Beijing China is more than 6,300 miles from Grant Nordby’s hometown of Stanton, Neb.
But the miles don’t matter to Nordby. He understands the growing importance of a strong United States and China relationship.
The senior global studies and English major has read about it in text books, heard about it from his professors in the classroom, and lived it while studying abroad in China for nearly a year.
Nordby concluded his study abroad experience this summer at the U.S.-China Student Summit, which brings together delegations of Chinese and U.S. university students for two days of interaction, discussions with leading officials and activities to help explore the two countries.
Nordby decided to spend a year in China to allow him more time to learn Mandarin and the Chinese culture.
“I was there to learn and not just experience another culture but to truly live in it and understand as much as I could,” he said.
When he learned about the US-China Summit, he quickly applied.
“The summit was an opportunity to speak with the best and brightest Chinese students about some of the big issues facing Sino-American relations and therefore the world,” Nordby said. “From the first moment I heard about it I was more than interested.”
The summit hosted 500 students. While there they heard from business and economic experts who discussed their experiences and the importance of building the relationship within the Chinese government. One speaker included the U.S. Ambassador to China, Max Baucus.
“One of the speakers said our success as students engaging in quality discussions on some of the tougher questions and learning about the priorities of the other country proves that the future relationship between China and the United States can be a strong one.”
Nordby said while the U.S. and China both want a better relationship, there is a gap in American students learning about China. He said that at times, it was hard to understand the Chinese perspective because American students have little knowledge about the Chinese.
Now Nordby will return to campus ready to share his international experiences.
“My future plans aren't all that clear yet, but I am working hard to make sure China is part of that future,” Nordby said. “ In that way my experience in China and at the summit impacted me greatly.
“I realize the need the United States has for people that know Mandarin and understand the Chinese culture,” he added. “I am proud to fill that need.”