SALISBURY, MD---The Eastern Shore is a step closer to becoming an international destination. Administrators at the Perdue School of Business at Salisbury University and the School of International Business at Dongbei University of Finance and Economics in Dalian, China, are working out details to allow an exchange program that works both ways.
Right now, students from SU can get credit for a three-week program at the Dalian School. But Chinese students would enjoy an American educational experience, too, said Wang Dingshi, dean of the School of International Business at Dongbei University of Finance and Economics.
“Business students are the businessmen of the future,” he said. “China is the largest developing country,” he said. “The United States has a long history as a market economy, but China has just changed from a planned economy to a market economy. Our students can learn a lot from the experience.”
Visas are a stumbling block; the process of getting into the United States can be arduous for Chinese students. But once the administrative hurdles are passed, it will be good for both sides, Wang said.
“The United States produces a lot of products, and if China grows quickly, it can produce more products, too,” he said. “The competition is part of globalization. For American universities to start opening their doors to Chinese students is a kind of strategy—you want to learn all you can about your competition.”
Wang spoke in some business classes during his visit to Salisbury University, where he said the differences in educational styles were apparent.
“In China, education is lecturer-centered. Teachers give knowledge, and students don’t say anything,” he said. “American lectures are well-prepared, and the professors ask the students questions, the students ask professors questions, there is teamwork. Everyone contributes.”
Wang says he thinks the American style of education leads to more creativity. “It’s a creative society, and new knowledge is coming from America.” Wang says the Dongbei school is introducing some of the American model of education to ts students—he says it’s adopting a philosophy that “the student is the center.”
As China’s economy grows, Wang said he hopes that China will see some of the same benefits that people in the United States have now.
“Americans are very lucky,” Wang said. “You have low prices, high income, and you are quite free to do anything as long as you obey the law; you can say anything.”
In Wang’s classroom visits, students asked him his views on China and the United States, and the trade deficit was a hot topic.
“A lot of people in the United States think the trade deficit is due to the undervalue of the Chinese yuan,” Wang said. “But with the U.S. dollar, you can buy a lot of good very cheaply. If the yuan goes up, the price of godds goes up. There are losses and benefits on both sides.”
Wang says he expects the yuan to keep going up steadily. He says the trade deficit is also in part due to the conservative attitude of the U.S. government and companies to trade with China.
“The U.S. auto industry was the last to import cars to China. Germany was the first, and they have produced successful China-Germany joint verntures,” Wang said. “There are some U.S. companies that are making money in China—Coca Cola, McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken—but you don’t see many high-tech products and electronics from the United States.”
But Wang says he thinks increasing globalization will change the situation, especially since China is still in the midst of change.
“The total GDP for China is big, but personal income is very low,” Wang said. “In China, there were many several-decade civil wars, and the great Cultural Revolution. In 1949, China adopted a planned economy, which is low-efficiency, with no competition. In the market system, there is strong competition, high output—it’s quite different.
Wang said he thinks that 100 years ago, the Chinese economy was probably on par with most other countries, but it stagnated under the planned-economy system.
“Even with our big economy, we need time to catch up,” he said. “In 100 years or maybe 50 years, we will be where we should be.”
Wang said he hopes the yaun catches up with the dollar soon because he’ll be able to make more return visits to the United States. And hopefully, some students from the dean’s School of International Business will be joining him. "