Devin Bluemling – Pre-Departure Expectations

My international experience to date is: 

My international experience to date is relatively limited as the only time I have ventured outside of the country was two years ago when I went on a cruise to Haiti, Mexico, and Jamaica. However, for each stop we were only off the boat for the day and did not stay in each country for an extended period of time. Also, when I was in the country my family and I often did not get the opportunity to explore the culture fully since most of the excursions were run by the cruise line. Thus, outside of the previously mentioned experience I have not had much international travel or had the experience of a long term stay in a country abroad.

I want to go to China because: 

I am ecstatic about the opportunity to study abroad and continue to further my education as a business student in China for numerous reasons. My drive to travel to China comes from the ability to experience and encounter a diverse culture that plays such a vital role in the global economy today. By visiting China, I can immerse myself into this unique culture and provide myself with the opportunity to become a more well-rounded and culturally accepting person –something I believe in today’s globalized and chaotic world is necessary more than ever. Additionally, I am eager to go to China as I believe that the ability to listen first hand from some of the world’s most successful companies provides me with the opportunity to achieve my goal of becoming a well-rounded, experienced, and intelligent business student not just in the classroom but also in my future place of employment. In today’s world, a world of constant communication and globalization, it is pivotal to learn and appreciate the culture and companies of one of the world’s most powerful countries. I believe that this will make me a more accepting, knowledgeable, and marketable business student both here in the United States but also in the world. Last but certainly not least, I want to go to China to visit the historical and world-renowned culture sites such as The Great Wall and the Forbidden City. These are all once in a lifetime opportunities that I may never get to experience again and know I will never forget.

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

The main professional work differences I believe I will experience in China include the fact that business is typically progressed with, at times, a slow pace. This is because in China the strength of relationships and socializing while forming a business partnership is considered one of the most crucial aspects of professional culture. I think this will be different as in the United States often we lack patience and want to get things done as soon as possible. I also think that in comparison to western business culture, there will be an extreme emphasis on things such as making to shake everyone’s hand in the entire group or looking over your business host’s business card thoroughly since I know seniority and respect is extremely valued throughout Chinese culture. Furthermore, the United States at times conducts business in a “loud and proud” manner, however, in China this “loud” and attention-seeking behavior is extremely frowned upon and being able to speak appropriately and not too argumentatively will be a huge difference. Finally, in Chinese professional work culture you are encouraged to get to know your business counterpart on a personal level. This is very different from the United States in which your professional and personal life are thought of as separate entities which should not be discussed

frequently or in depth in the work place. Thus, it will be a major difference to possibly be asked about personal aspects of my life in a professional setting.

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

I believe that the main cultural differences I will experience include things such as the food and cuisine being vastly different from that of American culture. Although I do believe that with being in such large and populated cities the availability of “American” cuisine might be more readily available. Nevertheless, I am ecstatic to try the new foods China has to offer! I also think that one major cultural difference which we have already discussed in our pre-departure meetings is the fact that people will be wanting to take photos with us since we are American and foreigners. This is a huge difference compared to the what I experience now in which it is considered common curtesy to ask to take a picture of someone. Lastly, I believe the language barrier of hearing and possibly understanding Chinese will undoubtedly be one of the biggest cultural differences I will experience while in China even if some people do speak English.

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

I think the main political differences I will experience while in China will be the fact that since China is ruled under a one-party system there will be less of bickering over policies since there is not the two-party system which seems to disagree on just about everything in the United States. Although I believe this bickering will still exist, I expect it to be a little less extreme. Additionally, I believe that with the Chinese emphasis on seniority and hierarchy there will be much more respect placed on people of power who rule over the country. I am most excited, however, to explore the political differences and opinions of your average Chinese person especially with respected the current state of the United States with Donald Trump as president. I am very intrigued overall to how Trump is portrayed under Chinese political views as well as the United States as a whole.

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

I think that the students I meet in China will be very interested in my life in the United States just as I will be with theirs and how they both differ significantly while also being quite similar in terms of cultural and academic interests. I also think that the students in China will be much more determined and focused on their studies compared to that of a typical American student as I think there will be much more of an emphasis on school and being successful in one’s field of study. However, I do think that overall the students will be more similar to me than I initially expect and that we will have much more in common than I could have ever imagined.

I think the major differences in living conditions will be: 

I think that the major differences in living conditions will be that the size of houses and apartments will be much smaller compared to that in the United States since China has a very high population density. Thus, the cost of owning more square feet in a city like Beijing is probably outrageous! Therefore, I expect that most people will live in apartments in high rises rather than what you see in the United States where people live outside of the city in larger houses and commute in for work. I also expect that people will use cars much less as there will

be more of a focus on bikes and public transportation systems as the main source of transportation with the fact that there is no place to readily store a car in a high-rise apartment.

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

I think that the most enjoyable experience of my trip will be the ability to experience the rich and unique culture of China. I am so excited to immerse myself into the life of an average Chinese citizen so that I can become a more accepting and understanding global citizen. Most of all, however, I am extremely excited for the site visits to iconic destinations such as The Great Wall, The Forbidden City, and more. The fact that I will be able to get pictures at these stunning and historical sites is something I know I will cherish forever. These experiences are something that I know are once in a lifetime and I am eager to make the most of each one!

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