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A professor and his former students explore what it means to be an expatriate in modern-day China

In late January, Michael Fratantuono, associate professor of international business & management (IB&M), traveled to China to do research on a Chinese pharmaceuticals-supply company. While there, he caught up with two of his former students—Andrew Keller ’06 and Peter Wing ’06—who live and work in Beijing. Wing and Keller, IB&M majors who studied abroad in China and took Mandarin classes on campus, returned to China three months after graduation. According to Keller, they came back because they “invested time and energy in learning the language and recognized there were opportunities here. Pete and I decided we had a great time here and wanted to come back and relive the experience. We signed up for more language courses, which served a practical function—it gave us a visa and a structure to our lives.”

Partially due to their ability to speak English and Chinese fluently, both found jobs. Keller works for Ogilvy Public Relations in the investor relations area. His clients are Chinese companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange. He tries to get publicity for his clients by arranging interviews with media outlets such as Bloomberg TV or The Wall St. Journal and works to convey a positive image as his clients go public. Keller also is a part-time translator for a Chinese magazine that is similar to The Economist. He says it is “China’s most independent and respected business publication.” Wing works for Global Sources, a business-to-business media company, similar to, a Chinese company that connects businesses selling products with buyers of the products. Wing promotes Chinese factories and trade companies overseas—trying to convince buyers to place orders with the factories. He writes advertising copy and conducts interviews in Chinese on site to gather statistics on a company. His fluent Chinese skills make him an anomaly—as he converses without a middleman interpreting for him. “It’s cool to be able to talk to a factory manager on my own,” he says.

During dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Beijing, Fratantuono talked with Keller and Wing about what it’s like to be young American expatriates living in China. An edited version of their hourlong conversation appears below:

The Setting


Michael Fratantuono introduces his guests.

Language Advantage


Having Chinese skills helps expatriates find work.

Social Experience


Wing and Keller talk about their social life as Americans in China and discuss some cultural differences between the Chinese and expatriate communities.

Changing China


The alumni discuss changes in China between the time Keller and Wing studied abroad in 2004 and 2005 and now.

Why Live in China?


Are Keller and Wing in China for the long haul? Peter Wing talks about his family’s opinion of his decision to live in China.

The Dickinson Advantage


Wing explains why he chose Dickinson and what a Dickinson education provides its graduates.

Dickinson Students in China Today


Do Wing and Keller interact with current Dickinson students in China?

What’s Difficult?


What is the hardest part about living in China?

Comparing Expatriate Experiences


Do other young expatriates have experiences similar to Wing’s and Keller’s, which were informed by Dickinson?

The Benefit of Dickinson’s Program


What is the advantage of being in Dickinson’s Beijing program?

Coping with Pollution


“Blue sky days”—the problem of pollution in China.

Air Quality or Lack Thereof


Is there hope for improving the air quality in China permanently, or will it just improve for the Olympics and then revert?

After the Olympics


The Olympics will provide a benchmark for expatriates. Will they stay in China or return to the United States after August?

Human Rights and Censorship


The former students and their professor discuss human rights and Internet censorship in China. Are there different standards for the foreign, versus the domestic, press? Have human rights improved? Do most Chinese care about the blockage to Internet access?

The Dickinson Difference


Wing and Keller compare Dickinson’s Beijing program to other colleges’ programs in China. The Dickinson difference: students are exposed to the real China. The excellent site director makes it a rich and personal experience.

Full Edited Interview


Early this year, Andrew Keller ’06 (center) and friend Peter Wing ’06 posed in front of Beijing’s new central business district with Devi Bengfort (left), girlfriend of Keller. All three live and work in Beijing.

Shortly after conducting the interview with Keller and Wing, Professor Michael Fratantuono and Zhouran Li ’08 visited with employees of Peace Medical Corp., a pharmaceuticals-supply company in Chongqing. Fratantuono and Li are preparing a case study of the business.


What a great event the Alumni Club in London, UK, arranged on 10 January at the Oxford-Cambridge Club on the Pall Mall in London.

We were 40-50 pers there including John Edwards, Class of 1966, as well as Pres. Durden, Rick Delgiorno from the Alumni Office, French Prof. Catherine A. Beaudry, and War College staff.

The outstanding program for the evening – “US-UK Relations at the Start of the 21st Century” was arranged by Professor Jeff McCausland, Director of the Leadership Initiative at Dickinson. (Well worth taking a look at that program’s web pages here on ) Phillip Stephens, London Financial Times & Dr. John Hulsman, Heritage Foundation gave us all new insights as well as plenty of opportunity to question and explore their conclusions.

Hope to see all att the Glee Club/Octal concert on Saturday evening June 10 at Homecoming.

Best regards,
Gail Watt, Class of 1966
“Your contact in Sweden”
Gail Watt

PS For those interested , below is the program for the day conference that was held in the lovely Rusi location in Whitehall And I’m sure if the students on campus take contact with Professor Jeff McCausland, Director of the Leadership Initiative at Dickinson he can tell you how to get the book of papers US-UK Relations that resulted from the entire year-long project.

US-UK Special Relationship – Past, Present and Future

Date: 10 Jan 2006
Venue: RUSI, Whitehall, London SW1A 2ET

This seminar will explore the intricate historic ties between the United States and Great Britain and where those ties are leading both countries and the world. Panel discussions will feature prominent thinkers and leaders, Senior American and British Defence officials, and leading academics from both sides of the Atlantic.

This effort is intended to stimulate thoughtful dialogue on the evolving, multifaceted nature of the U.S.-U.K’s unique relationship, provide predictions about its direction and make policy recommendations for leaders. It is designed to help both governments prepare for potential problems and cultivate positive trends. The seminar will feature experts focusing on four policy areas that are critical to this dynamic relationship. They include: nuclear issues, the upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review in the United States, Iraq, and Non-proliferation.

The “special relationship” that served both nations so well throughout World War II and the Cold War remains critical but must continue to evolve in this new millennium. In many ways, the war on terror has caused both countries to rethink national security, and an important ingredient is how the United States and United Kingdom cooperate as allies. All attendees will receive a copy of the new book, US-UK Relations at the Start of the 21st Century.


The Leadership in Conflict Initiative, Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA, USA
Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College


1000 Registration and coffee

1030 to 1045 Welcoming remarks by Dr. William Durden, President of Dickinson College & Rear Admiral Richard Cobbold, Director, RUSI

1045 to 1230 Panel 1: US-UK Defense Issues (primary focus QDR and Nuclear issues)

Chair: Professor Doug Lovelace, Director Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College

Dr. Leo Michel, INSS, National Defense University, Washington, DC

Nick Childs, BBC, London

Charles Dick, Conflict Studies Research Centre, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

1230 – 1330 Lunch

1330 to 1500 Panel 2: US-UK Foreign Policy Issues (primary focus Iraq and Non-proliferation issues)

Chair: Christopher Donnelly, Director, ARAG, Defence Academy of the United Kingdom

Dr. Jeff McCausland, Director of Leadership Initiative, Dickinson College

British Representative TBC

Dr. John Hulsman, Senior Fellow, Heritage Foundation, Washington, DC.

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