Study abroad to take undergrads to China

John Brown University is offering a study abroad trip to China for the first time this summer.

Randall Waldron, professor of economics and international business, will lead the trip. Waldron has visited China before, first as an adviser to a Christian campus group from the University of South Dakota, then again as a Fulbright scholar and to lead the graduate trips through the Beacom College of Business.

“China has gotten into my system and now it seems strange if I don’t go there for a couple of years,” Waldron said.

The trip will be four weeks long, offer six credit hours, and be primarily, but not exclusively, for business majors. About eight students are going on the trip this summer, including a few engineering majors.

Waldron hopes that this trip will bring a greater emphasis on Asia in the University’s study abroad program, as well as an interesting place to learn about the world’s fastest growing economy.

“If you want to be a global citizen with global impact, then you must be familiar with China,” Waldron said.

Students will begin their stay in China by visiting Beijing and Shanghai. They will then spend some time in the Yunnan province, a more rural area with diverse scenery and culture and home to one of Southeast Asia’s largest mosques.

Waldron hopes that his students will “learn by doing,” studying firsthand the economic and business environment of the country.

“I’ve learned a lot about China from just walking the streets, being part of that crowd, whether it’s riding the subways in Beijing or wandering the Hutong alleyways,” Waldron said.

It’s precisely this sort of travel that senior Sara Lowe is looking forward to. As an international business major, she spent some time backpacking through South America and is looking forward to another new context to try out what she has learned in her studies.

“China is key,” Lowe said. “It’s the place to go. If you want to do a May term abroad, do China.”

Lowe believes that this trip marks a good change for the business department, and Waldron agrees.

“I hope we come back informing the general student body about China,” Waldron said. “This trip has the potential to be life-changing, a watershed moment in someone’s life. It was for me.”