Pre-Departure Report: Fodun Ologunde

My international experience to date:

I’ve had multiple international experiences. I was born in Nigeria and moved between Nigeria and the United States throughout my childhood and teen years. In 2015, I had the opportunity of traveling with a small team of students to Kazakhstan to participate in the International Olympiad in Informatics. Also, during my gap year between high school and college, I took a trip to Montreal to immerse myself in the French language.

I want to go to China because:

In addition to learning about the manufacturing and engineering processes involved in creating smartphones on the global scale, I would love to learn about the Chinese culture, traditions, and norms. I love to travel and have new experiences and I think this would be a great opportunity for me.

Main professional work differences I will experience:

I do not think I will be in the best position to compare professional work differences. However, I believe that many professional work expectations will be similar to those in the United States in terms of productivity and efficiency.

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

Mainly in terms of interactions. I believe there may be different social cues and social expectations. I know this from my time in Nigeria because for example, in Nigeria, it is deemed disrespectful to greet adults with phrases like “hey” or by their first name. However, other cultures may not place a lot of importance on such things. So, I expect there may be multiple cultural expectations which I may or may not be used to.

Main political differences I will experience:

I am not currently heavily involved in politics but seeing as the Chinese government system differs from that of the United States, I expect there to be some differences. I am not completely sure how much these differences will affect me during my stay in China, but I look forward to learning about them.

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

Similar to me in many ways, but also differ in some respects. I believe the engineering students I encounter will be similar to me in terms of work ethic, drive, creativity, and knowledge sets. On the other hand, they may be different form me in terms of cultural background, values, and traditions.

Major differences in living conditions:

As we will be staying in a hotel, I do not feel we will directly experience day-to-day living in the same way Chinese locals would. However, it will be a new experience going on the high-speed trains and trying out different forms of public transportation. Nonetheless, I think we will have a great experience.

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

Getting to see engineers carry out processes on the grand scale. I also really look forward to sightseeing and being a stereotypical tourist. Also, it will be great traveling with a new group of people to a new place and having an opportunity to make new friends.

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