May 31, 2009

Back in MN

These last two weeks flew by, I cannot believe just two days ago I was at the Great Wall of China and now I am back in the suburbs of the Twin Cities. Choosing to go to China the summer after my freshman year was the best decision I have ever made. I learned so much about not only the Chinese culture, but my own as well. I gained insight into the ropes of an economy that is growing, even during a world wide recession. The Chinese business culture is taking off, gaining a new edge and making its impact on the world. I am curious to see where things will be even five years from now. It was very inspiring getting to visit different companies in China, hearing what they have to say about life and business in this foreign country, and understanding the immense opportunities it has to offer. If I ever had the chance to intern in China, or work for a period of time, I would take it in a heartbeat. I am so lucky to have had this opportunity and to have experienced two weeks of T.I.C. (this is China). Everything from seeing people do Tai Chi at seven in the morning in Shanghai to biking for five hours around the Moganshan mountain. Here's a few clips of the trip: Shanghai is the New York of China, it is very westernized but exemplifies the dynamic the Chinese economy has taken on. Getting on a bike buggy in Suzhou and hoping the man understood what we meant by Western food, only to find ourselves at McDonalds twenty minutes later was the funniest experince I have had. Toilets in China are very different (holes in the ground sort of), and you must remember to bring your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer. The food is not the typical Chinese food we find here in the U.S. Beijing is my favorite city in China! Getting to bargain prices in the Silk Market (paradise for shoppers) was a very cool experience. Remember: never pay more than 50% of their first offer, if that. The Great Wall and all the Olympics set up was amazing to see!!! Peking duck is delicious. When you pronounce Xie Xie, which means thank you, don't forget to pronounce the e (shie shie). I made the mistake of saying shi shi, which means go wash yourself...I found this out after a couple snickers. There is much more to tell, and words do not suffice. I look forward to the day I can return to China and explore further and learn even more about the culture. It's really kind of sad being back, even though I love home, I will miss our group and all the adventures and memories we created. Best two weeks ever.

May 25, 2009

when in China...

Suzhou was one of the coolest cities I have ever seen. Everything was groomed so perfectly, I felt like I was in a virtual world or something. We stayed there one night and ventured around town. On the weekend we went to Moganshan, a bamboo forest in the mountains. Our hotel was situated on the very top of the mountain (the ride up was an adventure of its own). For the next two days, we hiked and did a bike tour around the mountain. I loved the bike tour, but I don't think my body can ever handle 5 hours of biking ever again. It was a really cool experience going from super industrial and modern to life in the mountains. I came to realize Shanghai is very Westernized, and the companies we saw were incredible (industrial China is growing at an incredible rate). We got to see factories in Suzhou which were really interesting. After Moganshan, we took the overnight train to Beijing. The rooms were super small, but it was a blast!! Today, we toured Beijing all day. We saw the Temple of Heaven, Tian'an Men Square, and Forbidden City. I can't believe I got to see this all, it is the coolest experience of my life.

May 20, 2009

T.I.C. (this is China)

I cannot even begin to describe how amazing this city is (Shanghai). I feel like I need two weeks instead of two days to get to really see what its all about and get to visit everything. Think of it as a New York, where life happens at a super fast pace and there always seems to be something going on. So far, this has been one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had, and it made me realize I will be coming back to China some day. The airplane ride here ended up feeling a lot faster than I expected. It was cool seeing the sun the entire way here though. Surprisingly, I adapted to the time difference really quickly (no jet lag!! wooo), yet I was so confused realizing that I somehow lost a day in the entire process. The first day we were here, we toured the city. We went to a Buddha temple where we did a tea ceremony that was amazing, went to some gardens, shopped around a little, went to the fabric market to get some tailored clothes, and had an authentic Shanghai dinner. Im just going to throw this out there...Chinese food in America is not real Chinese food, at all! That night a lot of us went out to experience the Shanghai night life. It was really cool, and the best part is that we have the best group of people here. It's like we all instantly cliqued. I am really looking forward to the rest of the trip. Second day, we went to China Vest and Worrel for site visits. One was located on the Bund, which is a really cool strip along a river (right now its under construction for the Water Expo, but I'm glad I got to see it). Both companies were very interesting to listen to. I've got to say, Worrel is incredibly unique and eccentric. I love the work atmosphere and the energy you see coming out of their offices. At night, we went to an acrobat show that was spectacular. They had the craziest things going on like five or so motorcycles speeding inside a huge hamster ball looking thing. I can't explain it and give it justice but I was impressed. Later a small group of us went to the second tallest tower in the world (unfortunately the view was iterrupted by the fog). P.S. I have now witnessed an entire day, and I mean entire as in from dawn to night, or straight raining. That's a first. I am loving it so far, and honestly never want to leave. I really wish we had another night here, but we are off to Suzhou tomorrow...

May 17, 2009

T minus 1 day!!!

It's finally almost here!! This time tomorrow I will be at the airport checking in and getting ready to embark on a 16 hour flight to China. It seems so surreal, I never thought the summer after my freshman year I'd be traveling to China. The idea of experiencing something completely new and different from what we are used to is super exciting, and I expect that it will be a great learning experience. Not only will I get to meet new people, try new food, test new social norms, and engage in activities I've never encountered before, but I'll also get to learn more about our own culture while taking in some Chinese scenery! I can't wait to see the Great Wall and the temples we always see in the movies and learn about in class. I'm also really looking forward to getting to know all my classmates I'm traveling with and our prof., Steve. It's not every day you get to share this experience with 28 other college students.

Getting to see all the companies we have learned about, getting to talk to entrepreneurs, and having an inside scoop into the business world in China, one of the most prominent in the world, is a unique experience I hope to be able to share with everyone soon enough!

Considering I am the world's worst packer, it has been a challenging task not letting my suitcase overflow... still working on it. I have probably made at least four Target runs in the last three days, and I'm thinking one more might be necessary. I'll add my packing list at the end in case it's any help to future study abroaders!