally see how society has evolved over the years.

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