Photo provided by Logan Simpson

On the Great Wall. Pictured L to R back row: Geoffrey Lim; Alison Esping; Anita Wang; Brendon Nguyen; Laurie White; Joseph Kim; Logan Simpson; Erika Smith; Max Koenen; Rachel Chiu; Tyler Stewart. Front row L to R: Lauren Morita, (tour guide), Mandy Dang

  • Print

Summer Studies in China

Oct 17, 2012

Chinese Immersion Trip Brings Lectures to Life

By Marnie Santoyo

Fourteen Pacific students shared the learning experience of a lifetime this past summer during the University's first immersion trip to China.

During the six-week trip - led by professors Jie Lu, Modern Languages & Literature, The College, and Phil Zhu, Finance, The Eberhardt School of Business - students experienced the country's culture and history, climbing the Great Wall of China, standing in legendary Tiananmen Square and seeing the Temple of Heaven. They saw firsthand the outgrowth of China's industrial revolution, visiting multinational corporations, such as General Motors Shanghai and Bao Steel. They also got a glimpse of the country's burgeoning small businesses and entrepreneurship through visits to a dairy plant, winery, green tech village and organic farm.

"In the last 30 years, China has grown from a less developed country into the second largest economic power in the world," says Professor Zhu. "Almost all large U.S. corporations and organizations have direct or indirect relationships with China. Professor Lu and I believe it is important to create an opportunity for our Pacific students to learn more about China, including its culture, language, people, economy, and society."

Immersion learning

During the summer program, which ran from May 21 through June 29, students took "Introduction to business and economics in China" from Professor Zhu and a Chinese language course from Professor Lu, for which they received four credits for each class. However, unlike a summer class on campus, these students expanded their learning beyond the books.

"We went on many cultural excursions which included, The Great Wall of China, The Pearl Tower, Tiananmen Square, The Temple of Heaven, The Drum Tower, the zoo and a water town, just to name a few," says Erika Smith '14, Business. "At each of these places, we got a glimpse of history.  I would have never thought that I could say I climbed the Great Wall of China, and I did it in college!"

For Professor Lu, it was a great opportunity for her students to extend the language and culture they learned in class into the real world.

"Here at Pacific, I work to create a lively and dynamic learning environment," Professor Lu says. "Teaching students my language and culture in the heart of China was as rewarding for me as it was for them."

Beyond the Great Wall

Students also got a rare peak at life outside China's large cities, including one town that has achieved a green and economically self-sustaining way of living. The town, Liumingyin, produces all of its own food, purifies its own water, and makes its own electricity. It imports nothing from China's main cities, but everything its residents make is exported, providing the community with a strong economic base.

"The reason for going to this town was to provide a view of how China's demand and control economy allows people to be innovative as well as single-minded when it comes to working," says Brendon Nguyen '14, Dental. "Innovation comes from the way the people find out how to do their jobs better, but the single-minded aspect comes from knowing that only one job needs to be fulfilled by each person.  This allows for a level of efficiency that is hard to match."

They also had the opportunity to connect with fellow college students, visiting both Shanghai Finance University and Tian Hua College of Shanghai Normal University. Each student was assigned a local student partner so that they could practice their Chinese language skills and learn the local culture.

"All the students at Tian Hua were friendly and wanted to teach us about Chinese culture; we were able to repay the favor to them by sharing our experiences with them from UOP and America," says Geoffrey Lim '12, Business. "Overall I really enjoyed my trip to Tian Hua and I look forward to seeing the students who are coming to UOP this coming fall."

For more, read essays from two students, Lauren Morita '15 and Brendon Nguyen '13.