May 2012 Archives

Cross cultural companies

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Today we got the chance to tour an Ikea store in China. This was interesting to me because I could see first hand how a big company like Ikea changes to the demands of a specific location and culture. Many of us have been to an ikea store in the states and know what it looks like. The ones back home usually appeal to middle class and up. The stores in america also realize they have much more space in people homes to fill where as the store here in china has to use space saving techniques. The chinese ikea uses any space available to add appeal and practical use. The table seemed to be smaller and many focused on the roundness unlike americas traditional rectangle tables that are very large. The store here attempts to make it look as close as it can to something a chinese person could see themselves living in without giving up that modern look. It actually surprises me that this store does well in this culture because it seems very western. It was interesting to learn that the store has expanded throughout china and have a early start in the country. The company doesnt do much advertising besides ads it delivers to its customers and a few posters here and there. It mainly relies on its good name to spread.

IKEA

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Our field trip this afternoon was to IKEA. I have been to IKEA in Minnesota before so I wasn't quite sure why we would go to one in Tianjin - I assumed the two stores would be the same. I was somewhat wrong. We got a tour through IKEA from two managers. The building was set up the same and there were about 60-70 different display rooms. The furniture in these display rooms is what was completely different than the IKEA in Minnesota. The majority of people in China live in small apartment buildings, very few people own a house. I don't think I have seen a house my entire time here in China. Since people live in small apartment buildings, the display rooms at IKEA were much smaller than the ones I remember in Minnesota. The kitchen display rooms were one small hallway with cupboards on both walls, an oven, and sometimes a microwave and dishwasher. The bathrooms were even smaller and usually had a washer in the bathroom. There were some big display bedrooms, but for the most part they were smaller. The manager giving the tour said Chinese often use walls and shelving to "create space". I noticed that was very true throughout our tour. I envy the Chinese for "creating space" and being able to live in small apartment buildings, but I would never give up my big house and own room back home.

Lishen Battery Company

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Tianjin is home to one of the largest battery manufactures around the globe. Lishen has numerous locations not just throughout China but all the way around the world with locations as close to home as Chicago. Led by President Qin Xingcai the company sticks close to its values and vision. Since its establishment in 1997, only 15 years ago, Lishen has gone global and is rank in the top five for Li-ion batteries. Along with its various locations it has been given access to exclusive deals and partnerships with international giants such as Apple, Samsung, Motorola, Dell, and GM. Today the company has over 6 billion RMB in assets. The tour of the facilities we received include a walk through the battery production line and over to the store house. The tour wrapped up with a presentation in one of the board rooms. The presentation was a general over view of the company and lasted a good half an hour with follow up questions. Given that Lishen is a major supplier of Apple you can look for IPhone5 to be on the market in October! Just a hint but I'm willing to believe it. I am curious to test his response. During the presentation I also experienced my first earth quake! Visiting Lishen was interesting as I had never seen the production process before and I learned a lot about the company, maybe even enough to risk an investment?

Ancient Culture Street

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On one of our free days this weekend I decided that it would be cool to pick out a random place from our tourist guide book and go there. I had read and saw the ancient culture street mentioned a few times and it look like a fun day trip. It is also know to have many shops offering a wide range of items. I decided I that I would venture down there and our group of two grew as we met up with others on the way. Our adventure started with trying to find the right bus and bus stop. Luckily we were able to ask some of the locals for bus information by pointing to the address in our guide book. At first I thought this could be a disaster but either way it would still be a fun trip even if we didn't make it to the ancient culture street. All of us have business cards to our hotel that displays the address and map so if we got lost we would just have to take a taxi back. To my surprise we made it down there after a rather long bus ride. Upon arrival we all were hungry and we decided to get some food. A couple went to KFC and a couple went to Subway. After lunch we were ready to check out this top-ten Tianjin must see tourist site. The architecture was really interesting and deserving of a few pictures. The street was meant to resemble Tianjin's ancient buildings from the Qing Dynasty in 1644-1911. Aside from the beautiful architecture the street offers over a hundred little store and street shops. As we made our way down the street I noticed that for every four shops there seemed to be one novelty sward and knife shop. A few of the shops had stuff worth looking at but many of the shops were tourist items we had all seen before. I enjoyed our jaunt down Ancient Culture Street but it was not as impressive as it is made out to be in tourist books and websites. I was somewhat disappointed. It almost seemed as if it was out of season or maybe we just came too late in the evening. Many of the shops were taken down and the excitement very low for being in the top-ten tourist must see list.

Minnesota native in China May29 2012

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Today was another great day . It was a change of pace. however.Ther were two main things that stuck out to me today . The first was a great learning experience in class. the other was going to the University Miinnesota extension in Tianjin Universtiy meeting Daniel and playing badminton with the Chinese students there.
In class we learned a lot of new and very interesting things. The topic of the discussion was E-Commerce. the professor did a very good showing charts and graph that showed the differences in trends of internet users.
After class we went to the University of Minnesota Extension at Tianjin athletic University I believ it was called. here we met Daniel who is originally from Minnesota. After showing us a video and having a discussion we wnewent and saw the Dragon boat dracers. We then went and watched some dancer and even got to dance with some of them. Afer that we went and did my favorite thing play Badminton with the Chinese students. the kicked our butt pretty good but It was a lifelong memory.
All togethr today was a great day I learned a lot more about the chinese culture and tradition . I also learned that if i needed a connection when I come back to China Daniel said to contact him.

Tai Chi Class

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Today we had a Tai Chi class taught to us students. When I first heard we were doing it outside I was a little skeptical because it was really hot outside with some wind. I was happy when I saw that we were doing Tai Chi in really shaded area with lots of trees. It was actually quite beautiful. We learned there are five major kinds of Tai Chi and today we only learned two. I found it to be quite difficult. I have done yoga many times before but this was completely different. The movements were a lot different and a lot more detailed. I was really surprised at how flexible our instructor was, she made all the moves look really easy. After Tai Chi class I realized how patient chinese people really are. The moves were so intricate I was getting frustrated when I had my hand placed in the wrong position. I would consider myself an impatient person and I think it takes a lot of patience to learn something like Tai Chi. I think it's a very good thing to value patience. It is something that I wish to work on a little bit more. I think Tai Chi is very interesting and I would like to learn more about it.

Bike Riding

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I have really wanted to go bike riding ever since I got to China. I have a bike at home that I use sometimes and I thought it would be interesting to compare the differences between American and Chinese bikes. Almost every Chinese person has a bike and uses it on a daily basis. To rent a bike from our hotel, it would be 400 yuan (about $70). Either the lady didn't understand my question or it is really expensive to rent a bike. Some of us decided to ask the Chinese students if they would take us for a bike ride and borrow their friends' bikes. Jewel, Chong, and Yanku were kind enough to take myself, Zach, Ross, and Ryan for a bike ride today. It was really entertaining to see us all struggle as we first got on our bikes. Some of the bikes were too small for the guys but they got use to it. We biked through the Nankai and Tianjin campuses. We got to the end of the campus and we were all scared to venture onto the main rode where the traffic is a lot busier. There were a few times on the main road that I thought I was going to get hit by a car or another biker, but none of us ever got hit. The buildings were really pretty to see at night and the weather was perfect. After awhile we decided to turn around and head back to the campus. The main differences I noticed in this bike was that the breaks barely worked and the seat was not comfortable at all. It was a really fun experience and I am grateful that the Chinese students have been so kind and sharing with us our entire time here.

Forbidden city 5/16

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Today was nice great day in Beijing. We began our day touring the capital of china. In this area it is a large flat no building areas that had government buildings along with the entrance to the forbidden city. The forbidden city was one of the oldest/longest/biggest area with buildings that I have ever seen. It seemed that the entrances to new places in the city kept going and going. We got to see many ancient treasures in some of the large buildings.

After the forbidden city we took little 2 seater carriage bikes with a Chinese local bicycler. He took us to a small ancient city and we ended up having some awesome home made Chinese traditional meal. The meal was really good I enjoyed it very much so and my favorite dish was the pot stickers! Awesome 1st full day in China!

Long but worth it flight 5/14-5/15

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I arrived at the air port about 3pm to begin the process of boarding. When waiting for our plane all of the students went to the restaurant that was close by to chillax and socialize before our trip. After a short flight to Chicago we took the plane that was the long haul to china about 12 hours. Luckily during the flight we were able to watch movies, sleep, and eat plane food. After the flight we met up with Dr. Li so we could take a ride to our hotel to unpack and unwind.

Going to be sore tomorrow 5/30

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To begin the day of we learned about Chinese management philosophy and methodology. It was a confusing subject but at the end we ended up learning a lot. Management in Chinese has 2 parts. The main body represents the officer or governor. Along with this main character it can translate into the officer or governor use this power to make decisions and they use motivation and communication to carry out the decision. At the end of lecture Dr. Li and professor Anbang Qi explained to us further. There are 3 main boxes that consist of the government, Union, and Management. The union is the democratic side and the management is the republican. The management side focuses on efficiency while the union side focuses on fairness.

