Benjamin Bertan: Pre-Departure Individual Report

My international experience to date is: 

My international experience to date includes a trip across the border to see Niagara Falls in Canada, a vacation to the beautiful Bahamas, and, most recently, a cruise with one day stops in Haiti, Jamaica, and Mexico! Those above experiences are in order so one may notice an increase in the size of vacation as time goes. That will be continued once I leave for China as that will replace the cruise for the longest international exposure I will have been on.

I want to go to China because: 

I want to go to China for a few main reasons. First of all, this may my most efficient opportunity to travel to China that I will access to throughout my life. Second, I have always wanted to go to Asia to some capacity. Thirdly, I want to have an opportunity to dip my feet in the water that is studying abroad with Pitt. Being that Plus3 is only two weeks I feel that it will be a good indicator to see if I want to try to study abroad again or if this will be too much for me. Now if you pair up my above reasons with gaining three credits, an excellent resume booster, and all the great business opportunities that I will get to experience, going to China is a no brainer for me!

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

I think the main professional work differences I will experience will be time! I think in the United States we often times try to complete work, meetings, and deals as efficiently and time effective as possible, while sometimes rushing through it. However, through reading different material I have noticed one common theme of how the Chinese conduct business in relation to time, it is much slower and drawn out. From what I’ve read the Chinese take their time, do no hurry to rush through deals, and even once a deal is signed changes may be requested and the deal revisited.

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

I think the main cultural differences I will experience will be cuisine. I know that in the larger cities I will have greater access to food I am more familiar with, but I am going to try to step out of my comfort zone and try different foods while abroad. Similar to how the United States has different styles of food across the country I look forward to seeing the differences between Beijing and Shanghai.

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

I think the main political differences I will experience will be the censorship. It will be weird going two weeks without access to social media! I am not concerned about missing out on “what’s going on” but it will be a major difference. Social media, news, and freedom of speech are things I have been in tune with my whole life. However, I think it will be positive for my development as a well-rounded person because I will truly be stepping into someone else’s shoes and experiencing their difference first hand.

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

I think the students I meet in my country will be similar to us! Think about how we were chosen for this experience, we applied and had our GPAs considered. I think this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for both us the US students and the Chinese students. That being said, I expect the students will be excited to meet us and will be compromised of intelligent individuals who are education conscious and business savvy. However, at the end of the day, we are all young and have our own outside interests that I look forward to learning about!

I think the major differences in living conditions will be:

I think the major differences in living conditions will be spacing! While we will be staying in hotels for the duration of our trip, I know that the population densities of cities in China is much higher than the city I grew up in, Pittsburgh. We are not staying in hostiles, so I do not think I will be fully introduced to realistic living conditions. It will be similar to any other time I have stayed in a hotel I anticipate. Besides where I will be sleeping each night, I think the population densities will be evident through everyday life such as walking through the cities. I anticipate the efficiency of New York City where seemingly no square foot is wasted!

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

I think the most enjoyable experience I will have during this trip will be everything! I know it is cliché, but I am very excited for everything. The learning, the tourist destinations, the way of life, the cultural differences, the architecture and art, and even the bullet trains! If I were to pin point one specific thing I am excited for it would be the self-growth. I think this will be a life changing experience and will provide ample opportunities for growth as I will be put in situations, daily, that I could never experience domestically. I look forward to being challenged everyday on a scale that I cannot imagine.

 

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