Beza Tirfe Yoseph

CIEE: Shanghai, Summer Business and Culture
Up one level
Beza Tirfe Yoseph

Major: Economics and Labor & Employment Relations
Hometown: Annandale

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I attended the Penn State Education Abroad Fair because I was very interested in studying abroad but had no idea where to start.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I studied in Shanghai for a month and focused on how Chinese culture influences law and business within the country. Our goal was to understand the Chinese perspective by traveling, communicating with locals, and studying influential documents, like the Chinese Constitution and the official People's Republic of China Communist framework. Fully jumping out of my comfort zone and taking this trip was such an amazing and fulfilling experience; the freedom and ability to explore a new culture was exactly the hands on experience I was looking for. From meeting the other American students in my cohort to speaking to the local students, I was able to teach and learn new things from every single person I had the opportunity to speak to. Studying abroad was such a memorable experience and I am so thankful I had the opportunity to go.

From meeting the other American students in my cohort to speaking to the local students, I was able to teach and learn new things from every single person I had the opportunity to speak to.

How did this experience impact you academically?

From improving my communication and public speaking skills to solving large and small-scale problems in extenuating circumstances, I believe this study abroad experience has prepared me in ways I could not even picture. The course I took while in China focused heavily on public speaking and presentations while showing an understanding of a combination of reading material and field trips that I plan on utilizing both in and outside of the classroom. Although traveling on our own around the city was an exciting option for us, there were challenges that we faced because of the language barrier and general lack of familiarity with the area. My cohort members and I did not let these issues hinder our experience, and we banded together and studied Chinese, memorized bus routes, and were open and receptive to locals and their assistance. I definitely plan to set many small and reachable goals for myself while heading back to school, like I did in China, to stay on track with my academics.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

After I graduate I plan on attending law school and entering the corporate law sector to assist businesses and companies. Going to China helped me understand how global our economy is and how important understanding and respecting other countries' business practices can be. I think this experience has given me an edge when it comes to being able to work with and understand a huge global power like China. From the traditional business practices they have followed for hundreds of years like "Guanxi" and Mienza" to the growth of their technological economy thanks to the younger generation, China is a force that cannot be ignored and the importance of showing an understanding of business practices can be a huge edge to any business looking to expand globally.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would absolutely recommend that all Liberal Arts students take the opportunity to study abroad. The College of the Liberal Arts has the privilege of being a very flexible entity when it comes to figuring out where we fit into the grand scheme of the workforce. When you take the opportunity to go abroad and see other cultures, jobs, people, and opportunities, you truly open yourself up to other fields and departments that you may have never even thought of!

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

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