Once class was done I got food with Ryan, Ross, Reign, and Dr. Li. After we ate we went back to the hotel for a couple hours then we were off to what I call Chinese yoga. We were doing some crazy moves flexing out our legs and hold complicated stances. The professor lady that taught the class was very flexible and nice when teaching it to us. she was really good and helpful when we were doing things wrong. After Chinese yoga Jason showed us where the gym is so we could work out. Tom, Erik, and I lifted in the gym with other Naikai students. After all of this exercise we knew that we are going to be sore tomorrow!

Kung Fu was awesome 5/29

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To begin the day off we began to learn about E business in China. Professor Runhui Lin explained to us how this type of business works in China. This area interested me because I am a MIS major and I may be dealing with this type of business in the future. Netizens are people who are on the internet and a citizen. The grown rate is continually growing from 34.3% in 2010 to 38.3% in 2011. 78% of the users are on-line to browse the news. China also have mobile telecommunications as we do in the USA. China mobile is the largest mobile corporation in China and in the world. They also have 3g service and video conferencing over the 3g network. A case we focused on was www.alibaba.com and its impact in China. Alibaba is the worlds leading B2B commerce company in the world. There are reasons why Alibaba succeeded in China. One or the main reasons why it succeeded is because the business model is appropriate for the Chinese economy.

After class we toured the sports facility at Tianjin university. It was pretty cool to find out that there is a US-China center for sports culture exchange operated by the University of Minnesota. When we go inside of the facility we went to see the lake which had many dragon boats. When we got there we saw people practicing for dragon boat races. Dr. Li explained to us that the Ancient chinese believed that there were dragons on the bottom of the lake. When a dragon boat raced one of the team members on the boat banged a large drum. By making this sound the ancient Chinese thought this would scare the dragon away. When we finished learning about dragon boat racing we headed over to the dance studio. After watching girls and boys dance we went into another room and everyone was asked to dance with the girls. I found this part very fun because we got to interact with other Chinese students. After dancing we headed upstairs to watch the kung fu martial arts students. These students were very very talented when it came to martial arts.

iPhone is coming out this fall in OCT 5/28

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To start the day off we visited Lision battery factory which is located in the very large city of Tianjin. When we first walked in we saw a LED sign saying "Welcome UMD guests visiting Lishen". I thought this place was very cool. We got to view the assembly line process from beginning to end. This company makes batteries from just about anything. They make batteries for electric drills, hybrid cars, computers, cell phones, and all of Apples mobile devices. This company is growing at a incredible rate and they have plans to expand looking into the future. It was awesome that the executive VP sales and marketing (Kevin Wang) was the person who gave us a tour of the facility. Once we were done looking at how the batteries were made we sat down in a very nice board room for questions and answers. I asked Mr. Wang if he knew when the iPhone is coming out. He laughed and smiled and said shh that is top secret and then he said probably October. After the tour of Lishen as a group we visited a very nice mall. The prices in this mall were honestly the same prices as a mall in America. I did end up buying 100 yuan worth of genuine Chinese tea.

Once we were done with Lishen and Mall shopping we ended up going to class for the remainder of the day. We learned about services in China. Professor Derek Yang talked about famous service companies in China. He talked about McDonalds, KFC, Starbucks, Walmart, Carrefour, Home Depot, Best Buy, and Ikea. One of the cases we focused on was the Carrefour scandal. Carrefour had misleading price tags and fake discounts. People in China would go buy and item at the "sale" price but once the clerk has scanned the item the price was different from the tag. Carrefour was fined 500,000 yuan and was publicized to people as a company that was cheating their customers.

Water and Ferris wheel 5/27

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Sunday was a beautiful day in Tianjin. I woke up got some food down the road and on my way back I met up with Alex and Ryan. Alex and Ryan invited some Chinese students to gout out with us to show us the town. They brought us to the water park which was really cool. The water park is a huge area with pings and man made sculptures with water flowing through them. After the water park we walked to the Zoo which was nearby. In the zoo I never to got to see real live animals just sculptures of animals. After the water park we started to head to the Ferris wheel. Once we got to the Ferris wheel we took many pictures under the night sky. This Ferris wheel is the largest Ferris wheel in Asia. The Ferris wheel was all lit up with red and blue lights. As the night got later the Chinese people began to bring out games like amusement park. I did end up winning a small prize from the dart balloon game.

Ancient China Street 5/26

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Saturday was the first day we had time to ourselves. It was nice to sleep in a little bit after the long week. I did find time to go to ancient Chinese street. Ancient Chinese street had many very old buildings which contained shops that sold many different items from swords to paintings. At the end of the street there was a huge building which looked to also be very old. It was nice to get out and about to see Tianjin on our own.

Time to Change my Major

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Today we went Tianjin University and visited their Sports University. This center was led by Daniel Konold who was originally from Minnesota. Daniel explained to us the history of how the U.S. first came to China was through sports. Around the 70's America competed against China in a table tennis tournament in Japan. One athlete from China and one from America became friends and after the tourney the Chinese athlete invited the American table tennis team to visit China. Daniel also explained how they were working to make sports bigger in China. They want to get more females involved in sports and would like to try creating youth sports centers in China. Afterwards, Daniel showed us around the campus and showed us to couple of different Chinese sports. The first was dragon boat races which is similar to the sport rowing in America. After this we went to the dance center and got to see some traditional and modern Chinese dances. During the last group Doctor Li told us we had to dance with the Chinese dancers. I was super nervous as I cannot dance but I went up anyway. I danced with a very pretty dancer and she showed me how to dance her dance. It was very fun and afterwards we all received diplomas telling us we graduated from dance school. I thought this was very funny and sweet so I told me dancer she was pretty in Chinese. Then a group of the dancers asked one of our Chinese students how to say handsome in English and they all told me I was handsome. It was really really cute.

Next we went to see a kung fu demonstration. We learned that all the students we met were majoring in their sports. The dancers were majoring in sports and the martial artist were majoring in Kung Fu. It was pretty much the coolest major ever as these students were fantastic. I'd taken a Korean form of martial arts for 12 years and these students reminded me of martial artist I'd seen at the Diamond Nationals back in Minnesota. I video taped the whole demonstration as it was amazing. My favorite was the second one in pink who constantly just fell hard on the ground over and over again. My other favorite was the drunken fist.

The last thing we got to do was play badminton against some Chinese students. Nolan and I warmed up against the students and it was pretty funny. We were just running around hitting the ball back and forth, however the Chinese students didn't even have to move. Nolan and I split up and had one Chinese student on each team. Unfortunately, Nolan's and his partner beat us. Next it was Nolan and I versus the Chinese Students and they dominated us. We didn't score a single point. It was really fun to play and see what good badminton players played like. I could really see myself playing badminton on a summer day in Duluth.

Credit Cards

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Prior to this trip to China, I made sure the credit cards I will be using here are secure and are accepted in the country. The two cards I brought to China with me were my Discover and Visa cards. I was told by the Discover card representative that China widely accepts Discover and all I had to do was just look for the China Union Pay sign or sticker. And Visa is internationally accepted everywhere so I was positive that it will never fail on me. I was at a shop about to make a purchase and I whip out my two credit cards since I didn't have enough RMB. The workers stared at my cards for a good three seconds acting like they've never seen a card before. They first told me they don't accept credit cards and was wondering if I had any cash, I politely said no. Then they turn around and whisper to each other, and finally grabbed their swiper to try out my cards. They grabbed my visa and looked at it thinking it won't work, I figured out of my two cards the visa would most likely work since visa is accepted everywhere. After a few minutes, the visa unfortunately did not work. I was in huge shock, so I asked them to try my Discover Card. They said no and kept pointing at the Union Pay sticker, so I said my card can be used anywhere in China with the union pay sticker. They finally gave it a shot and it worked! It's real interesting to see how much some small businesses do not want to use their credit card machines which is real similar to the states due to merchant fees. I now know what to look for when purchasing goods on my credit card. :)

Chinese English Class

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This morning I got the change to attend a Chinese class at Nankai. This class was an intermediate english class taught by an american teacher from Ohio. It was very intimidating with just me and another american student joining a class full of chinese but I think they might have thought the same about us. I sat in the very middle of class to observe just like any other student. The class began with student presentations in english which students had to present themselves properly and also use only english. I was instantly shocked at how well the students were at english. During the presentation the students used more than just simple words and even used correct tones. The teacher then moved onto a story the students were supposed to listen to and comprehend. The thing that surprised me was that the american teacher from ohio spoke a common word wrong to the kids. The word was imagining and two times in the story the teacher pronounced the word as it it read 'image-ing'. I heard some students whisper right after which signaled to me they knew she was wrong. After that students corrected 10 sentences the teacher put up. There Weren't supposed to be any spelling mistakes but there was one. Someone pointed it out and she read it and spelt it out loud and then told the student it was right until the rest of the class aided the student with support. The teacher might have been quite embarrassed making such a mistake in front of two american students and having the chinese students correct it. Finally students were told to role play with there groups. I was asked to join a group and so I did. At first the group seemed a bit intimidated to speak with me, especially the girls. They warmed up quick and I learned they had no problem speaking english. The students tripped over some words or maybe said different phrases than a normal american would have but I know they would have no problem getting around in America. I met a few kids after class and told them how great they were. Its very impressive how much these students know. They work very hard and even when the teacher isn't the best they still do very well because they are determined.

