Carl H. Lindner College of BusinessCarl H. Lindner College of BusinessUniversity of Cincinnati

Carl H. Lindner College of Business

Discovery in Dalian

An interest in Chinese culture led information systems and finance major Lane Hart all the way to Dalian, China.
Lane Hart in China

Lane Hart, BBA '13, started on the road less traveled as soon as he started college. A native of Lewisburg, Ohio, with a computer consulting business outside of school, Hart finally got to explore his interest in Chinese culture when he came to UC. After taking four years of Spanish in high school, he could have placed into an advanced college class, but a conversation on the way back from Bearcat Bound Orientation convinced him to begin taking Chinese language his freshman year.

Hart has a double major in information systems and finance with an asian studies minor. He spent a month in China in the summer of 2010 at Dalian Jiaotong University taking intensive courses in Mandarin Chinese language and a variety of traditional Chinese arts from kung fu to cooking dumplings. And "what an adventure it has been," he says, learning about "a culture so vastly different from ours in the West."

Along with a group of three other UC undergraduates studying in Dalian, Hart went on weekend trips to six other Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai. Which places made the biggest impression? The Great Wall's thousands of years of history and Beijing, whose Forbidden City, theaters, and night markets were "incredibly clean and lively." But what really impressed Hart was the hospitality of all Chinese people and their eagerness to connect with Westerners. He was surprised to get an invitation to stay with a Shanghai family from a girl he had just met minutes before in an airport. During the weeks that followed, he was delighted by many more encounters with welcoming Chinese residents.

Hart is a Marvin P. Kolodzik Business Scholar who was elected in his junior year as UC Student Body President. His interest in Chinese culture led him to organize Serve Beyond Cincinnati trips.

He hopes to someday do business in Asia and knows that understanding the culture there is important. "The trip afforded valuable insights about the Chinese way of life. Business dealings there seem to be done based on relationships, not just numbers." What advice would he give to students thinking about going abroad? "Travel itself is crucial," he insists. Spending time in another culture allows people to "step out of their comfort zones and open their minds."

Lane Hart, who was elected president of UC's Student Government on April 19, 2012, makes his acceptance speech.