Broaden your horizons, in Beijing and beyond

Bradley students and faculty visit the Forbidden City.

October 13, 2011

By Elise Dismer ’13

When Bradley students travel abroad with FCBA next spring break, the first words they’ll hear are “Huānyíng nín dào zhōngguó, (“Welcome to China”).

Matthew Fishbeck, a senior management and administration major, traveled to China two years ago with his International Business in the China Market classmates. Fishbeck said the experience changed his life.

“It really opened me up to other people’s ideas,” Fishbeck said.  “I wanted to learn about other people’s cultures after going on this trip.”

Every two years, the Foster College facilitates a study abroad excursion to China to immerse students in a foreign culture.

“That is critical to a student’s understanding of the world, globalization, and also of themselves,” said FCBA International Programs Director James Foley.

Next semester, six classes will join together to travel during spring break:

  • IB 204: Business in Chinese Culture
  • RLS 338: China Religion and Culture
  • RLS 350: Topics in Religion
  • MLS 627: Religion in Society
  • EHS 300: Professionalism Across Cultures
  • IB 658: Doing Business in China

Foley said the blend of classes on the trip diversifies the learning experience and gives students different perspectives of China’s culture.

“It’s powerful when you travel in a group like this with your own peers because things that you miss, your friend may pick up,” Foley said. “I always love seeing the synergy between all the students.”

Students will start the trip in Beijing, where they’ll visit historical locations like the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. They’ll wrap up the trip in Shanghai, the business and technological center of the nation.

Also, during the trip, the business classes will take a tour of a Caterpillar facility in Suzhou.

“It’s always a great experience to hear the workers’ thoughts of what it’s like to be from Peoria but living in Suzhou and working in China,” Foley said.

Brianna Wenger, an international business student who plans to go on the trip next semester, is excited to see the factory.

“It makes globalization real,” Wenger said. “They say that CAT is an international company, but this shows that it’s true.”

Foley said the upcoming trip to China will be unique because students will be able to see how the World Expo in Shanghai, the Olympics in Beijing and the financial crisis have all affected the country.

“It’s a fascinating time to be visiting China,” Foley said. “It is fast-growing and increasingly influential and it’s always an interesting place.”

Fishbeck‘s advice for students adjusting to China was to keep an open mind, especially about the food.

“You might only be there once,” he said, “So give everything a try and do as much as you can while you’re there.”

The first deposit due for the trip is November 1. For more information, contact Jim Foley at