5/29/12 E-Business and sports

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After our usual 8am wake up call, the group and I went to a very interesting lecture about E-Business in China which was taught by Professor Lin Runhui. This was by far my favorite lecture that we have had so far; maybe it's because I am an MIS major but I think the cases covered were very intriguing. The first case that Professor Runhui showed us was about the B2B commerce company Alibaba. I found it very interesting that Alibaba is like a social network for businesses as well as an online retailer for these companies. This is a very cool idea and it really reflects the culture of China based on how they like to build strong relationships with one another, especially in business. Also, it is cool to see that Alibaba is making it easier for companies to business as well as expanding the use of online commerce. The next case was about the B2C and C2C company Taobao which is like the eBay of China. It was very interesting to see that this company beat out eBay international in China because it provides no service fees and it uses different marketing strategies to better fit the Chinese culture. I think it is also interesting how Taobao has its own version of Paypal called Zhifubao because the Chinese are a lot like us when it comes to the security of their transactions. Overall, I think that it is very cool that the Chinese are expanding their use of E-Business as well as expanding their own internal networks. After this lecture we went to the UofM Tianjin Office at the Cultural Center for Sports (which is also a college for sports in Tianjin). This was really cool because we were able to learn about sports form Daniel Konold as well as what kind of sports the Chinese like to play. First we learned about Dragon Boating which has a unique story behind it involving a Chinese Emperor's suicide and people mourning by dumping rice in the lake to feed the "dragons". Next we were lucky to see a couple of traditional dancing shows from the students at the college, we were even taught a dance from some of them. Then we got to see a martial arts performance from the martial arts students at the school and it was unbelievable how good all of them were. Finally, we were able to play badminton with some of the Chinese students which was a lot of fun. Overall, I learned that the Chinese really value sports; though the sports are different than in America, I was very impressed at the amount of skill that these students have and this was by far one of my favorite days here in Tianjin!

U of M & Tianjin Cultural Center for Sports

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China Day 14 (Tianjin)

After today's lecture about E-business in China, we made a visit to the U of M & Tianjin Cultural Center for Sports. We took a bigger bus to get there because many of the Chinese students from Nankai joined us today, which was nice. Once we got there we meet up with Daniel Konald, who was one of the program coordinators. He was from Minnesota. At first we talked about the cultural differences in sports between America and China. Americans tend to play sports much more than the Chinese, and the sports we play are oftentimes much more contact oriented. In China, the three most popular sports are Table Tennis, Badminton and Basketball. In comparison, the three most popular sports in America are Basketball, Football, and Baseball. We then talked about girls in sports and how there is a disparity in the amount of girls that play sports versus the amount of boys that do such. In America, 1 in 3 girls is active in sports. The ratio of boys to girls that play sports are about 5 to 3. After we had a little lecture about sports, we got to go out and see some of the sports that people majored in at this Sports University. The first sport we got to go see is Dragon Boating. The story behind this is that there was a famous Chinese man who gave many suggestions to the emperor but his suggestions got turned down. He then killed himself in a lake so the Chinese went out in their dragon boats and threw rice into the lake to feed the dragon so that the dragon would not feed on the deceased Chinese man. The difference between a dragon boat and your standard row boat is that there is a drum on the dragon boat that is usually located near the back of the boat. The folklore behind this is that pounding the drums would terrify the dragon under the lake so that the Chinese could traverse the waters safely. Consequently, their is dragon boat race in China every summer around May and the fastest rowing team is crowned champions and given a reward. This is very honorable to the Chinese. We got to see some students doing this and they were very good at it. After that, we got to go see some Chinese dancers. We saw multiple different groups that showed us basic maneuvers in Ancient Chinese dance. Eventually, we got to dance with a group of girl Chinese dancers and we got a certificate the congratulated us for making an ass out of ourselves compared to these brilliant dancers. Then we got to go see a martial arts show. This was really impressive and some of the performers were very talented. Finally, we got to go play badminton. We went to a court that had about 10 different nets and we got whooped by the Chinese students. In China, after middle school they highly emphasize studying and do not emphasize sports really at all. The people that weren't so great at studying go into different fields, such as sports. Therefore, all the students there were majors at what they were doing, be it dance, kung-fu, or badminton. There is very limited space in China too so they don't have Parks and Recreation like we do in the United States. This was a very fun day and I was sweating hard by the time we got out. Nothing like a good day of sports!

My Chinese Name and the Lishen Battery Co.

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China Day 13 (Tianjin)

After today's lecture about the famous service brands in China and why, or why not, they have been successful here, the Chinese students helped give me a Chinese name. In China, many of the students and professors have an English name to make it easier for foreigners, so the Chinese decided to write up some names for us to choose from. With the help of the students, my Chinese name is Wei Hang. In China, all of the characters can have many meanings, but the general meaning of this name is Knowledgeable and Bright Future. In China then, my name would be Weiss Wei Hang. The Surname goes in front of the Given name in China. After the lecture we went to the Lishen Battery company. This is one of the biggest battery manufacturer's in the world and has gone from a production capacity of 10 million when it was created (1997, I believe) to over 500 million today. Lishen is a supplier to some of the biggest technology names out there, such as Samsung, Microsoft, Apple, Logitech, and Lenovo. This is a list of only a few of the companies that they supply. They supply a wide variety of battery types, ranging from batteries to computers and power tools all the way to batteries that power windmills! After the tour guide have us a brief introduction to the company (when they were founded, what they make, the history, etc..) we went through a hallway that showed us the production process for making batteries for computers. This is a highly complicated process with many different machines and phases, and the production room is well maintained in terms of temperature and occupancy limits. We went around to another building and saw a video for the Lishen company. During this I noticed that the screen was shaking a bit. I thought this was odd and it was noted shortly later that we had experienced the effects of an earthquake (nothing serious, it only made the screen move a little..). Not only did I get a inside view of one of the biggest battery manufacturer's in the world, I got to experience my first earthquake! All and all today was a great day and, upon reflection, I think Lishen would be a great company to invest in.

Kebab Stand

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Today was a very relaxed and uneventful day for me. I got a chance to catch up on some school work, recover, and hangout in my room. At night, however, I wanted to get out and walk around. I was hungry but did not want to sit down and go through the hassle of waiting at a restaurant and like always, I wanted something at a low cost. The kebab stands, which are scattered throughout the street, fit right into my narrow qualifications. These stands are really unlike anything I have seen in the United States. They have such a variety of food ranging from but not limited too, green peppers, squid, chicken wings, pea pods, liver, and lamb meat. And they are all prepared in the best way possible, on the grill.The best part of the kebab stand is the prices. I got a pepper, pea pods, and chicken wings for 6 yuan. Although they are very low key, these kebab stands can be booming with business, as the one I went to was tonight. The owner will set up many little children sized tables and chairs, resembling a little restaurant. I would say there was about 20 people eating at the stand I went to tonight. I use the number of people eating at a stand as a sign of quality, assuming the locals have eaten at other stands in the area. Tonight I had a quick, easy, and tasty snack at a low price. These stands are particularly convenient when you are walking home from a bar. That being said, I will most likely make many more stops at this stand.

Martial Arts Performance

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Today we went to the UM Tianjin office where we learned about different sports that students are majoring in. We watched dragon boat racing, four different traditional dance shows, martial arts performance, and badminton competition. Each group of performers were very talented and interesting to watch. They all greeted us with applause as we enter their performance room. The martial arts performance was my favorite. One reason this was my favorite is because the amount of skill, endurance, and different techniques used throughout the performance showed how talented these students are. The performance started off with two lions and their "owner". Each lion was made up of two students. The way these students moved throughout their performance made the lions look very real. The performance had a storyline to it which made it even more interesting to watch. After the lion, there were a group of students that came up holding up a dragon. These students moved very fast intertwining with each other throughout the performance. The next group of performers had swords, and then there were kung fu performers, and some students that performed individually. The entire act overall was very amusing and opened my eyes to different sports that are offered here at this university.

Mcdonald's

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Finally decided I would go to the Mcdonald's for a big mac. The big mac was very similar to back home but a little less greasy. The Fries on the other hand were quite different, they were skinnier, shorter, and tasted different, not bad but different. The ketchup was thicker and sweeter. I did want a pop and figured I did not want to waste it so did order one. This move actually cost me 7 extra yuan. The combo was 18 yuan and to order it the way I did cost 25 yuan. Mcdonald's over here is very clean and a lot more upscale. The menu has a lot of the traditional items but is tailored to the Chinese. Mcdonald's as a company has been very successful over here because they know what their customers value. Mcdonald's viewed as a great spot to work this is very different than in the United States were we consider it a mac job ( low quality job). There is a lot of room to move up in the company and do it quickly. It was a very good experience to view a fast food restaurant that originated in the United States.

