My study abroad in China will forever hold a place in my heart. I’m going to miss every part about it (maybe excluding the “squatty potties”). I really loved getting to know new people on the trip and experiencing China with them.
The company visits were very educational, and it was really interesting to compare and contrast the Chinese companies with companies in the US. Every company chose different parts of themselves to present; from supply chain management to five-year business plans, and they answered all of our questions as well. And meeting people like Mac Sullivan and the men working at the American Chamber of Commerce showed me the different types of job opportunities there are for Americans, and how they made lives for themselves in China. As an engineer, I think getting to know business in China will greatly help me in the future. I was most interested in Delphi Technologies’ lab, and I was fascinated by the multitude of tests that they ran on the engines which led to further development in the industry. In my profession, China might face ethical issues concerning the automation of various aspects of their companies. At Xiaomi, they had various automated machines manufacturing their cell phones. At Ocean East International Logistics, they had AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles) sorting their inventory. And the largest port in the world, Yang Shan Port, was completely automated. China as a whole is rapidly becoming more technologically advanced, and there is a whole realm of automation that could face a variety of ethical issues, and I am interested in seeing what they develop in the future as well as how machine learning may become incorporated. Another big topic that we learned about in China is Big Data. Big Data basically tracks user history and tailors adds to individuals based on their online history. Computer and software engineers might face some ethical issues concerning privacy and what not. I also learned a lot from the professors at Central University of Finance and Economics and East China University of Science and Technology. The professors were very engaging, and it was a great opportunity to learn from people with different viewpoints. Overall, I hope that China and the US can become more connected professionally because China is truly a power house.
Culturally, I have an immense appreciation for Chinese people. There were many differences between China and the US, and I think that was one of the best parts about being there. It seemed like every second that I was there, I had to pinch myself because it was crazy to be in country I was born in and just to see how Chinese people lived. Everyone there was very respectful and accommodating to our large group. There were more people than I thought their would be that knew English or at least enough English to communicate to us. I have a lot of respect for anybody that can learn Mandarin because the language is so difficult, and it still blows my mind how people can read Chinese characters, and if someone learns English on top of that, I just think that is amazing. I wish that they would start teaching kids different languages in America at a young age like they do in China. This trip as a whole had so many takeaways; I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to explore China, and with my ten year tourist visa, I definitely want to go back.