Events focused on the relationship between the United States and China this week highlight the increasingly strong ties USC has forged with China.
Clayton Dube, associate director of the USC U.S.-China Institute said he encourages students to be aware of the United States-China relationship because it will likely affect their personal and professional futures.
“There are a lot of opportunities for students that choose to focus on China because there are more job prospects,” Dube said. “Student’s can’t escape being affected by the U.S.-China relationship. It is only going to become increasingly close, complex and important.”
On Wednesday, the USC U.S.-China Institute hosted Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China, an event that showcased Ezra Vogel, author and scholar of East Asia, as part of USC’s increased emphasis on China.
Vogel summarized his 10-year study and book on Xiaoping’s leadership. Xiaoping held various political positions, primarily in the Communist Party of China, between 1929 and 1989. Xiaoping modernized the country by focusing his efforts on the improvement of education, science and technology, Vogel said.
Though Xiaoping died in 1997, “he had more impact on the 21st century than any other leader,” Vogel said.
Phillip Wilcox, a graduate student studying politics and international relations, said he appreciates all of the connections USC has with China and that he intends to take advantage of them.
“There are so many resources at USC, especially the U.S.-China Institute that has events where they bring great people to speak,” Wilcox said. “It’s important to have a nuanced knowledge of China’s culture and history so we can understand their global outlook.”
Dube said China is growing as an economic power and is becoming an integral part of American life. Through policies, such as free trade, citizens of both countries are being positively and negatively affected.
“On one hand, [free trade] made it easier for consumers because we all benefit from low priced goods,” Dube said. “On the other hand the amount of U.S. manufacturers have decreased and energy is created less efficiently leading to more pollution.”
The existing cultural exchange between the two countries can be seen on campus. Several schools within the university give students the opportunity to study in China and there are 2,515 students from China attending USC, according to Dube.
In the 1970’s, interaction between the United States and China was preoccupied with geopolitical issues rather than economics and culture, Dube said.
“Today’s relationship is multidimensional and much deeper than it was in the past,” Dube said. “When it was first formed, very few people were involved but now everyone is somehow touched by the connection.”
Sarah Francis, a senior majoring in health promotion and disease prevention, said China offers vast opportunities for USC students.
“Any major can be applicable by going to China,” Francis said. “There is only so much you can learn in the classroom, but there is an invaluable experience in going there and learning firsthand.”
Catherine Uong, a sophomore majoring in business administration and East Asian language and cultures, spent spring break 2011 in Shanghai as part of the Global Leadership Program, an organization in the USC Marshall School of Business that allows students to visit foreign countries.
“China is becoming a superpower, so people are looking into that direction more and more and want to study or intern there,” Uong said. “It pushes students to have a more of an open mind and become global citizens rather than just American citizens.”