Pre-Departure Individual Report

My International experience to date is:

Currently, my international experience is quite limited. My only international trip was a vacation to Toronto, Canada when I was 12 years old. But, nevertheless, I am quite optimistic and excited about going to China. I think that, because I’m going with a large group led by experienced travelers, my first experience in a drastically different place will be very rewarding.

I want to go to China because:

I am a computer engineering major, and one day I hope to work on the forefront of computer research and technology. China has been a leader in this field, so it would be very helpful if I had experience with Chinese culture. This would allow to better collaborate and work with professionals in China.

Also, I think the experience of immersing myself in a culture that is completely different is vital in my growth as both a professional and a as a person. Exposing myself to new ideas and new practices will give me a broader view and better understanding of the world.

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

I’m not quite sure what to expect in the professional culture. Stereotypically, I conflate China with working longs hours and focusing mainly on science and technology, which I still expect to see because we are visiting such large and competitive companies. However, I’m sure they have a broad and diverse workforce, just like the US.

I think the main cultural differences I experience will be:

The main cultural difference will definitely be the language barrier. I don’t speak any Mandarin or Cantonese, so it’ll be much more difficult to communicate with people. Although, I think a good portion of the population speaks English as well, so perhaps I can get by with that. Also, I’m sure there are many customs and mannerisms that I am yet unaware of, and experiencing and learning about those will be interesting.

I think the main political differences I experience will be:

Politically, I expect China to be quite different than the United States. China operates under a one-party system, so I expect to see much less political squabbling and infighting when compared to the US. I’m also interested to see how Chinese citizens feel about their civil liberties and representation. Since there’s only one party, they have all the control and that is probably disheartening for the citizens who don’t always agree with them.

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

Like the work culture, I expect the students to be very focused and hard working. However, I do think that, no matter what, kids are kids, and they will want to have fun and relax just like any other students. I am excited to learn from them, and see how their way of thinking may be different than an American student’s based on the different education system.

I think the major differences in living conditions will be:

One of the biggest differences I anticipate in living in China will be is the air quality. I know China does not have very strict environmental regulations, and as a result some of their cities do not have the cleanest air. Also, I think the food will be very different in China. I’ve been told that authentic Chinese food has considerably less salt and meat than its Americanized counterpart.

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

I am extremely excited to see the historical sites. I’ve heard about things the Great Wall of China, the terracotta army, and the Forbidden Palace since I was a little kid, and now I get a chance to see them in real life. Also, being my first time overseas, I think that simply the sense of adventure will be exciting.

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