Pre-departure Report

-My international experience to date is:

I have had one international experience so far in my life. At the end of my junior year of high school, I traveled to a different country for the first time. My dad and I attended a college trip to Italy, with a professor who was our good friend. I visited Venice, Florence, and Rome while in Italy, and each was amazing in its own way. It was great to experience the different culture and try the many great foods that Italy has to offer.

-I want to go to China because:

I want to go to China for many reasons, two of the most important being the opportunity to experience such a diverse culture and learn an incredible amount about the smartphone industry. I have taken Mandarin Chinese for four years, thus I have learned a lot about China and have developed some speaking skills that I may be able to utilize. I have learned how interesting and fun China can be and would like to experience this first hand. I am a computer engineer, and thus I will value the opportunity to meet with experts in the field of smartphones being that I can apply what I learn to my goals later in life.

-I think the main professional work differences I will experience will be:

I believe the main professional work difference I will experience is the very serious attitude towards business. Although there is etiquette associated with business in America, I believe that China has many more facets to business culture. There may be different procedures, different ways to address people, and different greetings than those we are accustomed to in America.

-I think the main cultural differences I will experience will be:

The main cultural difference I will experience will be the diversity of culture in China. Although it is one country, there are 56 distinct minorities which each have developed their own practices and culture. I believe that traveling from city to city will show much larger changes in day-to-day life than they would here in the United States. Another main cultural difference I will experience is the most obvious. The food, music, and clothing that people are used to in China will be different from what I am used to here, but I am open to trying these new things and seeing what China has to offer.

-I think the main political differences I will experience will be:

I am not very knowledgeable about politics, but one main political difference I believe I will experience is a difference in focus. While the United States puts freedom as its number one concern, it seems as though China is more focused on stability. The U.S. sometimes sacrifices what is best, such as with gun laws or civil rights, so that everyone can retain their freedom. The Chinese people may have slightly less freedom in some cases, but nonetheless are focused with what is best for their country and people.

-I think the students I meet in my country will be:

I see China as a quickly developing country, which is focused on research, development, and keeping their schools consistently among the best in the world. Due to this, I believe that the students I meet in China will be intelligent, focused, and find education very important. There are many students that fit this criteria in the U.S. as well, but I expect that in general the students will put more effort into their school work. Beside academics, I believe the students we meet will be exactly like us for the most part. All of the Chinese students that I have met so far have been kind and very friendly.

-I think the major differences in living conditions will be:

I believe the most recognizable difference in living conditions in China will be the large number of people. China has more than four times the population of the U.S., yet the sizes of the countries are very comparable. Therefore, I believe that China will seem very crowded at first. In addition to the differences in population, I believe another difference in living conditions will be the price of products. Through some research, it seems that many products, including food, drinks, and services like taxis are much less expensive in China. As for living conditions in regard to hotels and homes, I believe that they will be relatively similar to the U.S.. The main difference will be the size, due to the population difference. I believe there will be many larger hotels and apartment buildings, and they may have smaller rooms so that they can accommodate larger numbers of people.

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

All of the experiences I will have on this trip are going to be amazing, so it is hard to pick just one of them. If I had to choose, I believe that my most enjoyable experience on this trip will be seeing the Great Wall of China. The Great Wall is such an iconic image, with incredible history behind it. Although I have seen countless pictures of the Great Wall, I believe it is something that you can only experience first hand. The feeling I will get from being somewhere that almost everyone in the world has heard of will be incredible, and that is why I believe it will be my most enjoyable experience. I will be sure to take many pictures of the Great Wall, as well as the beautiful scenes that can be seen from on top, to remember the trip by.

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