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Cultural Immersion: Experiencing China

This past May, the College of Business and the Economics department paired up to allow students to experience cultural immersion in China. A group of eleven students and two UW- Eau Claire professors (Brenda Thalacker and Maria DaCosta) traveled to Southern China to learn about their culture, values, and business economy. Though Professor Thalacker became ill partway through the trip, Professor DaCosta and the eleven students were able to continue their travels.

Through most of the trip, the group stayed in Hong Kong and Zhuhai; however, they also made visits to Macau and Guangzhou. While in these cities, the students explored a variety of sightseeing attractions.  These attractions include Victoria Peak in Hong Kong, which allowed the students to see a wide view of the city, and Yuanmin Palace in Zhuhai.

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Professor DaCosta and students sightseeing in Macau.

The tourist attractions weren’t all that the group experienced. Professor DaCosta and the students enrolled in several classes, including Intercultural Communication and Oral Chinese. In other classes, the students enjoyed activities such as calligraphy, musical instruments, and Chinese cooking. Through these classes, they were all able to learn the differing business etiquettes and expectations as well as obtain a deeper understanding of the Chinese culture.

In order to gain perspective of Chinese business culture and economy, the group toured several leading firms, including By-Health Company and Century Equipment Company. The students learned the varying business strategies within each of the companies. The Industry 4.0 or “smart factory technology” industry, By-Health Co., impressed students with their high technological advances while Century Equipment Co. provided students with an idea of a more traditional business model for distributing food service equipment.

After the three weeks, students returned home exhausted but filled with a vast amount of new knowledge and experiences of the Chinese culture. The program will be led by Professor DaCosta again in the summer of 2018 if enough students enroll. For more information, visit the program website or contact Shanti Freitas, Intercultural Immersion Coordinator (freitasb@uwec.edu or 836-6037) for an advising appointment.