SC State Students Prepare to Travel to China during International Study Abroad Program

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Great Wall of China, The Terra Cotta Warriors of Xi’an, and The Forbidden City are just a few of the landmarks that 10 SC State students can expect to see when they travel to China on June 18, 2009 as part of an international study abroad program.

In fall 2008, SC State University’s Department of Business Administration was awarded a Business and International Education grant (BIE) by the U.S. Department of Education, which supports international study abroad opportunities for students. The BIE grant supports 90 percent of the travel costs to China.

Students were selected to travel to the international country based on the completion of a dead-line driven application process, grade point average (GPA), and a written essay on why they were interested in participating in the international study abroad program.

“This trip to China is a great opportunity in which our students will be exposed to an environment which is different from ours,” said Dr. David Jamison, associate professor of Marketing, and International Business Minor advisor, who will be accompanying the students on their trip. “Things have developed so rapidly in China over the last decade. It will be interesting for our students to see the businesses who have become major players in the economy and how they are evolving,” he continued.

During their trip, the students will tour five cities in China: Beijing, Xi’an, Guilin, Yuangshou, and Shanghai. They will meet business managers and entrepreneurs within each city to learn about business practices, major clientele, production processes, and marketing activities. They will also learn about the economic conditions in China and how they compare to the United States.

“Only two of our students have traveled outside of the United States and for the rest, China is the farthest international location that they have traveled. I think this trip will be an eye opening experience for everyone,” said Jamison.

Not only have the students been active in raising money for the remaining cost of their trip, they have been busy learning about the various ways to greet others in the Chinese language.

In efforts to prepare for departure, the students were required to participate in four pre-travel sessions. During these sessions, students were given information about the Chinese culture and lifestyle, language, etiquette, and general information regarding traveling to a foreign country. The sessions were conducted by co-private investigators of the BIE grant; Dr. Guohua Ma, assistant finance professor, who is originally from China; Dr. Renu Singh, assistant marketing professor; and Dr. Keli Feng, assistant professor in the department of Business Administration, who is also from China, assisted with the sessions.

Darrah Weston, a native of Dillon, S.C., and senior Family and Consumer Sciences Business/Multidisciplinary major, jumped at the opportunity to travel to a foreign country.
“The trip to China is definitely a blessing and serves as an opportunity of a lifetime for me,” said Weston, who will be traveling outside of the U.S. for the first time. “I feel that I am maximizing all of my opportunities while in college by learning about various business practices within a different culture,” she continued.

Currently, the students participating in the international study abroad program have various majors, to include accounting, management, and marketing. Dr. Jamison hopes that this experience and exposure to the Chinese culture will encourage them to choose international business as a minor.

“The goal of this trip is for our students to be excited about foreign travel and return as ambassadors, sharing their experiences with colleagues in hopes that they all grasp the idea of studying international business at SC State,” concluded Jamison.

The students are scheduled to return on Monday, June 29, 2009.