China Pre-departure Report

20160711_170025My current international experience is primarily a result of vacations with my family. My family and I have traveled to Mexico and the Caribbean island of Aruba. However, during these vacations, we stayed in resorts with other tourists and the activities in which we took part did not provide significant cultural immersion. I want to go to China with this program not only to learn about the smartphone industry, but to gain a genuine cultural experience. As I mentioned previously, my vacations abroad consisted of typical tourist experiences rather than cultural immersion. I truly believe this trip to China will provide my first in-depth view into another culture.

I think that the professional workplace in China is more hierarchical than in the United States. In China, managers and other superiors tend to be more authoritative. Managers in China have the final say in any business, while in the United States, discussion is more open between levels in the workplace. One major cultural difference between China in the United States is that Americans value privacy more highly than Chinese citizens. This likely stems from Americans possessing a more individualistic mindset while Chinese citizens are more likely to support the needs of their nation.  Another major cultural difference between China and the United States lies in the value of the family unit. In the United States, it is typical for the family to nurture children into independent lifestyles, so they may leave the household to start their own careers and families. However, in China the family unit is better preserved as children maintain a strong presence within the family even after becoming independent. A major political difference between China and the United States is that China has one dominant political party. As a result, it is easier to change policy in China because there is less need for debate as most party members possess aligning political goals. The two-party system in the United States leads to frequent debate with political gridlock in severe cases.

I think the students I meet in China will be similar to students at Pitt in mentality, despite cultural differences. I think the Chinese students will possess a strong desire to learn and achieve, similar to students at the top universities in the United States. The major differences will likely be rooted in the academic culture of the classes at Chinese universities. I think that in China, households are less decorated. In China, self-promotion even in success in more frowned upon compared to in the United States. I think that as a result, Americans are more likely to purchase ornate decorations for their homes for the purpose of being more impressionable on guests.

I believe the most enjoyable experience I will have on this trip will be visiting the cultural sites. Visiting these locations will allow me to observe portions of Chinese culture firsthand. I have read about some of these locations in my high school history classes, but these visits will provide me with a deeper appreciation of their beauty and significance. This will contribute to the cultural experience I addressed previously.

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