Badminton in the Afternoon

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This morning the lecture was on Human Resource Management which was very interesting. It talked about many push and pull factors for businesses in China. After the lecture we played sports in the afternoon. This was my second time playing badminton in China and I felt that I was getting a better hang of it. I'm still very bad at serving the birdie. This badminton was a little difference then the first game because the first game we had the whole gym to ourselves but this time we were mixed with a lot of Chinese students. This game seems to be very popular in China. I didn't get to play a lot this day because there was a lot of students today. I did get to play one game and the chinese students were very good!! While we were playing badminton it was the first time it rained in China. I was surprised at how fast the weather changed. It seems like it only took a matter of minutes for the sky to turn completely green. The storm didn't last long but there was a lot of rain and I even saw some lightning! I am so glad that we have had very nice weather in both Tianjin and Beijing I hope the rest of the trip stays like this.

Helen's

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Lately, our group and myself especially, have been going to a bar/restaurant called Helen's. And let me tell you it is awesome. Although I love Chinese food, my stomach cannot always handle it and Helen's has American food. I'm blogging about Helen's today in particular because I went there 3 times today and ate there twice. The food is delicious even in comparison to food in America, and it is very cheap. A cheeseburger and fries runs about 4 dollars. Today I had a cheeseburger, nachos, and a barbecue chicken pizza for a total of approximately $14. Being one who appreciates value, eating at Helen's is a no brainer. It is even hard to get good Chinese food for 25 Kuai in my opinion, which is the exact price of a cheeseburger and fries at Helen's. At Helen's they have legit specials everyday of the week. Today was free cigarettes, which is pretty hilarious. Not only do they have great food and specials at an exceptional price but, going to Helen's is a great time. I have met many people from different countries and as well as some from the United States as well. I have had many interesting conversations with locals and travelers (today I met someone from Colorado), and have even gotten a few email addresses. Helen's has a great atmosphere. They play a great variety of American music, which provides a fun place to have a bite to eat, 1, 2, or 7 drinks, and start off the night. Gong there today was a fantastic time. I will probably find myself there tomorrow.

The People and Traffic of China

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China Day 12 (Tianjin)

Traffic in China is much different than that of America. Either they don't have many traffic laws, or people simply don't care to oblige by such laws. Crossing traffic here kind of resembles the game Frogger. People will move up to lets say the middle of an intersection, wait for a few cars to turn, and then continue onwards if the coast is clear, even if it's still a red light. They say that patience is a virtue for the Chinese, but the traffic seems to tell a different story. I think I've heard a car honk their horn at least every five seconds I walk the streets. There also seems to be a ripple effect with that. If one person honks, the next person will do the same. This can get quite annoying, but it's probably necessary given how many people are in Tianjin. Another thing that I've noticed here in China is that there are at least as many bikes on the road as there are motor vehicles. There are even parking lots for people's bikes at many of the businesses such as the supermarkets and restaurants. The people of China are very hospitable as well. It's pretty comparable to "Minnesota Nice", really. In most parts of the United States, you wouldn't be treated with anywhere near the kindness that the Chinese have extended to us. I've meet people from around the world here as well. They have come from places such as Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Australia, Korea, UK, Norway, Ukraine, and more. I feel like China is becoming the new "melting pot" of the world. The bars, and the clubbing, here are so much more fun and I honestly feel much more comfortable around complete strangers here than I do in the United States. At Helen's, one of the bars our groups has grown fond of, I meet a few Aussie's that were telling me about a program called TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). It's a two month course that dives you into the basic logistics of the english language and prepares you to teach it across the world. I've always wanted to travel the world so I may look more into this program. Needless to say, China has been an amazing experience and I am so glad (and so lucky) that I am here.

5/29/12 E-Business and sports

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After our usual 8am wake up call, the group and I went to a very interesting lecture about E-Business in China which was taught by Professor Lin Runhui. This was by far my favorite lecture that we have had so far; maybe it's because I am an MIS major but I think the cases covered were very intriguing. The first case that Professor Runhui showed us was about the B2B commerce company Alibaba. I found it very interesting that Alibaba is like a social network for businesses as well as an online retailer for these companies. This is a very cool idea and it really reflects the culture of China based on how they like to build strong relationships with one another, especially in business. Also, it is cool to see that Alibaba is making it easier for companies to business as well as expanding the use of online commerce. The next case was about the B2C and C2C company Taobao which is like the eBay of China. It was very interesting to see that this company beat out eBay international in China because it provides no service fees and it uses different marketing strategies to better fit the Chinese culture. I think it is also interesting how Taobao has its own version of Paypal called Zhifubao because the Chinese are a lot like us when it comes to the security of their transactions. Overall, I think that it is very cool that the Chinese are expanding their use of E-Business as well as expanding their own internal networks. After this lecture we went to the UofM Tianjin Office at the Cultural Center for Sports (which is also a college for sports in Tianjin). This was really cool because we were able to learn about sports form Daniel Konold as well as what kind of sports the Chinese like to play. First we learned about Dragon Boating which has a unique story behind it involving a Chinese Emperor's suicide and people mourning by dumping rice in the lake to feed the "dragons". Next we were lucky to see a couple of traditional dancing shows from the students at the college, we were even taught a dance from some of them. Then we got to see a martial arts performance from the martial arts students at the school and it was unbelievable how good all of them were. Finally, we were able to play badminton with some of the Chinese students which was a lot of fun. Overall, I learned that the Chinese really value sports; though the sports are different than in America, I was very impressed at the amount of skill that these students have and this was by far one of my favorite days here in Tianjin!

I want to change my major

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Today we visited the Tianjin Sports University. At this school you can actually major in athletically focused subjects. We witnessed a variety of activities including dragon boat racing, dance, martial arts, and finally badminton. Every student focuses on one of these activities and they are all amazing at them. It was incredible to see the level of talent for the general age of the student body. For our final activity we played badminton with some of the students.

The university has a badminton gym that is awesome. There around 10 official courts in the gym, so there is a ton activity going on at once. At first Matt and I were just practicing with some one-on-one. After a little while two students joined us and we started playing doubles matches. At first it was Matt and I vs. the two students. After some uninspiring play by the Americans, we decided two mix up and have a China/USA combo going on. It was lot more fun and less embarrassing after the integration. After a game one of the students came over and refereed/kept score for the rest of the match. She was really nice and spoke a good amount of English. The activity was a ton of fun and probably the most fun I have had playing badminton.

The Food in China

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China Day 11 (Tianjin)

One thing that I have noticed here in China is how much differently they do food than us Americans do. When the groups has gone to a restaurant and ate together, we have ordered many dishes that the entire groups gets to eat from. These dishes are usually set on a circular glass rotating device so everyone can spin it and grab food from each dish as they please. This is certainly different from the American style, where each person gets their own dish and does not share that dish between the group. I, personally, think that the Chinese methodology is better because it allows everyone to diversify their selection of food s and also slows down the eating process, which makes people fuller faster. My first impressions about the Chinese were that their dishes would be relatively small, given the smaller stature of the average Chinese person compared to the average American and the Chinese lack of an overweight problem. But, boy, was I wrong! When the Chinese give you food, they mean business. Each dish is massive! I've been wondering how they even finish that much food. I think the only Chinese dish I've been able to completely eat (with the group) was the Peking Roast Duck. You don't leave the Chinese restaurants hungry, that's for sure. I also wasn't sure how I would like the food, since I've generally been more of a picky eater and I'm so used to American food. Well, after having been here for a while I can say that I have an affinity for Chinese food, and I don't think I'll be able to enjoy American-Chinese food quite the same anymore. Dahui said that the Chinese food in America lacks the authenticity that the food has here in China, and I can see where he is coming from. I came here with the mindset of losing some weight but with the food here I think that goal will only result in marginal loss. I certainly haven't been dissatisfied with the food here at all - Quality or Quantity.

Dancers

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Today has been filled with wonderful cultural experiences. In the afternoon, we visited the school of fine arts to watch performances of student dancers. We first started with a performance from the freshmen girls class. The girls performed a quick segment of some traditional ballet including a few plie´s, pointes, and coupe´s. From being a dancer for 13 years, I paid most attention to the dancers' technique. What drew my attention the most were the girls' feet. I observed the lack of pointed toes when doing kicks and leaps; Whereas ballet in the US is all about pointed toes, regardless. The reason why we stress pointed toes is to make the dancer look more beautiful in terms of alignment, the goal in ballet is to always look like a needle. I also noticed the strength of the dancers here in China. I wasn't too sure if the girls were just going through the dance casually but I didn't feel all of their energy. That also made me think about how competitive Americans are when it comes to sports in general. For instance, we have made dance so competitive to the point where judges and the audience are analyzing every single inch of the body and form. China isn't that competitive when it comes to sports, so maybe in the dance world they aren't too concerned with strength and the ability to form into unison and they want to focus on the ability and beauty of what they really can do.

