Six weeks ago, 72 students from the Eller College arrived in Nanjing, China to begin their first semester of upper-division classes. As one of those 72 students, living in China for the past month and a half has been an eye-opening experience. My time in China has not only given me an appreciation for Chinese culture but also led to an awareness of the unlimited opportunities available to business graduates in China. Walking out of our apartment complex, we are confronted with throngs of bicycles, scooters and automobiles. The streets in Nanjing hardly resemble Tucson at all, in addition to several lanes for car traffic there are separate lanes for two-wheeled travel and an additional walkway for pedestrians. By Chinese standards, Nanjing is a mid-size city with an urban population close to 5.5 million people. It is easy to understand the volume of people in Nanjing by watching just one intersection for a couple of minutes.
Our first session was comprised of three regular semester classes, two of which were completed in just four weeks. We had the opportunity to integrate our abroad experiences into our course work by way of creating a fictitious product to introduce into the Chinese market. Teams got really creative with their products, some of which included a Chinese dating service, gourmet dog food, and high-tech “city of the future” urban development plan. While much of our time has been devoted to academics, exploring Nanjing has been a true highlight to my experience.
After the completion of our first session classes, the entire cohort made a weekend trip to Shanghai. While there we had the opportunity to speak with two Americans who have opened up offices in China. It was great to hear from expatriates working abroad as several students are very interested in returning to China at some point in their careers. One of the most enjoyable experiences we had in Shanghai was visiting the 2010 World Expo. The innovative architecture, authentic food and national pride exhibited by each country’s pavilion introduced us to the diverse culture of the international community. With over half of our time in China completed, I have greatly enjoyed my experience. Participation in the Global Cohort has thoroughly enriched my life and will have a significant impact on my future as both a student and future businessperson.