Haley McArthur: Pre-Departure Report

As far as my international experience goes, I have only ever been to Canada. Since I was born there and all of my relatives other than my immediate family live there, we frequently go back to Canada to visit family. Other than that, I have never been to Europe, or Asia, or South America before. China will definitely be the most exotic place I have been to so far.

I want to go to China because I know how global the business world is becoming and how crucial it is to learn about other countries to develop a global mindset. I believe that traveling to China and immersing myself in their culture is vital to being valued as a businessperson with a global mindset. China is a country that I hope to travel to again in the future for work, and I hope that this experience in China helps me prepare to travel there again in the future for business.

After doing some research on Chinese work culture, I think that one of the main professional work differences I will experience while abroad in China will be that the United States is a very individualistic culture, whereas China is very collectivist. This means that in the United States, we tend to look after ourselves and our immediate families while in collectivist countries like China they tend to act in the interests of the group and not necessarily of themselves.

I think that the main cultural difference I’ll experience will be the large volume of people at any given public space due to the country’s very large and dense population. In the United States as well as in Canada, personal space is highly valued. I think that going to China will be very different in this regard because of how having a lot of personal space is kind of a luxury in China.

I think that the biggest political difference that I’ll notice while I’m in China will be that the Chinese government blocks so many websites that it deems harmful to national or party interests. Websites that we use every day here in the Unites States, like YouTube and Facebook, are inaccessible on the Chinese internet. Since using these websites is such a significant part of our every day lives, not being able to use them will be a big change.

The students that I meet in China will probably be very hardworking. After reading about the education system in China from the book about Chinese customs and culture, I learned that their school day goes from 7:15 in the morning until 7:00 in the evening. According to a high school student’s blog, most Chinese students will continue studying until 2 AM. I did not know that Chinese students spent so much of their time doing schoolwork, so I would guess that the students we meet will be very smart and hardworking.

I think that the living conditions in China will not be too different from the living conditions in the Unites States. Since we are staying in nice hotels in China, it will be hard to truly see the average living conditions for Chinese people. From what I’ve read in the book, most Chinese live in high-rise apartment blocks and space is usually very limited. I know that traditionally around three generations of the same family would live under the same roof in China, and that is rarely seen in the Unites States. That tradition however, is becoming less common nowadays.

Out of all of the experiences we will have on this trip, I think that the most enjoyable one will be seeing the Great Wall of China. Although this is probably the most tourist-y thing to do while in China, I think it’s an incredible landmark. I’m very excited to see just how vast the wall really is because I don’t think that pictures can truly capture it.

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