The Great wall

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Started the day at 9 AM took a two hour bus ride to the great wall. Wow what a workout everybody was laboring the whole time. I like to think that I am in pretty good shape but I was getting worked. I have no idea how the Mongolian people would ever attack the Chinese over that wall, Damn. This coming Saturday there is going to be a marathon and part of it is going to take place on the wall, this is crazy. The wall is incredible step at times. It is really easy to see why this is one of the seven wonders of the world. After the wall we took the slide down. The slide was a blast you can really carry speed on your way down. The at the bottom we got solicited to buy souvenirs. This is very different you don't see many venders at national parks in The United States of America and it would be cleaner.

First Earthquake

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Today we toured the Lishen headquarters. Lishen manufactures batteries and is the main supplier to huge companies and products, most notably Apple and the iPhone. We walked around the facilities and we were able to see the physical manufacturing of their batteries, which was pretty cool. Afterwards we went to large room to listen to a presentation by the company's VP. It was in that room that I experienced a phenomena that I have never experienced before.

The speaker was about halfway through his presentation and all of the sudden there was a "sudden" shake. A lot people were wondering what just happened, and the others were wondering why we wondered what just happened. While it probably hardly registered the richter scale, and it was light enough that some people didn't even notice it, I experienced my first earthquake. It was still cool to me, and pretty notable experience.

Kungfu Major at Tianjin University of Sports

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Today we visited the Tianjin Sports University. University of Minnesota actually just put in an office at this school which was very cool to see. Daniel Konold the Program Coordinator took us all around the school and showed us a variety of sports. We saw dragon boat racing, traditional dancing, modern dancing, kungfu and badminton. Everyone is very talented at this school. Daniel told us that a lot of the students that go here are there because the other academic university didn't work out for them. There are some sports universities that really good athletes go because they know they will become pro after college, Daniel told us that this sports university was not like that. Everyone was really talented at their specific major. Each of the sports we saw today are also majors. I thought this was very interesting because we don't have this in the states. In the United States you usually can't major in a sport or go to strictly a sports university. If you're an excellent athlete you can be recruited by the coach of a team and play on the team but you typically have a major and just do sports as an extracurricular activity. In the states we have very famous art colleges like Juilliard which is a school just for the arts like dancing, singing, drama or playing an instrument. When I saw the dancers this reminded me of what an art school would look like but in the states we don't have schools just for sports. The most interesting major I saw today was Kungfu. I had seen kungfu on the television but never in-person before. I was so amazed at how quickly and precise their bodies moved. I thought that this really brought out their culture because in the kungfu show the first thing we saw were two dragons being controlled by two people for each dragon. They were both so on key with each other I thought this was very talented. The dragon means a lot to the chinese culture and I thought it was interesting to see this in one of their sports. I also think that almost everything in the chinese culture has some sort of meaning to it. Today we listened to a story about the dragon boats and how the chinese thought that the dragons lived in the water so they would throw food in the water to keep the dragon from going hungry. They would also bang on a drum to scare away any dragons. I love that everything means something in China I think it says something about their culture.

Badminton and Tianjin University of Sports

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Badminton this could be your major, if you went to Tianjin Sports University. Today we watch a presentation on sports in China and America and some of the history and science behind it. Daniel D. Konold is the program coordinator for the Chinese American culture center for sports. He works with the University of Minnesota at Tianjin's Sports University. He showed us around the campus and had us view a number of Chinese physical Activities including: dragon boat racing, martial arts exhibition, traditional dancing, and badminton. After we got done watching the traditional dancers we had the chance to dance with them. Pretty much all of the guys were falling in love with their dance partners. Nobody quite talking about how beautiful their partner was. After that we went and played badminton, everybody in the whole gym was better than us, even the ladies. They wiped us up and down the court. They used the spikes, drop shots, and English perfectly. Badminton is officially a sport in by books.

Lost in Translation

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Since it was Sunday, I slept in until 2 pm. The majority of the group went to KTV, which is a karaoke lounge. I didn't really have much planned for the day; I needed to find a working ATM because I was out of cash, and after that maybe delve into The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo for the rest of the day. When I finally made it down to the lobby, I found Alex and he was hanging out with two Chinese girls. One of them was named Janessa, whom Alex met on the train from Beijing to Tianjin. Her best friend Mary was also with them. Alex invited me to join them for the day. The plan was to go to the Waterpark in Tianjin and then ride on the Tianjin Eye. Since I hadn't really accomplished anything so far into the day, I was pretty excited to actually do something. I quickly grabbed some cash from the ATM, and we convinced Tyler to come with us. We were all geared up for the day's adventure, there was only one "problem:" both of the girls hardly spoke any English.

Alex had been communicating with Janessa using a translator on his iPad and some of the basic words we know. I thought this was going to be an issue throughout the day, but it actually made it one of the more interesting and fun days in my life. Both Janessa and Mary were really nice, and they were pretty patient with our lack of Chinese vocabulary. It was fun trying to communicate and enjoy the day without having to explain everything, because we really couldn't. We just enjoyed the day and our surroundings, and sort of forgot about our lack of "communication." Although, through the day we could all tell that their English was improving by just hanging out with us.

We made it to the Waterpark by taking two different buses. The Waterpark was awesome. It's not really a "waterpark" by American standards, but more of a park with cool fountains and sculptures. There are some theme park like rides, but we didn't visit that part of the park. After the Waterpark, we took another bus to ride the Tianjin Eye, which is a huge ferris wheel. Before we went to the Eye we had dinner at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. The food was great and the portions were enormous. By the time we made to the Eye it was closed, which was initially disappointing. We actually found some of the other people in our group at the Eye. We walked around a little bit, and by the time we got back to the river it had turned into a pseudo-carnival. We all played some games, won some prizes, and then left. Before we parted ways we made plans to come back and actually ride the Tianjin Eye, and maybe do something else. It was a great day.

Hangin' with Jewel

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Tonight my roommate Ross and I decided to eat dinner with Jewel; one of the Chinese students in our class. She had already met up with Alex and Brian, so we joined them on campus. We walked a little ways and ended up at a coffee shop located in the pool/athletic center. The menu was pretty Americanized, Alex and I decided to get two pizzas and split them. I got Hawaiian and he got a bacon-supreme type pizza. I love the food here, but it was nice to take a break and eat some pizza. After the meal, Jewel guided us around the campus a little bit more.

She took us to a kabob stand that was kind of hidden between two school buildings. The food was pretty spicy and really good. We headed back towards the way we came, and we decided to get a beer we left the campus. Jewel brought us through the maze-like campus to a quiet restaurant that only had a couple of customers. The four of us ordered beers, and Jewel had maybe one ounce of beer in a small cup. Before we left campus, we also got to meet her roommate. Overall it was a fun night, and I'm glad I came along.

Beat In Badminton...Badly

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Today we toured the sports institute of Tianjin and met up with Daniel Konold, program coordinator for the American Culture Center for Sports. He has a really cool job doing research on American and Chinese sports to find out what makes certain sports popular and how to integrate sports that have little popularity in China. For example, football and baseball have immense popularity in the states, but almost none here. Table tennis and badminton dominate other sports and our group had the privilege of playing badminton with some of the students at the sports institute.
Never in my life have I been more covered in sweat than after my first one-on-one match. I challenged one of the girl students standing alone watching other people play, and if I had known she had professional skills I would've picked a different opponent. We started out with simple volleys back and forth above the head so it could be easily returned. Once we were warmed up, she brought the heat. She had me running from the net to the back line volley, after volley, after volley. It was like doing the shuttle run each time she swung her racket. Her skill of being able to place the birdie on the back line, and following it up with a light tap that barely cleared the net, must have taken years of practice. Dripping with sweat and nearly to the point of collapsing, I had to run to get some fresh air and throw some cold water on my face. Normally if I get beat that bad, I ask for a rematch, but I had to let that one go. I hope to play again soon.

Tianjin Lishen Battery Co.

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Day Thirteen: (My first earthquake) Tianjin Lishen Battery Co., Lecture 5: The management Philospohy and Management of Chinese People by Professor Qi Anbang,
Today we visited the Tianjin Lishen Battery Co. When we arrived at Lishen, I was surprised that we were going to go to a place that makes batteries. I had never heard of Lishen, so I didn't understand why this would be interesting. Going through the tour I understood why we were at this particular company; possibly because they are the leading battery supplier in the world. Some of the companies that they are a supplier for are: Motorola, Samsung, Black and Decker, HP, Nokia, and Apple. Right now I am using an HP laptop and the battery that is powering it is a Lishen battery. We got to see exactly how they make the batteries and the finished product. I was surprised that they make every battery for all Apple products. For example they manufacture the batteries for the; IPAD, ITouch, IPOD, Ishuffle, MacBook, etc. That is amazing! I was so impressed with the Lishen Company. Also the company first started in 1997. They were in a small office with very little employees. Our tour guide was the VP of the company and he started when the company only had 200 employees. Lishen currently has 10,000 employees and has over 950 million dollars in current assets. That shows an amazing exponential growth for the company! I wish that I could have bought stock in Lishen when they first released their IPO. During the meeting I asked if they issue employee stock options and the VP said that they do. He also said that as you move up into the company, if you get high enough you are issued original company stock shares. The VP also said that they are planning on expanding into Indian and Thailand. So, this shows that the company is still growing. I think that Lishen is not only a dependable company, when speaking about their products, but I also think that they would be a great company to invest in or work for in the future. I am excited that we got the opportunity to learn about a successful Chinese company that started so small and after only a few years exponential grew into an economic powerhouse in the battery industry.

