Plus3 China Pre-Departure Report

My international experience to date is:

So far my international experience to date has been travel to Europe. My extended family all live in the United Kingdom so I have been visiting the U.K. from 2 months old until now, on average once a year. The U.K. is not staggeringly different from the United States because it is still a western culture, but there are still significant differences in terms of food, transport, mannerisms, landscape, and history that set them apart. I am looking to travel more internationally as I get older, whether it be through more study abroad experiences or an internationally focused career in engineering that allows for travel.

I want to go to China because:

I think the study abroad trip to china through plus 3 will be an excellent way to get an initial taste for what study abroad is like through Pitt so that I can make a more informed decision when deciding whether or not to pursue a more extended period abroad during my next couple of years. I am interested in going to China specifically because it boasts a culture very different to my own, and I think not only could I learn a lot about the subject matter of smartphone supply chain in china through this trip, but I could also learn a lot more about Eastern cultures and be able to compare them to what I expected coming into this program.

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

I think the main professional work differences between the U.S. and China will be in regards to effort put into work, attitude towards work, and business style. I expect hard work will be valued more in China, and that employees will work longer hours and be more invested in doing their work to the best of their ability. Additionally, I expect that the work environment will be more serious than the work environment in the United States, which will perhaps be evident in more formal greetings. Lastly, I expect that business will be performed in a more indirect manner in China with less emphasis on argument and more emphasis on explanation and reasoning through ideas.

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

I think the main cultural difference I will experience through travel in the cities included in our visit will be the pace of life. I expect that in the regions we are exposed to, the people will have a much faster pace of life when compared to those in western civilization. Even though our destination will include large cities that may not accurately portray the pace of life in China overall, I think that we will still be able to draw this comparison to the United States.  I also expect the people in China to be quieter and more private than people in western cultures. Additionally, I believe that the culture in China will emphasize the importance of seniority and respecting those that are older than you, a value which is downplayed in the United States. In sum, I expect a faster pace of life and value placed on seniority and privacy.

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

On the political spectrum, I believe that China will value individual rights less than the United States because of its communist period in history compared to our foundations based on natural rights and individual liberties. However, because China is economically booming, I expect that the government will substantially protect private industry and support the economic activities of large businesses over small ones to promote this sort of growth. I also believe there will be a lack of regulation over some business in China that allows for the appearance of sweat shop labor and other forms of unregulated externalities that would usually be prevented by government intervention in the United States.

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

I think that the students I meet in China will be very hard working and passionate about their academic and extracurricular activities. Furthermore, I expect that many of the students I meet will be highly involved in a variety of musical, athletic, artistic, or academic hobbies. I believe that common core subjects such as calculus, physics, and chemistry courses will make the students I meet in China more similar to myself than I expect in some ways, but I believe interests in music, television, and other culturally dependent things will likely be very different.

I think the major differences in living conditions will be:

I think the biggest difference in living conditions will be the amount of space each individual has for their daily lives. With such a large population in China, and high concentrations of people in cities, I expect that living spaces will be significantly smaller than what we’re used to in the United States. In addition, I anticipate that the cities will be significantly more polluted than other cities I’ve visited here in the United States. Having heard stories from relatives living in Cheng Du, I’m expecting the cities to be somewhat dirty as a result of this pollution, at least in terms of air quality.

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

I think the most enjoyable experience I will have during this trip will be visiting one of the historic sites such as the Great Wall or Yu Garden. Visiting a location such as one of these will give greater insight into the history of China to complement the highly technologically oriented subject matter of the smartphone industry. In addition, seeing some of the natural landscape differences, at least around the great wall, compared to the United States and United Kingdom will be interesting at these two locations.

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