TWU students exchange classroom walls for the Great Wall of China

Langley, BC—This summer, over twenty TWU students traveled to China to learn about international business first-hand as part of the University travel study program. The experience enabled them to see and experience directly the concepts they’d learned in the classroom, and to expand their views about another culture.

“This experience has definitely given me a new perspective from which to interact with people from different cultures,” says Nicole Wendland, who recently graduated with a Business degree from TWU. “And I learned that international business is about real people who hold real beliefs and are a part of real families.”

While in China, the group visited nearly twenty businesses in Beijing and other cities, and learned how diverse cultural values affect business practices, something international business professor Michel Mestre says can’t be learned in the classroom.

“Students learn in a way that they couldn’t otherwise –some things cannot be taught in a classroom, they have to be experienced,” says Mestre, who has led students on trips to Japan and China over the past three years. “The biggest thing I’ve found with doing business in China, is that relationship is key. Without building relationship with the people you want to do business with, you won’t make any progress.”

And for many students, a highlight of the China study-trip is the opportunity to learn alongside Chinese students from the Tianjin University of Technology. The students spend classroom time together, learning about Cross-cultural communication and international business, and the Chinese students invite the visiting TWU students to their homes for meals and social interaction. Mestre contends that in the same way that international business concepts can be best learned when experienced first-hand, learning about a different culture is no different. “It is far more helpful to learn from interacting with people from a different culture than only reading about these people in a textbook.”

Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a privately funded Christian liberal arts university enrolling 2,850 students this year. With a broad-based, liberal arts and sciences curriculum, the University offers undergraduate degrees in 34 major areas ranging from business, education and computer science to biology and nursing, and 12 graduate degrees including counselling psychology, theology and administrative leadership.

Last Updated: 2012-08-21
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