P.S. During the presentation at Lishen I experience my first earthquake! I didn't know what was happening, my chair was shaking and you could tell the whole building was moving. I was looking across at the VP because I thought it might be a normal feeling and had something to do with production at Lishen. He then said, "This is an earthquake." I was a little started. It was over fast and later we found it was a magnitude of 4.8. The VP said that he had been in Tianjin for 10 years and never experienced an earthquake!

KTV

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Day Twelve: KTV
Today we got to have our first experience at a KTV. This is where many Chinese people love to go. When you go to a KTV, you rent a room and sing karaoke with all your friends. At first I was a little bit skeptical on how much fun this would be; to my surprise I had a blast! First off the building was beautiful. The room that we rented was huge! They had a large C shaped couch surrounding they two karaoke TV's. The karaoke was on the computer and they had many America artists, so everyone was getting up and singing songs. It was really fun. I think that everyone had a great time. I am surprised that this craze has not reached America yet. I think that people would rent out rooms and have parties with their friends all the time in America! Who knows maybe when I get back Ill open a KTV in Duluth and we will see how it goes!

Fashion and Shopping

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Day Eleven: Waterpark (Themepark; road roller coaster, traditional dancing), Golden Street (Shopping)
We started our Saturday very early and decided to go to the Waterpark and then go shopping. The Waterpark was very beautiful. It reminded me of a small Valleyfair with water surrounding the whole park. After we went to the Waterpark we went shopping on the Golden Street. The Golden Street Shopping area is huge, far larger then the Mall of America. We had to take a bus to one end just to get to the food court. In the center of the Golden Street is a four way intersection. The intersection has a large Golden Circle; if you stand in the center of the Golden Circle they say that you will receive good luck. I am not sure how true this is because I did not have much luck shopping. My expectations of shopping in China are much different than what shopping is really like. When we entered the first shop, I was surprised to see the first price tag say; 1200 Yuan! We shopped for about three hours and the prices in China are very comparable, if not the same or more than in America. They have high end designer stores were the prices are far out of my price range and they have lower end stores that are still costly on a college student's budget. One thing that a lot of young Chinese students are wearing right now is bibs or overalls. They look so cute and I defiantly want to buy some before I leave! Style in china is adorable. When you go out in the middle of the day every girl you see is fashionable. Everyone wears high heels and has cute outfits on. Dresses and leggings is a very popular outfit that I see in China. Also the Chinese girls do not want to get tan because they think the whiter you are the prettier you are, so many of them wear long gloves on their arms and large hats to cover their face. It is defiantly something that is a large cultural difference; Americans always want to be tan. The tanner they are they better they look. Decades ago though, Americans valued white skin as well. Before America women and men wanted to have white skin because if you worked out in the sun it showed that you were poor and hard to do hard labor. The rich do not have to work so they stay inside and have very white pure skin. I explained this to a Chinese student, Amy, and she said that that was the exact reason why they still value white skin today. Overall, even though I don't not like shopping in America shopping in China has taught me a lot about the Chinese culture through their style.

Weather

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Day Ten: Lecture 4: MNC's Human Resource Management in China by Professor Wang Jianyou, Play bad mitten and ping pong, First storm in China.
So far the weather in China has been beautiful! If anything it has actually been too hot! I would say that everyday has been in the 80's or 90's. Most days in Beijing and Tianjin, I dream about jumping in the freezing cold Lake Superior. In China there is nowhere to safely swim. It is so hot some days and all I think about is how if I were at home I would be on a pontoon in Lake Nebagemon or I would be canoeing down the Brule River. I take those experiences for granted and China has taught me how beautiful my home is. I cherish water now and it is one thing that I really miss from home.
Although today we got to experience new weather. We went and played bad mitten and ping pong at Nankia University. When we arrived it was very humid and sunny out. As we played the windows in the gym went dark. I couldn't remember if they were tinted or not so we went outside to investigate. To our surprise it was thunder storming out! There was lightening and it was raining very hard. It was a lot of fun to experience a thunderstorm in China and that night was wonderful! It was the first cool night that we have had in China.

Finance in China

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Day Nine: Lecture 3 By Professor Ren Bing , Tianjin Planning Exhibition Hall (Small models of Tianjin), Chinese Museum of Finance, Italian Village, Tianjin Eye(Tallest Ferris Wheel in Asia)
- I was very interested in visit the Chinese Museum of Finance. Being a Finance graduate, I wished that all the words were not in Chinese and I could read more about everything that was in the museum. Luckily, Jason, a professor that is with us on our tours answered a lot of my questions. I found it interesting that China experiences some of the same problems as the United States. For example, at the beginning of 2007 China started to experience subprime mortgage crises like the United States did. Both China and America were hit hard in 2008 and many companies were filing for bankruptcy.
I also found it very interesting that China's first form of currency was sea shells. Wouldn't it be nice if you could go to the ocean and try to find as many sea shells as you could? I would be the richest woman in the world! Lastly, China's currency can be called Renminbi or Yuan. I asked why this was because there was an example of fake money and real money in one of the display cases. Lisa, I Chinese graduate, told me that there is a lot of fake money made in China and 20 years ago the government decided to change their currency from Yuan to Renminbe to help prevent the problem of counterfeit money. This was a nice attempt by the government to try and prevent counterfeit money from being produced; yet, it is a still a large problem in China. When we first arrived in China, our guide Lina told us about this problem and she showed us the difference in fake and real money. The sound the paper makes is a big indicator that it is real. I find the history of Chinese money to be fascinating. I also love their old accounting systems. The calculator they used is amazing. It has wooden circles on spools. Lisa said that they are taught how to use the calculator in primary school. Personally, I still do not understand how to use it. Overall, I thought that the finance museum was very interesting and I am glad we got the opportunity to see the history of Chinese Finance.

Seagull Watch's

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Never really thought I wanted a wrist watch until I visited Seagull Watch Company. The craftsmanship was amazing. Every watch was engineered with great precision. When we first arrived at the Seagull Watch Company we were met outside by the tour guide. Before we went inside to look at the history of their company she had us stand outside on giant sundial they had created. Once we got inside we signed a guest book. This was really neat, being able to see all the people that have already toured the building and be able to put my name in the book. It was real interesting to see all the pictures and photographs on the wall, and see all the famous people that owned one of the watches they created. George W Busch Senior had a photo of him fishing in the ocean with one of the watches on his wrist. The prices of these gems varied greatly there was on watch that cost over $125,000 and there is only 3 in the world. To get one of these you need to pay in advance of them making it. There are other watches that only cost $100 to $200. After being there I realized a watch would a perfect to hand down family heirloom.

Visited Lishen factory and had Boazi

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Today was another great day here in Tianjin. there were three main things I enjoyed today . The first was going to the battery factory lishen..Next was going to class.lastly was the Chinese girl taking me to Tainjin University ant eating Boazi.
Unlike most mornings instead of going to class at 9 am, we went to the lishen Battery factory. WHile ther were met by Mr Wang who is the VP of marketing and Sales. Mr. Wang then proceeded to take us on a tour of the Lishen "campus" i will call it. the place was like a small city. After walking around we were led into a building where they actually make the batteries. It was out of this world. In one of the room I believe Mr Wang told us they produce 150 a minute. After the tour we went to the conference room. While here I experienced my first earthquake in my life. It shook the rom pretty good. Then when Mr Wang was done speaking and answeirng questoions we got back onto the bus.
My nest favorite part of the day was class. Our professor Derek Yang,spoke better english than some of us. He taught us about Different U.S businesses in China,like Wal-Mart KFC, Mcdonads, and Stabucks and tings that they have done that caused them problem in China. One of the main Things I saw in Common was Cheating quality and recognizing Chinese culture. It was a real eye opener overall class was very good and I learned a lot.
The last thing that really stuck out to me was Sherri, Shelbe, and Lily taking me to tianjin University to eat Boazi.I wasnt really sure wheree they were taking me at irst but when your in a different country and different culutre its all about being open and willing to try new things. When we got to the Boazi shop I will call . We all sat down and they brought it out to us. At first you might think it is very wierd, but in fact it is incredibly good. There is just something about the food over here that is absolutely delicious. after the Boazi, they took me around Tianjin Universtiy and then we walked backed to Nankai. I am so grateful for such wonderful students over here.
Everyday here in China makes me want to live her even more. the people are great the food is wonderful and the culture is fantastic. somedays I dont even want to go back to the United States

