Students' Dialogue Points Out Cultural Differences

College students from Texas State University-San Marcos and Lingnan University in Hong Kong discussed culture differences and environmental issues during a recent video conference.

College students from Texas State University-San Marcos spoke with students in an English class at Lingnan University in Hong Kong during a recent, one-hour video conference where the conversation dealt mainly with cultural differences between the two countries and attitudes about environmental issues.

Brian Laws, a Texas State senior and Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) member, spoke with the Chinese students during the videoconference. The students from Hong Kong were encouraged to ask SIFE members questions related to their everyday lives at school and how American and Chinese culture differ.

"The main points -- we had only an hour to talk with them, whhich was sort of disappointing -- were environmental things: How our cultures deal with recycling and our views on global warming and sustainability," Laws said. "We seem to think that it's more of a world issue, and they seem to think it's more of a U.S. issue."

Twice each semester, SIFE officers schedule videoconference interviews with universities in locations around the world. "The videoconferences were great," said SIFE member Ross Williams. "They gave us a chance to try out the technology and build relationships with students in countries we may never have been to." Though not part of a traditional class structure, this activity gives students experience in professional business communication.

SIFE is the world's largest university-based free enterprise organization. It is a global, non-profit organization bent on changing the world through highly dedicated student teams on more than 1,600 university campuses in 40 countries. SIFE gives them the opportunity to develop leadership, teamwork, and communication skills through learning, practicing, and teaching the principles of free enterprise, with the goal of ultimately improving living standards for millions of people. Texas State SIFE is one of the leading collegiate teams within the United States.

To learn more about SIFE, visit the SIFE website,, or contact Sam Walton Fellow Vicki West at or 512-245-3224; SIFE President, Meghan Bergman at mb1444@txstate.eduor 254-424-7727; or Laws at or 817-454-4785.

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