St. Joseph grad relishes eye-opening experience overseas


Staff report

Scott Rock, Saint Joseph High School Class of 2011, and soon-to-be graduate of Benedictine University, knew more than Good Morning (Zǎoshanghǎo! 早上好!) when he returned to his home in Westchester this past December. Scott, who will earn a degree in International Business in less than a year, relished the experience, which began on September 1when he landed in Beijing.

“I was pretty sure I was going to major in International Business in college and when the opportunity to see China presented itself I jumped at the chance,” he said.

Scott, who first earned an associate’s degree at Triton College and then moved on to Benedictine University, was a little skeptical at first about the journey.

“The program at Benedictine requires some study abroad and I wasn’t sure about going alone and not knowing the language,” he said. “My dad has traveled extensively for business, however, and he encouraged me to not pass up the opportunity. He was right.”

The purpose of the overseas study for students with a major in International Business is to immerse themselves in the language and the culture of the country. Scott took a class in Mandarin that was aimed to provide him with what he needed to travel the area.

“Although it would have been better to have studied the language before I went to China, I had a good teacher and I think I survived pretty well,” he said.

Scott was to use his off-days to travel the area and take in the history and customs of the country.

“It was fascinating – buying food and other items from vendors in the street who are almost everywhere. I couldn’t find a pair of size 12 shoes, however, so my dad had to send me a pair. I think he spent more on postage than on the shoes,” he said.

Scott had many positive comments about his experience, noting that there was casualness about the people moving to and from work and he generally felt being treating friendly and hospitably as a visitor to the country. On the down side, Scott noted that people seem to work seven days a week and a 10:30 pm curfew was strongly enforced.

“Student buildings were locked at night to the point that you could only leave if you woke up an attendant to open a door,” he said.

The prevailing attitude “Early to bed, early to rise” made an impact on Scott early on, as he said “I remember being woken up at 6 am by a marching band outside my bedroom window. I knew I had to change my habits or I was bound to lose a lot of sleep.”

Scott enjoyed many sites while in China, including the Great Wall of China, Beijing’s Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and Olympic Park.

“The architecture, the antiquity of some of the constructions, the colors; it was all pretty amazing,” he said.

There were few complaints Scott could recall.

“The Wi-Fi was horrible!! When I did get it, the signal was weak. In the United States, it’s a given; there, it was almost a luxury,” he said.

In addition, Scott encountered much pollution in Dalian, the first time mistaking it for fog.

In spite of those hardships, Scott has no regrets about his journey.

“I met some great people, mostly my age; some from China and some from other countries other than the United States. I am in touch regularly with about ten of those people,” he said.

Scott looks forward to residing in other countries throughout his life, but only as it relates to work.

“I love learning about other people and I would like to work in other countries on occasion but I will always live in the U.S.. It’s my home,” he concluded.