Matt is a business administration major and communication minor who studied in Yiwu, China, for one month during the summer with Central College Abroad. His small group also traveled to Beijing and Shanghai.
Our group studying abroad was rather small. We stayed in hotels throughout our stay in China.
What effect did studying abroad have on your life?
Studying abroad had a great impact on my life. I gained a strong appreciation for Chinese culture and for my own culture. Academically, it allowed me an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and fill requirements for graduation. Professionally, I was able to meet many great individuals and expand my network.
In what ways did studying abroad allow you to learn and grow?
While studying abroad in China, my learning came from class lectures, field trips, and an afternoon internship. I was able to experience the daily routine of the world's largest wholesale market, which is based out of Yiwu. I also had an opportunity to intern at a wholesale firm that manufactured belts for many major brands, including Guess and Lacoste.
In what ways did you connect with a new culture?
Chinese culture and history played a huge part of our study abroad experience. Our study abroad advisor was a modern Chinese individual that held traditional Chinese culture and philosophies very sacred. China is growing at a very rapid rate, and it was interesting to see how their history and culture impacted the changes.
Describe your best memory from this experience.
I am not a shopper. I usually start falling asleep as soon as I enter the mall. However, one of the funniest experiences I had in China was at Silk Street in Beijing. Silk Street is a giant "mall" where little shops are setup side by side. It is simply madness. Employees are literally pulling you into their shops. I had one lady throw a purse into my hands and then run back into her shop so that I would have to walk inside to hand it back to her. Bargaining is a must. I became a huge fan of bargaining after that day. It was a very fun day of shopping, which I normally hate.
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