Reflection

When I received the information regarding study abroad program, I was really thrilled and looked forward to participating.  Primary reason for me, obviously, is this will be beneficial for my work besides 3 credits for MBA study. 

China, the place I was born and grew up, and always felt attached to, did not disappoint me at all.  The trip has brought me so many pleasure surprises and left me the best travel memory ever.  Not to mention, I have met such a dynamic and energetic group.  I did enjoy talk with them, hang out with them and learn things from the perspective of young Americans.  Most importantly, Dr. Li, our leading professor and organizer, put in the great painstaking effort to make it perfect for everyone. The whole study trip is informative and rewarding!  

For myself, on the other hand, I feel ashamed that still so many things about China I wasn't aware of or did not even know about them.  One reason for my ignorance is that China is really big, vast in territory and abundant in resouces. The other is that in daily life I did not appreciate my culture enough put in time to study it. 

My working goal is to become the conduit building up the bridge between U.S. and China, to facilitate people's interaction and deal with international trade.  China is my root, as much as I work hard and devote myself to U.S, I will love this great land as always!

 

 

Chinese Culture: Respect for age and Hierarchy

In Chinese society, respect for authority tends to result in centralized decision-making and acceptance of hierachy; and respect for hierarchy tends to hinder the development of individual responsibility and initiative, which are central ingredients in Western managment practices. 

Meanwhile, the reluctance to assume responsibility has been reinforced by the belief that it is risky for people to stand out... This is maybe the only aspect I have some reservation about Chinese cutlure.  This way to raise children up will put on too many baggages on their shoulders and too many constraints to develop their personalities.  In spite of respect the seniors and hierarchy, people still need to be responsible for their roles in their family and society. 

Chinese Culture: Traditional Authority Orientation

In Asian cutlure, particular in Chinese cutlure, when people are in dispute, people tend to ask the most senior person to decide who is right,  To obey authority and respect elders are seen as virtues in Asia, such as in Japan, Korea and Singapore besides China. 

In Chinese society, it is normal for four generations live under the same roof of the house.  The juniors respect the seniors, the seniors take care of the juniors.  When kids are little, grandparents always feel obligated to babysit and invest all of their love to the next generations.  In U.S, people advocate independence. When they are over 18 years old, they will try to look for a job or move out of the house.  Though they care or love their families, they prefer to live an individual life and have some privacy. 

Chinese Culture: Guanxi

In Chinese culture, guanxi refers to person relationships, means close contacts.  It is the most important aspect of Chinese business culture.

Guanxi may also be of importance within organization in the sense that good personal relationships can promote a more open and direct communciation among colleagues; Guanxi networking can offer a number of potential benefits; for example, more sources of information, more opportnities, and so on.  The professor told us, in Chinese culture, who you know is more important than what you know.  I think this is somewhat similar as that in U.S.  The network of people is always important, especially for the business major students to explore careers. 

This study trip in China, we got the chance to visit Pudong Devlopment Bank, Tianjin branch, one of the most famous local banks in China.  We were treated very well by the management.  They patiently answer all kinds of questions we brought up and prepared us very nice umbrella as souvenirs. As a matter of fact, it is because the general manager of the bank is Dr. Li's close friend.  Owning to the close guanxi,  we learned the first-hand knowledge and had a great visiting time.

Chinese Culture: Group Orientation

Chinese indiviudals tend to identify themselves as part of a specific group, team, or unit, and an important distinction is made between "insiders"and "outsiders".  In class, the professor sites an example of the follows: horizontal coorperation tends to be lacking in Chinese organizations because the other group is outside the family/group network.

I understand that eveybody needs the sense of belongings.  This is much better explained how come Chinese or other oversea students in U.S. tend to gather together and form their own social group rather than mingle with local students.  One reason is that the communication among insiders is much more personal and open; the other one is because we feel more secure hanging out with the people who share the same cutlure.  

 

Chinese Culture: Face and Harmony

I have learned a great deal from this study trip in China.  In numerous lectures from Nankai professsors, what impressed me most is Chinese culture.  One of the features they have been kept referring to is face and harmony. 

