In a Student’s Trip to China, a World of Cultural Revelations

In a Student’s Trip to China, a World of Cultural Revelations

By Hannah Malone, Class of 2018, business management major

Editor’s note: Hannah Malone grew up in Manchester, N.H. She earned an extremely competitive four-year ROTC scholarship with the U.S. Marines. A corporal in the Corps of Cadets, Hannah is also a physical training instructor for the 3rd Battalion, a rook training battalion. This year, she is going out for Norwich Artillery Battery, a job she thinks she may want to pursue in the Marines. In the meantime, Hannah is soaking up all the opportunities she can at Norwich, including the cultural immersion trip led by her advisor, Professor of Economics and Finance Mehdi Mohaghegh. Here she tells about the experience in her own words:

This past summer, I spent 10 days in China with my academic advisor and five other Norwich students. Never in my life did I think I would have the opportunity to visit China. When my academic advisor told me about the trip, I immediately signed up. I knew this was an opportunity I couldn’t miss. The trip was a deal: The flight, tour, lodging, and most of the food only cost me a few hundred dollars because the school covered the rest. After that, I only had to obtain a visa and purchase a ticket to and from Toronto. For a trip halfway around the world, that was extremely cheap. I didn’t even bring much spending money because the exchange rate is currently in large favor of the United States.

On the trip, I spent time in Beijing, Shanghai, and a few smaller cities outside of Shanghai. I visited places such as the Summer Palace, the Forbidden City, and Tiananmen Square. We went to a jade factory, a silk farm, a pearl farm, a tea plantation and many other places, and we had the chance to see the Golden Mask Dynasty performance and some acrobatics. I even climbed the Great Wall of China and ate authentic Chinese food. Going on a trip like this provides a strong cultural awakening and it allows you to interact and get to know native peoples. It is an incredible experience to attempt to communicate with someone while dealing with a language barrier in a foreign country. The overall experience was breathtaking, and I learned so many things about China and its people that I will never read about in a textbook.

I recommend that all college students do some type of study abroad. It can be affordable and safe   – Norwich has scholarship funds for studies abroad for a reason. The University wants you to experience the world and become cultured, and being book-smart only gets an individual so far in life. Going to another country, experiencing that culture, and interacting with the locals helps mold a well-rounded individual, which is what companies want in their employees. If I had to do it all over again, I would readily go to China, and I encourage others to study abroad  –  or at least consider it and do a little research.