WSU apparel students toured some the biggest, most important clothing production and merchandising companies in China during AMDT’s 2016 international tour.
“The economic connection between the U.S. and China has never been so tight,” said associate professor Ting Chi, who led eight undergraduates on a two-week trip to Shanghai, Beijing and Xi’an in May.
“Understanding cross-cultural differences between China and the U.S. and learning business norms and practices in China have become imperative for any student who wants a successful career in the fashion industry,” Chi added.
China is the largest textile, apparel, and footwear supplier to the world and U.S. market, and the annual trip helps AMDT students understand the business practices that drive that dominance.
In Shanghai and Beijing, students visited major suppliers for companies like Target, Nordstrom, Speedo, Macy’s and Calvin Klein. They also visited Donghua University, a leading textile and apparel university in Shanghai, to meet students and faculty.
Cultural attractions weren’t overlooked on the trip, as the tour visited the ancient terracotta warriors site in Xian and the Forbidden City in Beijing.
Most of the students in AMDT 439 had never traveled abroad before. Flying 12 hours across the Pacific was their first challenge.
“Seeing the students with smiles on their faces in the Shanghai International Airport was a relief for me,” said Chi. “They were very excited.”
Visiting China challenged students’ adaptability, but, Chi said, they were open-minded and quickly embraced Chinese norms and basic language. Even when tired after travel, they behaved professionally, answered questions and made their own observations. Each wrote in daily journals, and turned in a final report on their experiences and new skills.
“Going to China has not only made me want to travel more and explore the globe, but has opened my mind to a greater worldview,” said student Ariana Paynter.
“You can never truly understand a population and their behavior unless you study their culture and history,” she added. “This experience has enhanced my soft skills by providing challenges such as language and societal barriers that I learned to navigate and problem solve.”
As the first person in her family to ever leave North America, “I feel that I traveled far enough to meet myself and learn so much outside the box,” said student Yeseily Pruneda. “Everything from being open-minded in a different culture, to trying new things and learning so much about China.”
“More students should gain this kind of experience,” says Chi.