As I’m sitting on the plane, I still can’t believe that I will soon be in China. I’ve never been outside the United States before, so I’m most excited to learn more about the differences between the Chinese culture and the American culture as well as the fundamentals of their business environment. I’m looking forward to getting outside of my comfort zone and trying new things. I hope to make new friends while abroad. I think it is very easy in the United States to get caught up in a little “bubble”, especially as a college student. Often times, I know I don’t keep up on world issues and I hope this experience will help me gain a more worldly view and attempt to appreciate another cultures perspective on issues that we may disagree upon.
China is often talked about in the news for various reasons, mainly their economic growth, but also regarding their pollution, and labor issues. In my high school economics course, we watched a documentary on China and what the effects of their recent transformation have had on their population and government. As a growing nation, they face a lot of the same issues the United States once faced earlier in our history. I think it will be fascinating to observe some of these challenges first-hand and compare them to the United States.
Furthermore, as a business major at Chapman University, China is discussed in various courses regarding similar issues. For example, in my Humanomics course, we explored questions of free-will and liberty in society, while comparing it to legal structures. In specific, we discussed public and private liberties versus economic liberties in a society. What rights do citizens have socially versus economically and how some of these are enforced by the legal system and others are enforced through social norms. I think this can relate back to China because, currently the nation is operating with a communistic government, which I believe, is engrained in their cultural social norms. However, it seems as if as a nation they are becoming more and more free-market based in terms of their economy.
Lastly, in terms of what we learned in our four class sessions for this course, Chinese culture is almost the exact opposite of American culture. However, I’m looking forward to studying some of these differences through the corporate and government visits. Some of these differences will be extremely apparent and others maybe more subtle. As my first international experience I have no idea what to expect, I’m slightly anxious but more excited than anything.