Tianjin's Eye

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This massive 120 meter structure is one of the largest Ferris wheels in the area and is known as Tianjin's Eye. The wheel is suspended over the Hai River right smack in the middle of the Yongle Bridge. The wheel opened only 4 years ago and is quite a site to see! At night the entire city back drop lights up as does the wheel and it looks magnificent. A group of only five per a cart is allowed to be propelled around the wheel. Once you've purchased you ticket you make your way under the bridge and into a lobby area with restrooms to wait in line. The place I noticed must be a local romance hot spot because I spotted multiple couples, even one couple done up in matching pink shirts and white shoes. Just outside the entrance they were playing slow dance songs all night. Inside the lobby was done up in flowers and had cupid window stickies all over. After a half an hour in line we got our chance to jump in a cart. They don't stop the Ferris wheel for you but they have a long boarding area to make sure you have enough time to get everyone on. A full rotation took about another half an hour as we snapped some candid shots and took in the view of the city which was brilliantly lit up. Satisfied with our pictures we made our way to the river front. Along the river there were numerous fair games set up and souvenirs. I purchased a lantern light after our walk and we lit it off by the river and watched as it struggled to lift off. Once up it took off with a gust and it was gone. We had a good night and ended it with burgers at Helen's, a nearby international pub.

To start the day off we went to Lishen Battery Co. instead of class like usual. This was one of my favorite tours that we have had so far because this company sells and makes batteries for almost every appliance from cars to mobile phones. It was very interesting to find out that Lishen was founded 1997 and has grown so much in the last fifteen years. Lishen has grown from an annual capacity of 5 million in 2000 to an annual capacity of 500 million in 2010 and is now one of the top five battery manufacturers in the world (now that's impressive)! Also during this tour I experienced my first earthquake which was quite an interesting experience in itself luckily it was not very big. I really enjoyed this tour and I was amazed by the success of this company and I will definitely keep Lishen in mind when I start my career. After this tour we had our fifth lecture with Professor Yang Kun about the most famous service brands in China. We learned about Mcdonalds and KFC's success in the Chinese market which was very interesting because these food chains are using different strategies in China which has made them very popular. Some of these strategies include having a comfortable environment (Mcdonalds) and having healthy policies in place (KFC). We also learned about companies that haven't been so successful such as Best Buy. It was interesting to find out that the Chinese value low cost more than good service which is why Best Buy did not do very well when it tried to expand into China, but I think it kind of the same way in America now especially with the introduction of online retailers. Overall, I found this lecture very interesting and this was one of my favorite days here in Tianjin.

5/27/12 KTV

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Today was probably the least active day that I have had so far in China but it was still really fun. We went to KTV for most of the day which was cool because we got to sing some karaoke with some of the Chinese students. It was cool to see that the students enjoyed music and all of them were really good singers. After KTV I really did not do too much for the rest of the day, I just kind of relaxed and caught up on some sleep. Even though today was not very productive I still had a lot of fun and was able to relax for a little bit.

KTV

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We went to KTV yesterday. KTV is a karaoke place in China where you can rent individual rooms that have tvs for music videos that go a long with your song. I'd never sang karaoke and the only time I'd heard it before was at the Reef which was nothing like this place. Our room was very big and very fancy and I actually had a lot of fun. They had lots of American music like Lady Gagga, Kanye West, Eminem, Lil Wayne, Micheal Jackson, Rod Stewart, Backstreet Boys and lots of Chinese bands the Chinese students liked to sing. I've never sang before but it was fun singing in a group with your friends singing a long with you. Of our group the best singers were Ross and Laura. They were both very good and very entertaining to watch. The Chinese students sang some Chinese music which was very interesting to hear. From what I could see they mostly sang Chinese boy band groups. However, Jason's wife Helena, sang a song that blew my mind. Helena is usually a very quite person who only talks if you initiate a conversation with her. But when we sang she had such a beautiful voice, and the song she sang suited her perfectly. Erik was very funny to hear sing because he's usually so loud he wouldn't even need a mic. When he used the mic he could get so loud and it was very funny. I really had a lot of fun at KTV and I feel I'd be willing to sing karaoke back in America now.

Sunday May 27th 2012

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Today was a very relaxing the day the only thing i really did was go To KTV. While at KTV however I had a blast. It was so much fun wathcing my classmates sing , along withour chinese student friends. Sherri and her roomate were very well, along with Jewel and hre roomate. It was also very fun to watch jason and his wife Helen sing. I think my favorite part was getting to sing with Martin, one of our Chinese student friends. We sang, " Its My Life" by Bon Jovi . after KTV i went back to the hotel and called it a night Another great day in Tianjin.

Saturday may 26th 2012

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This was our first day of our first weekend in Tianjin . It was was fairly relaxed but fun at the same time I spent a good part of the day with my chinese friend Sherri. She has been very good to me while i have been here.after we had spent the day together showing me around i took the evening to just relax and go to bed early

Tianjin Planning Exhibition Hall

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Today our class went to visit the Tianjin planning exhibition hall. Originally when I heard we were going here I assumed it wouldn't be very exciting but I completely under estimated the hall. At the time I did not know what to expect so when I walked in and saw a huge 1:750 floor model of the entire city I was truly astonished! Then it lit up in sync with a wall video that told you some of the cities past and details. After that I was excited to see more and hear more about the city. We walked around the building on a guided tour to check out the multiple model displays of the town's regions and various sections. It was our tour guide's first tour and she did very well. The hall has a large number of models separate from the main floor model. As we walked around I could not help but think of how much time, energy, and money was put into all these models. It took over two months just to make the main floor model and they had hundreds of other smaller models. The detail was very good considering that there are 371 sq. km reduced down into a floor model covering 40 - 50 sq. yards, not to mention the 1.4 million suites.

China Mobile

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Today, Lisa brought me to China Mobile to purchase more minutes for my phone. The mobile store is much different than the ones in the United States. Here, instead of showcase after showcases of hot new phones, there were probably only one or two cabinets of four phones in each; and the phones weren't the hot new ones either. They were just plain Nokias or Samsung's and weren't any smart phones. It seems to me China Mobile is just a place where people can purchase a phone plan or prepaid plan. Lisa told me she just has a prepaid plan on her phone, so I'm assuming a lot of Chinese locals just purchase prepaid minutes for more of an ease. It's interesting to see how different mobile companies conduct business compared to the United States, here it is the norm to purchase minutes as they go while in America, the best bang for our buck is to have a mobile plan. I am interested in learning how data plans work for internet and what not, like do they have to pay prior to using a certain amount of internet or is only wireless internet allowed on the phones?

Derek Yang's Lecture on Branding

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Today we had a very interesting lecture on the service industry in China. I thought today's lecture was very interesting. Being a Marketing major I was very excited for today lecture. I really liked how he talked about a variety of companies that we were all familiar with and talked about them in the context of China. I was surprised at how many differences there was between the companies in China. A majority of the lecture talked about scandals that these businesses have had in the past. Most of the them implied taking advantage of the Chinese people. I was very surprised that CareFour a place where I have been to a lot since in China was labeling discounts on merchandise but when it comes time to check out the discount didn't show up. I was really surprised because I feel that this doesn't happen often in the United States. In the United States there has been certain outbreaks of food that contaminate a lot of food which results in a freeze in that certain type of food. In the United States we have so many rules and regulations and people to keep up on these rules like inspectors to make sure that their rules are being followed it's hard for corruption to happen. Another thing I found really interesting in the lecture was that in China working at McDonald's is a very good paying job and is seen as prestige, whereas in the states if you worked at McDonalds you receive no benefits and make minimum wage. I found this very interesting how different the same business can be in two different countries.

KTV

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We finally got to experience the infamous KTV on Sunday. KTV is karaoke and very popular in China. In China you rent out a room for everyone to share and it can get pretty spendy at night so we decided to go in the afternoon on a Sunday. I was a little confused at why KTV is so expensive but when I saw the room I understood why it was so expensive. The room was huge!! Not only was there plenty of room on the couches, there was also high top tables for people who just wanted to hang out. I had so much fun at the KTV and was very happy that we went. I would have paid double the price to go! They had a wide variety to choose from when it came to American songs. I was happy that some of the Chinese students came with us as well because I liked hearing some Chinese songs as well. Everybody had such good voices, it was so much fun to listen to everybody!! I thought that Jason and his wife were so cute, they sang a duet and did a wonderful job at it!! I really enjoyed going to KTV and would like to go again before I leave China! I would love to have a KTV in the United States I think it would be very popular!!

