Pre-Departure Report

My international experience to date is:

Growing up, I have had the privilege to travel to Hong Kong multiple times to reunite with my father and mother’s extended families. My parents immigrated to America from Hong Kong and raised me in suburban Pennsylvania, but wanted me to continue a connection with their cultural heritage. I have also been to Mainland China, Macau, and Japan.

 

I want to go to China because:

I want to go to China because I will be given the chance to discover its cultural and historical background and witness how globalization affected industry. I will be able to learn about the history of my ancestors and be exposed to Chinese Mandarin, the national dialect. I will also be learning more about the smartphone industry, which I am very interested in. Going to China will allow me to reconnect with my roots and compare the Chinese lifestyle with my American upbringing.

 

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

I think the main professional work differences I will experience will be how much value the Chinese put on trust as opposed to Americans. In Chinese business culture, trust is what helps build the confidence needed to do business with partners. I won’t be surprised if they want to get to know me better even outside of the workplace.

 

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

I think the main cultural differences I will experience will be the concept of “saving face.” “Face” combines social standing, reputation, influence, dignity, and honor. It is how one is seen in public. “Chinese face” is more other-directed and relational, while you could say “Western face” is more self-oriented and individualistic. Due to “saving face,” I think it’s unlikely to see people to express emotions that may be attributed to “losing face” in public. In American culture, people tend to have personal pride, in which we don’t place as much emphasis on how others view us.

 

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

I think the main political differences I will experience will be realizing the United States’ high emphasis on individual freedoms compared to other countries. We highly value rights and freedoms; however, that may not be the case in China. I believe China leans towards developing a “harmonious society,” so perhaps China doesn’t emphasize rights as much as the US does.

 

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

I think the students I meet in China will be more similar than different to me. I want to connect and learn more about what each Chinese student wants to pursue. I think our interests will be different due to the many opportunities that I have been given here in America, such as a wide range of music and sports.

 

I think the major differences in living conditions will be:

I think the major noticeable differences in living conditions in China will be the temperature, humidity, and air conditions. I think China will be warmer and much more humid than Pittsburgh. I am sure China is working on improving the air quality of its cities, but I wonder if it will be noticeable to me. Finally, the population density in China’s major cities is quite higher than Pittsburgh, so I think I will experience living in a more louder and busy area.

 

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 learning about my heritage and connecting with the Chinese students we will meet. I can’t wait to visit the landmarks that we are visiting, such as the Great Wall. I also think the company visits will be a great opportunity to witness globalization and how engineering and business overlap firsthand.

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