By Stephanie Smith
CCI Professional-in-Residence, Global Initiatives
Quite a few people have asked me what excites me the most about spending a portion of the summer in Chengdu, China. I hate to say it, but it isn’t the food, the pandas, the scenery, the shopping (although Jinli Street is beckoning me already) or even Chinese karaoke. It’s the chance to meet and work with a whole new group of students at Sichuan University. I feel so privileged to be able to teach two courses there this summer.
As an American, it’s possible to assume that persuasion, marketing, public relations and advertising are uniquely Western enterprises. Yet we know that storytelling and visual imagery are ancient and venerable communication forms in China, and I am eager to learn more about historic and contemporary marketing practices in China. I expect to learn a great deal from time spent in a place as ethnically, racially, culturally and spiritually diverse as Chengdu. In the process, I’ll be fortunate to meet international faculty who also will be at Sichuan University this summer.
I’m also looking forward to seeing Chengdu through the eyes of 20 Kent State students, each of them selected as Sichuan Summer Immersion scholars by the College of Communication and Information (CCI). We’re about to set off on a great adventure together. Like any explorers, we plan to acclimate to a new culture as quickly and gracefully as we can, make some amazing new friends and pack as much as we can into every day (and into our suitcases). Even as we discover a new land, our greatest discoveries will likely be about ourselves, as we change and grow as global citizens. I hope to be every bit as intrepid as these students!
Finally, it’s my goal to absorb all that I can so that I can bring my experiences and encounters back to the place I love most in the world: Kent State University.