Before I heard about International Business Seminars I had a goal to see and visit several different countries, one country that was not on my list to visit was China. I never had much of an interest to go somewhere other than first world countries (except Mexico), because I was unsure how I would feel or act in that situation. Once I found this program, I figured it would be the perfect way for me to see something that would challenge myself as a person and go to Asia. I decided to set a few professional and personal goals for myself during my twelve-day trip to Beijing and Shanghai, to make the most out of my time.
Leave My Comfort Zone
The main goal of mine that motivated me to take this class was to challenge myself to do something new and leave my comfort zone. I often find myself getting into the same habit day after day, I wanted to go on this trip to challenge myself to do things I would expect from myself.
The first way I accomplished this goal was deciding to go to a different country with strangers. This turned out to be the best part of the trip, it allowed me to feel independent and gave me the freedom to do whatever I wanted. It’s so easy asking those you know well for help, figuring how to get around on your own is challenging, especially in a place where I couldn’t look anything up or speak the language well enough to ask for help. It forces you to become close with others on the trip and make meaningful friendships.
Learn About Buddhism
My next goal was to learn more about one of the main faiths in China, Buddhism. China has the largest number of Buddhists, making up 18% of the country’s total population. After studying the faith in World Religion, I was intrigued by it being based off being a kind person, nothing for personal gain but living your life the way you want while having consideration for others.
I decided the best way to accomplish this goal would be by visiting two temples in Beijing, the Lama Temple and the Temple of Confucius on one of my free days. During my visits to these astonishing places, I couldn’t help but feel mesmerized by their beauty. I was given the chance to watch people engage in their faith while they prayed in respect for the Buddha. One thing I learned was that people who practice Buddhism seldom try to convince their others their religion is the “correct one” and refer to it as a way of life. This picture shows a woman praying at the Lama Temple, there was a haze from the burning incents.
Learn About Chinese Labor Laws
My next goal was a professional goal, I genuinely wanted to learn how differently business is conducted in China compared to the United States. After working in Human Resources for the last year, I wanted to understand the different labor laws and regulations there are in China and how those aim to protect those in business. I also wanted to know what impact businesses have within a communist country.
I accomplished this goal by learning from business executives in different industries. These executives came from a background of working in both America and China, this gave us the opportunity to listen and learn about how their experiences differ in each country. I was able to learn about how business affects China and its economy by visiting the US Embassy in Beijing. And I gained a deeper understanding of the government and how they go about implementing new laws and regulations by visiting Grant Thornton in Shanghai. This also abled me to practice networking in a typical business setting. Talking with all the seminar speakers let me grow and understand their companies better by being able to ask questions on anything we were interested in. The speakers were able to explain the things we learn in Business School and how they apply it to work within their organization. This picture shows me and my roommate at one of our company visits EY.
By choosing to go to the International Business Seminars in China this past summer, I was able to grow as a student and have started to see what is coming my way when I enter the workforce. It was very neat to see what is waiting on the other side of graduation, I hope to use this experience once I get my first 9-5 job.