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April 30, 2008

Feelings about the trip, book summary

I am feeling extremely excited about the trip, and at the same time am a little nervous because i often experience drastic cases of home-sickness. I keep telling myself i'll be too busy to get homesick, but i often do even on just one week trips. It overall should be an amazing experience well worth a little homesickness.
The book i read parts of was China & Globalization, which was interesting from what i saw. I was extremely impressed with the architectural feats that have been occuring in China in the past 25 years. The author mentioned one city in particular called Pudong that he recalled seeing in the early 90's as being an area of nothing but fields and housing projects. The area today consists of sky-scrapers one of which being one of the tallest in the world. The futuristic design of these areas is very interesting to me, as an architecture minor it compells me to learn as much about these designs being instated into their society. I am interested in the overall success and growth that the book speaks of, that most people know just from learning in school, or even on the news, of China and their economy. It is amazing how rapid they are able to adjust/redesign to have reasonable implimentation of rules/regulation to keep an ever-changing country in a relatively stable state economically speaking. This is going to be very interesting to experience first hand, once in China on business trips to the different local and international organizations.

Why I want to go to China and a brief summary of book.

I want to go to China to experience another country and culture. I don't think I could have picked a better location to truly experience a very different culture than our own. I will admit, I am scared, excited, and nervous all at the same time. I'm scared because I don't know what to expect, excited because this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and it makes me nervous and excited because I have never traveled outside of the country. Overall, I am very thrilled to have and share this opportunity with all of you!

The book I chose was titled, Illustrated History: China, written by Patricia Buckley Ebrey. I wish I would have had more time to get familiar with this book to give a better synopsis and opinion on this reading. However, this book begins by expressing how a westerner might feel when they visit China for the first time. It mentions that westerners are likely to find many things that intrigues, surprises, confuses, inspires, or dismays them about China. The book then goes on to discuss more aspects westerners might wonder and follows with the history of China.

Why China?

China has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Its working population exceeds the total population of the US. China will be a dominant manufacturer in the world economy for some time to come. This, coupled with a younger demographic and educated workforce, leads US companies to grow their profits by serving the needs of this new group of consumers. China is, or is rapidly becoming, a world power. I heard someone say on NPR recently that 55% of the imports into our country are by US companies as part of their global supply chain. This trend is increasing. Globalization is here to stay. Thus a first-hand knowledge of the economy, business practices, and culture of China can only be considered as useful in the future. I look forward to learning a lot.

CHINESE BUSINESS ETIQUETTE--A GUIDE TO PROTOCOL, MANNERS, AND CULTURE IN THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA, by Scott D. Seligman (Warner Books, 1999), though perhaps a bit dated, offers useful information regarding protocol, communications, meetings/greetings, cultural differences, politeness, the business meeting, relationships with foreigners, the typical Chinese banquet, gift-giving, Guanxi (reciprocal interpersonal obligations), mianzi (face), getting things done, and hosting the Chinese. The book is insightful and practical, though probably a bit outdated in larger cities such as Shanghai, for example, given China's exponential growth and change. It is considered a "classic must read" for anyone doing business in China, however.

April 22, 2008

Traveling in China