Thursday November 2, 2017

Flyers Embracing Global Experiences: Dr. Lance (Lijian) Chen

Originally from China, Dr. Lance (Lijian) Chen is an Assistant Professor in the School of Business MIS, OM and Decision Sciences department.  Dr. Chen shares how his personal journey has influenced his joy for exploring the world and emphasizing the importance of these experiences to help shape our perspectives.

What has influenced or shaped your passion for international education and exchange?

I came to this country [the United States] as an international student.  In the process of going through immigration paperwork, conducting research and studying, I met a lot of different people that impacted me in a good way.  For students that want to explore other cultures, civilizations or different ways of life, studying abroad is a great experience.  If I were to start all over, I would do it again.

Can you share an intercultural experience or moment that inspired you?

Well, I will speak more conceptually rather than to a particular experience. In the U.S. there is great cultural diversity--from language, race, background, experiences, country of origin, religion, and many other things. However, when people are motivated, they work together, collaborate, share perspective, and try their best. It is inspiring to see such diversity and places in which we can come together.

In your opinion, what are some benefits to international education and exchange?

There is a great benefit for students. Exchange programs are very unique. We have students coming from many different countries around the world to the U.S. and each student carries different experiences and backgrounds. For these students, there is a big cultural difference that they may experience when coming to the U.S. and it is important that they take the time to understand the culture here. If these students apply their way of thinking from back home to their experiences here, they may encounter some difficulties. After time, students will recognize the cultural similarities and differences between their home country and the U.S. In that process they can then apply what practices work best for their country. Similarly, U.S. students are impacted by the exchange because of the new people they meet. It is of reciprocal benefit. Through this process, students can learn different ways of thinking and help shape their communities with new ways of thinking. Technology, sciences and knowledge are always being transferred.

As a faculty member, how do you promote international education and exchange or expanded intercultural experiences whether through campus, community, or around the world?  

With students, primarily through advising and mentorship. Each year the School of Business provides opportunities for our students to study abroad. I often receive questions about China and I share my opinion, try to stay engaged in that process, and encourage students to explore that particular region of the world. Similarly, I try to support our Chinese students at UD. I share with them that it is important to practice language, to get-out of their inner circle, and to explore while here. This is what I have learned from my own experience.  

Where is a place you have always wanted to explore, and why?

I would like to explore Antarctica and see the Arctic Ocean. I hope to take my son there one day, because it is one of the more difficult regions of the world to travel to. I treat my son as a student. I hope he doesn’t live in his inner-circle but rather takes opportunities to explore the world.

What is one aspect or memory of home that you still embrace today?

Parents, friends and good food. These things are valued so much.  

Where are some places you have traveled that have expanded your perspective of yourself and the world?

The biggest life changing experience for me was during my time at the Department of Energy National Lab in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I spent half a year there, with top notch rocket scientists. Here, I saw the U.S. spirit, especially the intellectual spirit.  

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