China Study Abroad Trip

By James Foley, Director,Turner Center Operations,

FCBA International Programs


“Awesome experience!”

“Different than anything else you can do on spring break.  Worth it!”

“The trip opened up the world to me, unlike any other experience I’ve had.”

These were just a few of the comments from students after their March 2012 spring break study abroad trip to China.  45 students traveled to China as part of their international business, MBA, or religious studies class.  The trip was coordinated by the Foster College of Business Administration Office of International Programs within the Turner Center.  The students traveled to Beijing and Shanghai during their 8 day trip.  The visits by each class varied but generally included business and cultural sites.  A highlight for all was the chance to climb the Great Wall outside Beijing.  The city tour of Shanghai from the Huangpu River later in the week also impressed the students as it offered a chance to see up close the ‘new’ China as represented by the dozens of skyscrapers in PuDong.

For each class, the study abroad trip was ‘embedded’ in their on-campus class.  This allowed the classes to meet during the weeks leading up to the trip to discuss China’s history and culture and better understand what they would see in March.  Upon their return, the classes continued to meet to integrate the trip back into the classroom.  

For the MBA and international business classes, the business visits offered the chance to see how doing business in China differs from here in the United States.  Both classes visited the Caterpillar manufacturing facility in Suzhou, outside Shanghai.  The visit was hosted by Dan Herkelman, general manager, and included a factory tour as well as a discussion about the opportunities and challenges of business in China.  It was a great opportunity to learn about China directly from experts living and working there.  Other business visits included the computer manufacturer, Lenovo; the consulting firm, Dezan Shira & Associates; and the supplier of ping pong tables to the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games – Double Happiness Company Ltd.

Based on past trips, the China study abroad trip not only helps broaden a student’s perspective on globalization and China, it also helps get a job.  Dan Moir, a March 2012 graduating senior in economics, went on the 2010 China trip.  He recently landed a job with an international insurance company in their international department.  “Talking about the trip to China during my job interview was incredibly valuable.   It not only put me at ease, but I was able to discuss the importance of global business and how much I enjoy it.  I think it helped make the difference in getting the job!”