William Neely: Pre-Departure Report

My international experience to date is:

My international experience is traveling to Scotland to visit my family. My mom moved to America a couple of years before I was born, so every couple of years we take a family vacation to Scotland to visit her family. I mainly stay in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, but I have also traveled throughout the country, including Glasgow, the west coast, and Loch Ness. I have also been to London twice. I have been in airports in Iceland and Ireland, but that doesn’t really count as international experience.

I want to go to China because:

I want to go to China to explore the international side of engineering, as it relates to the smartphone industry. iPhones are designed by Apple in California, but the components and phone are built and assembled in Asia. In the future, I want a career that allows extensive international travel. Plus3 China will give me the opportunity to experience that. I am excited by the cultural opportunities the program offers. The Great Wall is one of the wonders of the world and I would be ecstatic if I got the chance to see it.  Plus3 might also give me the opportunity to explore a foreign country with the friends I’ve made in college and new friends I will meet on the program.

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

In China, it is very important to save face, or preserve your reputation. Direct conflict and confrontation is also frowned upon. This means in a Chinese workplace, employees do not directly oppose or stand up to their superiors, while in America it is more usually more important to make the right decision than to save the reputation of your boss.

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

I think the biggest cultural difference I will experience will be about social structure and respect. Social structure in China is much more formal than in the relatively relaxed United States. It is also important in China to be respectful and sensitive to others needs, while in the US this has somewhat fallen by the wayside.

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

China’s government is authoritarian and restrictive, and one of the biggest differences I think I’ll experience is absence of free speech and less visible, if not completely absent political activism. China is also much more controlling of its citizens lives, and this control has created a more harmonious society while American is a more independent society.

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

I don’t really know what to expect from the students I meet in China, but I know that the Chinese classroom values obedience and memorization rather than gaining insight and expressing opinions on the material. My roommate is Chinese, and he likes things from western culture like Formula One and dirt bikes, so I expect other Chinese students to be similar.

I think the major differences in living conditions will be:

I expect living conditions in China to be worse than in America. America has a higher GDP per capita than China, and the average American is wealthier than the average Chinese. Many Americans also live in rural/suburban environments and have more room to live, while many Chinese people live in busy cities in the east.

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

I think the most enjoyable experience I will have during the trip will be exploring another country and making memories with my friends. I am very excited to go the Great Wall and Forbidden City and other cultural sites. I am also very excited to see a major Asian airport, as I have heard they are generally nicer than American airports.

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