May 2012 Chinese Summer Camp – George Rasmussen

WKU Confucius Institute

May 2012 Chinese Summer Camp

Trip Report  – George Rasmussen

As a Management Executive-in-Residence at the Western Kentucky University, Gordon Ford College of Business, my reflections are drawn from the unique opportunity to spend 2 weeks in Beijing China attending the Chinese sponsored Language and Cultural Exchange Summer Camp.  I have, the Chinese Ministry of Education, Hanban, Confucius Institute, WKU College of Business Management Department, the WKU Confucius Institute and the North China Electric Power University to thank for this opportunity to study abroad. 

 This trip provided a research opportunity to gain valuable insights in the area of understanding the Chinese business model and relating the model to US businesses as they strive to work with Chinese firms.   The experiences gained from this language and cultural exchange trip will enhance my Business Management classroom instruction especially in the areas of international trends in management; understanding the impact of cultural diversity as it relates to productivity; and the globalization of organizations.  Of equal value to me is the professional development opportunities afforded by this trip that have broaden my international business consulting skills in relation to doing business with Chinese companies. 

The camp agenda was very full and the execution was accomplished to successfully fill almost every available minute.  A trip to Xian and the Terracotta Warriors would be a very special opportunity that would be of great interest to future travelers.  An expansion of occasions for extensive interaction and small group conversations with NCEPU faculty and students both during formal classroom sessions and through the addition of informal meeting opportunities would be a great benefit to both the Chinese and WKU participants.     

This trip was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am extremely fortunate to have been a participant.  The activities and classroom instruction sessions were conducted in a very professional manner.  I returned from China with a great respect for the accomplishments of the people of China and a true understanding of how friendly the Chinese people are as we engaged in sharing our individual life experiences.  Each of the students and faculty members that we encountered was both very well educated and eager to help us.  My impression is that China is a vast nation with a very energetic population.  China is a land of contrasts with the many different geographic settings and a large variety of demographics.  I have to admire the past and present Chinese for creating the massive projects like the Great Wall, the bullet train and the modern cities of Beijing and Tianjin.        

To wrap up, I would like to reflect on what may be the most unexpected and greatest gift of this Summer Camp study abroad experience and that is the profound sense of revitalization travelers felt upon returning home.  The exhilaration of having successfully navigated an alien environment, perfected successful coping strategies and communicated on many occasions without the benefit of a common language drives a deep sense of “I MET THE CHINESE CHALLENGE” so future challenges may be met with a “YES I CAN ACHIEVE” attitude.

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