Led by instructor K.C. Pang, an international business veteran, the students will visit Anshan, Cangzhou, Guiyang and Beijing and spend three weeks studying at Anshan Normal University. Pang says the trip will provide students with tangible, global business experiences they can’t get from a textbook.
“In a global economy, you have to be exposed to the international environment,” Pang says. “Students often are in a cocoon. This trip will help them to see beyond themselves and understand the differences between cultures and how those differences impact business.
”Pang began taking UAB business students to China in 2006. Since then he has refined and expanded student roles and experiences. This year, he added a stop near the end of the trip in Guiyang for students to learn about China’s minority ethnic groups.
“I want students to see a lifestyle different from the average China resident,” Pang says. “The hotel in the minority ethnic village outside of Guiyang doesn’t have electricity.
”Students will spend the first three weeks of their journey immersed in Chinese language and culture in classes at Anshan Normal University. They also will serve as consultants in an international business class of more than 100 Chinese students at the university. Pang teaches the course in which Chinese students break out into small groups and develop an international business plan. One UAB student will be assigned to each group to act as a consultant.
“Our students tend to get very close to the Chinese students during the course, and there’s a lot of socializing after class,” says Pang, who enjoys watching the interactions and how the students learn from each other. “I’ve had students tell me it’s a life-changing experience.
”UAB students will also participate in an economic forum with reporters from the China Economic Herald and visit numerous historic and cultural sites. They will also have the opportunity to visit McWane Corporation’s Chinese operations as well as a Chinese company with international business in order to discuss the challenges of doing business abroad. In addition, graduate business students will work on a project for a Chinese company in Anshan.
UAB business spring 2011 graduate, Joshua Phillips said he’s looking forward to meeting the Chinese students and learning about their culture.
“I’ve been an international business minor since I got to UAB, and I heard nothing but good things from other students who went in previous years,” he said. “I wanted to go and experience it all for myself. It’s always better to experience a culture firsthand rather than just read about it.
”Former UAB business students who studied with Pang in China have gone on to careers in international business, including business alumnus Blake Margison, who now works for an international environmental protection agency NGO (non-governmental organization) in Beijing.
All participating students will earn three credit hours for the five-week program and blog about their experiences during the trip at the UAB in China blog.
Students will leave for China from Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport on May 27 and return on July 3.