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Doing Business in Hong Kong: Undergraduate Students Study Abroad: Exploring Asia’s most popular city for international business
Author: Melinda Crouchley
Posted: January 29, 2018
SB Honk Kong TripThey had never met in person. Their only interaction was eight weeks of intensive online course work. Their ages ranged from 21 to 28. The thing most of them had in common: they were either a junior or a senior at PSU’s  School of Business and they were going to be  together for a solid two weeks.  

And yet, on December 10, 2017, there they were, trudging across the Hong Kong International Airport towards a single destination: a McDonald’s restaurant in the Arrivals Hall. Awaiting them was a team member from the Global Academic Ventures group holding a sign, prepared to whisk them away to their hotel.

“I prepped my students for somewhat of an unknown adventure. We didn’t know until a few days before departure who the local company speakers would be, and we didn’t know the course content being delivered by Professor Lau until we arrived,” said Tien James, Assistant Professor of Management at PSU’s School of Business.

That didn’t seem to bother many of the students.

“This was a required course for my degree, but I felt like I could learn more about the business environment by actually experiencing business in a different environment,” said Raishelle Peterson, Accounting ‘18.

The biggest challenge might have been the rough transition from the United States to Hong Kong. There is a 16 hour time difference between the two countries and the first few days students logged eight full hours of class time, paired with networking events offering opportunities to socialize with local business representatives.

However once the students settled in, everyone found the experience invaluable. The roster of high caliber guest speakers and company presenters included Aetna International, Pfizer Hong Kong, Walt Disney Company, Burberry Asia Limited, and the Coca Cola Company. The lectures were punctuated by planned excursions and opportunities to explore the thriving metropolis of Hong Kong and the surrounding area. 

Studying the competitive advantage of major industries in Hong Kong, including financial, logistics, trading, and professional services, helped students discover opportunities in startup business concepts or employment prospects with a unique Hong Kong connection.

“We were able to see a different culture, and it was such a welcoming place in terms of adjusting to the new environment. I learned how the different cultures interact, including the different types of dress standards and business standards. Most importantly, I learned how to adapt in a different culture, business, and class environment,” said Peterson.  

Dr. James is considering future trips to Australia, New Zealand or Singapore for undergraduate abroad excursions. Those courses will likely consist of six credits, come with pre-requisite requirements (BA 301 and BA 205, Junior standing), and the price tag may increase from the current $5,000. That  cost included 4 credits, instruction, housing, most meals, local transportation, entrance for course-related excursions, international healthcare, airfare, personal spending money, passport and additional fees. 

Regardless of the total fees and final destination, Dr. James is in the process of putting together a fall 2018 course, and will be looking for 12 students to enroll in another study abroad adventure. 

More information about the upcoming undergraduate abroad study opportunity will be posted on the PSU Education Abroad website as it comes available. 

***Picture Caption: Tien James, Assistant Professor of Management at PSU’s School of Business, and undergraduate students from the BA 385: Doing Business in Hong Kong course, overlook the city of Hong Kong where they spent two weeks learning the local business culture.