Throughout the entire course, many professionals said that the most important relationship in the world is between the United States and China, at least for the next 100 years. The objective of this world summit was to bridge the various differences between the two nations through the youth. Personally, I felt as if the summit was one big photo shoot; rather than actually helping build relations for each nation it merely was a staged event. The speakers and facilitators stated a lot of buzz words that held very little meaning or action to further the Summit’s objective. However, I did find some of the facilitator activities to be beneficial in making friends with the Chinese students and learning more about their world-views.
My favorite activities during the classroom exercises included the Leadership and Cultural Intelligence discussions. During these activities, my classroom held a very stimulating conversation about the varying views and revealed some distinct differences in thought between a “typical” American and Chinese student. Nonetheless, I found that each of us could learn a lot from these differing perspectives.
As we discussed leadership, whether this is in an academic or business environment, I noticed clear distinctions in what a Chinese student values and what an American student values in a leader. At first, the Chinese students in my small group described a good leader as one who can “conquer” over the rest. Where as the Americans in my group, including myself, described a good leader as one who can motivate and inspire others. As we have learned in our classes before traveling to China, the Chinese culture values a hierarchical structure rather than an egalitarian structure, which is more prevalent in American culture. The purpose of this exercise was to achieve cultural intelligence, which is the ability to thrive and understand multiple cultural perspectives pertaining to a single issue. Additionally, we found some similarities in qualities that we both desired in leaders, but overall it was interesting to try to understand their perspective. I found this to be the most stimulating conversation between the Chinese and American students. It allowed for us to discuss corporate structures, family dynamics, social norms, and education in each other’s cultures.
Overall, the summit was a failure but it was interesting to observe the cultural differences and discuss with the Chinese students on a more personal level. I look forward to keeping in touch with a few of them from my class.