Immersion into Chinese culture prepares students for International Business Career
The international business specialization is more than learning about cultural differences and their global business impacts from sitting in a classroom or reading a book. Students live and breathe an Asian culture for a month, taking their educational experience beyond business as usual.
Associate Professor Man Zhang extends her classroom to China for her BA 4390 (Regional Issues in International Business) course. Students enrolled in the class travel to the China from mid-May to mid-June to fully immerse into another culture and earn class credit at the same time. Dr. Zhang says interest in this program has dramatically increased with 16 students signed up to go this year compared to 5 last year. In fact, some students have had to be turned away this year because of the lack of scholarships and the students didn’t have the money to attend.
This past summer, Dr. Zhang and her students visited Xi’an and Beijing. In Xi’an, they visited such places as Bell Tower, Datang Furong Garden and the Beilin Historical Museum. In Beijing, the iconic stops included Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, and the Temple of Heaven.
Summer McVicker was one of the students who went abroad last year. ”I was very nervous going to China because I had never travelled internationally before. Looking back, I’m amazed that I was able to learn how to negotiate with shopkeepers on the prices of product I wanted to buy! Being with others in this program made this experience so much more rewarding because we were all faced with the task of learning about a new environment together.”
Alexis Allen encourages all students to take advantage of this learning experience. “Overall, the trip was a very interesting experience that everyone needs to have at least once in their lives.”
The students also took many cultural lessons. They learned about calligraphy, playing a guzheng musical instrument, trying out Tai Chi and Kung Fu, singing Chinese folk songs, and trying their hand at Chinese painting.
As part of the course requirement, students also worked on an international business project. The trip ended with the students receiving graduation certificates.
Four of the students who went to China competed at the BGSU Embracing Global Engagement Conference by presenting their experience in Xi’An. They placed in the Top Four for Oral Presentations and received a Glass Award.
This year Dr. Zhang is taking her students to Xi’an again. About 16 students are traveling together. Half of these students are doing a fast track course, the rest are staying for an additional few weeks for internships. They will be interning in the movie and environmental industries.
Dr. Zhang, who initiated the program, says this is an invaluable learning experience for students. “As an international business professor, I feel international experience, whether it be studying abroad, or internship opportunity, is one of the most beneficial experiences for a college student. By studying/interning abroad, students have the opportunity to experience a brand-new country with incredible new outlooks, customs and activities.”
She adds, “Students will find that completely immersing themselves in the host country is a great way to really experience and understand the people, its traditions, and its culture. It is a great way to test a student’s ability to adapt to diverse situations while being able to problem solve.”
Updated: 03/29/2018 12:55PM