In Chinese culture, great emphasis is placed on reaching a consensus within the work group, and on not causing somebody to "lose face".  For example, in Asian culture, particular Chinese culture, a manager who criticizes a subordinate or colleagues, especially if this is done in the presence of others, can cause this person to lose face.  In other words, the subordinate will feel embassed or even insulted by the boss. Therefore, in Asian corporate envrionment, when people have concern about each other, they usually exchange ideas privately and try to use a subtle way avoiding to hurt people's feelings.

Meanwhile, the communication in Chinese society is indirect and non-confrontational, as individuals try to minimize the loss of face and preserve harmonious relationships.  By constrast, western style tend to be straightfoward and put everything on the table.  When we find out problems, the whole working group work together and try to resolve the issue. It is hard to say which way is better when it comes to problem solving.  But there are 1.5 billion people living in the other side of the world follow the culture inherited from ancesters thousand years ago, it absolutely deserve people's respect and appreciation!

 

 

Shanghai 3

 

At night, after the whole day activities are over, a group of classmates walked along the Bund and along Nanjing Donglu, China's busiest shopping street. It was fun to spend time strolling around, shopping and relaxing. Things were much cheaper than in other big cities in Aisa, such as Hongkong, Taipei and Tokyo.  Sometimes we ate western food for 60 yuan per meal; sometimes local food only cost us less than 10 yuan.  As a matter of fact, Shanghai is one of the most prosperous cities in the world. Anything you can imagine is available for purchase.  The main shopping streets, Nanjing Road and Huaihai Road offer so many international brand-names; If fashion is not your interest, try one of Shanghai's numerous flea markets.

 

Shanghai 2

This time I arrived in Shanghai, I was pretty underwhelmed. Other than the simplified characters all over the place, it seemed pretty much like a big version of Taibei or Tokyo since almost everything you can find its english version.

While cheaper restaurants, i.e. road stands, were much cheaper that those in Taibei or Tokyo, upscale places cost a bit more. In general, drinks in Shanghai cost from quarter to a third of what they do in Tokyo.

There were quite a few nice things in Shanghai, besides the prices. One big one was the sidewalks.  Usually, in Taibei, sidewalks are narrow, cluttered with illegally parked scooters, and built at a different height in front of each building.  In Shanghai, they were level, wide, and uncluttered. "Walking was a joy."

The selection of dining, both Chinese and western, in Shanghai was also far better than anything I've seen in other places in Asia. They had authentic foods from every province, great western restaurants, and some a decent Mexican restaurants.

Shanghai1

Last time I visited Shanghai was back in 2003.  I stayed at my local friends' apartment and had a really fun two weeks' vacation.  Nowadays, many of them have already owned their beautiful houses and taken charge of chief at one of fronts at work.  Not only the local people, has the city itself changed dramatically.  Apartment blocks and offices of 20-40 stories appear to have sprung up on every available plot of land, with hardly anything in between, apart from the elevated highways, cutting lines like knives through butter.  Many people wonder how so many people can live in relative peace in such a confined area? The answer is everyone does seem to get along with their lives with a great deal of dignity and respect for their fellows.  Yeap, it is Shanghai, one of the world's most populous place!

 

Almost Famous

The first few days in China were definitely an eye opener for me. During our first sight-seeing trip we were at Tiananmen Square and everywhere we went people were taking pictures of us. It was so weird to all of us! We felt like celebrities and it was pretty cool. People left and right were grabbing our arms and pulling us toward them to pose for a picture. Even when we would pose for group pictures, people would take a picture of us! We were American and looked very different from all of them so they just loved us. They especially loved the blondes, myself, Curtis, Sarah, and Eric. They were so use to seeing only dark brown or black hair that they starred at the blonde hair. When Sarah and I would walk around, just us two, people would stare at us! Two blonde hair, blue eyed girls walking around was a treat for them. It was fun for the first few days but by the end of the trip I was so sick of people asking for pictures and people starring at me. Starring in the United States is considered very rude so I just wasn't use to it. At the World Expo is where I lost it. Everywhere Sarah and I walked; people would grab us and ask for a picture. I would just continue walking and say, "No." I was very annoyed because the excitement of being famous was getting old. I was ready to go home and be normal again, where I would fit in with everyone else and not stick out like a sore thumb. Truly being famous must get very annoying! I couldn't even imagine having to deal with the paparazzi and photographers everywhere you went!

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