Waterpark and Rollercoaster

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On Saturday the girls took a trip to the waterpark and shopping center with Amy and Lisa. We first went to the waterpark which was a little different than in the United States. If you go to a waterpark in United States, it usually means swimming is related. This waterpark was very beautiful with all the lakes and trees also traditional style buildings. The other half of the water park was amusement rides. Most of these rides I had ridden before at valleyfair. They had a lot of the same rides as the United States. It was a Saturday and some of their rides were not running which we thought as weird since it should be a big day for customers. Alex and I ended up riding on ride that stood out to us. It was a rollercoaster that was like Steel Venom and Wild Thing from ValleyFair combined. It was super fun! I didn't think that China would have anything like that but I'm very glad that I went on it. After the rollercoaster we decided to go on our shopping trip when we got distracted by some traditional dancing under a shelter. We all decided to dance with a local to see what it's all about. The other man that I danced with spoke very good English. He told me that he had been the United States multiple times and he even knew where Minnesota was! He also told me that many people who are retired come to the waterpark and dance. I was very happy to be a part of this tradition! The Chinese dance is a little bit different then the United States. The Chinese dance seems to be a little bit slower. There were so many people there dancing I thought it was very cool to just watch everyone!

First Cheeseburger in Weeks

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I had eaten a massive breakfast this morning so big, in fact, that I was not even hungry when lunch rolled around. This proved to be a big mistake because after touring Lishen, a prominent manufacturing company of batteries, and then going straight to shopping, to then class at 2:30, I was starving by 5:00 pm. Luckily, Helen's is right across the street and a block down from the university. I had never eaten the food there but have heard great things so I decided to try it out. They had a wide range of non-Chinese food from pasta to salads, but I had to go with a cheeseburger. I had been craving one ever since my first plate of dumplings in Beijing. It was phenomenal! Thick, juicy, toasted bun; everything I love about a burger, they had involved it. They also had cucumbers on the bottom which I have never had before, but turned out to be great as well. That burger was long overdue but I was glad I got to avoid Mickie D's to get one. It was the perfect thing to remind me of home and the whole meal was about $4.00 USD. A burger and fries like that would be at least $10.00 in the states, man I love China.

TEDA Hospital

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TEDA International Cardiovascular hospital opened only 9 years ago and cost 720 million RMB to build but can now accommodate 500 bed patients. The hospital, as you may guess by the name, specializes in open heart surgery and therapy hitting numbers upwards of 10,000 surgical cases in a year. With its young age of 9 you can guess that this hospital is update with its technology and procedures. They are one of the earliest to adapt an automatic pill counting system that fills patients daily tablet quotas in a nice stream of plastics sealed containers. I found this system to be very efficient as it reduces tablet errors and simplifies the pharmacist's job. Each strand is then rechecked for an even more precise accuracy. Along with this technology the hospital uses the PACS and HIS to speed up and reduce waste of patient file archiving. Another neat feature is the use of patient cards that can be scanned to bring up all of the patients information. These systems are what TEDA relies on to help process the 10 of thousands of patients each year with a very high efficiency and low paper waste. It was interesting to get to see the displays and see the technology in action. After we checked out the technology behind the scene we had the opportunity to check out live surgery patients. I have seen surgeries before while job shadowing but this was really something and I was glad I got another chance be in the operating room.

Hidden Talents

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We had our second day off today since we had no class or trips lined up for either Saturday or Sunday. Jason, a good friend of Dr. Li's, lined up a reservation for us to sing at a KTV as a group. KTV is karaoke where you reserve a room for multiple hours at a time, gather up a group of friends, and pick songs for a playlist and sing away as they appear on the screen. I was a little skeptical at first because I was wondering if any of the songs would be in English, how many people would ACTUALLY sing, and also whether or not I would sing in front of a group of friends. I quickly found out my anxiety came out of nowhere because they had numerous songs in English, everybody sang at least a little, and I found out that when Your Song by Elton John comes on, I can serenade with the best of them. Jason's wife, Helen, sang a few Chinese songs as well as Jewel and her roommate Chong, and Sherri and her friend Shelby and they were all terrific! Even though I couldn't understand the words, they had beautiful voices. KTV's are super popular all around China, and after seeing first hand how much fun they are, I can see why. Opening one in America would be a goldmine for sure!

Derek Yang's Lecture

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The lecture today was very engaging. Derek Yang's lecture was about service brands in China. He explained what service was and famous service brands in China. I enjoyed this lecture more than the other ones because Derek discussed brands that are well-known and liked by Americans; including McDonald's, KFC, Best Buy, and Starbucks. He explained how McDonald's is doing well and has become more and more popular in China since the first one open in 1990. Part of the reason McDonald's has survived in China is because of the changes they have made to their company to adapt to the Chinese culture. For example, many Americans use the drive thru to order McDonald's and eat at home; causing the restaurants to have less seating space in the restaurant since it is not needed. In China, the customers are more likely to eat at the restaurant and talk with their friends while they enjoy their meal; causing the restaurant to be larger than the ones in America. Other service brands, such as Best Buy, have completely failed at doing business in China. The first Best Buy opened in 2007 and by 2011 all Best Buy stores in China were being closed. The main reason being that the Chinese focus on prices of electronics and not service. Best Buy was not able to adapt to this change and therefore failed in China. I did not realize all of the differences service brands must consider when opening a store in a new country and it was very interesting to learn.

Today was probably my favorite lecture so far. Not only was the topic really interesting, but also Professor Derek Yang was very engaging. He began lecture with exactly how I favor my professors at UMD: an introduction about his life. I like getting to know my teachers so that I know where they're coming from, why they teach what they teach, what their experiences have been, etc. I enjoy learning more when I feel like I can connect with the professor. His teaching method was perfect. Rather than speaking at us and strictly lecturing, he was having a conversation with us. He asked us if the material was familiar, if we were following what he was saying, and was all in all making sure we were learning and staying interested. I also like how he handed the slides out after the lecture. At first I was thinking, 'well what am I supposed to take my notes on?' In the end I found myself paying more attention to him and not just the paper in front of me. I was able to watch the slides in front and listen to him speak more easily. After an introduction, Derek Yang began his lecture with asking us what service is. It seems pretty self explanatory - but it got us really thinking about what it is and truly how important it is in the economy. Focusing on a few different specific service brands, rather than looking at a general perspective, made the lecture more interesting. Comparing the same service brands we have in the U.S. was interesting to see how different the companies are when located in different countries; for example, some restaurants serving completely different foods, or some service being successful in the U.S. and not successful in China. One thing I found interesting was how Barbie dolls were not successful in China. A store in Shanghai closed in 2011 because people were not buying due to high prices, and also because of the way they were designed. Barbie dolls portray a "sexy" look and cannot be very appropriate for young children. Derek Yang mentioned how Chinese girls like to dress in clothing such as something with Hello Kitty on it. Learning about this brought my attention to really needing to understand the target market for any service an economy wants to provide in order for it to be successful.

Jewel and Chong

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Once again I met up with Jewel. She has become my main contact to assist with trips around the city or to get a quick bite to eat. This time I was introduced to her roommate, Chong. She speaks very good English and was able to translate if there was any confusion in our discussions with Jewel. We spent most of the night walking around Bai Di Li Road, getting some food and discussing music and movies we liked. The majority of the music that is popular in the states is also just as popular here. Artists like James Blunt, Brittney Spears, Taylor Swift, and Coldplay are loved here said Jewel. I found out that the show Friends is really popular here, and that my name is well known as "Rachel's boyfriend". I thought this was really funny. I even tried it out at Helen's that night, any new person that I met or was introduced to by Jewel, could easily remember my name by saying, "Ross, from Friends." We had a great time, and plan to meet again tomorrow for KTV, Chinese karaoke.

KTV

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Sunday was our first experience going to a KTV in China. KTV is another name for karaoke and is very popular in China. The KTV we went to was called Dongfang. The building had many levels with rooms of all different sizes for guest to rent out and sing karaoke in. Some Chinese students came along with us and we rented a room for about three hours. I am a horrible singer but I still really enjoyed listening to everyone else sing and talking with the Chinese students. We sang some Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys songs and I was surprised to see that some of the Chinese students knew the words to the American songs. Many of the Chinese students also sang Chinese songs for us and I thought they were really good. They showed me what songs were really popular and songs they used to like and it was interesting to see what kind of music is popular in China. Lisa told me she usually goes to a KTV two or three times a month with all of her friends. I think it would be fun if there were KTVs in America.

5/27/12 KTV

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Today was probably the least active day that I have had so far in China but it was still really fun. We went to KTV for most of the day which was really fun because we got to sing some karaoke with some of the Chinese students. It was cool to see that the students enjoyed music and all of them were really good singers. After KTV I really did not do too much for the rest of the day, I just kind of relaxed and caught up on some sleep. Even though today was not very productive I still had a lot of fun and was able to relax for a little bit.

5/27/12 KTV

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Today was probably the least active day that I have had so far in China but it was still really fun. We went to KTV for most of the day which was really fun because we got to sing some karaoke with some of the Chinese students. It was cool to see that the students enjoyed music and all of them were really good singers. After KTV I really did not do too much for the rest of the day, I just kind of relaxed and caught up on some sleep. Even though today was not very productive I still had a lot of fun and was able to relax for a little bit.

The Eye of Tianjin

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After the tour of the Museum of Finance, Doctor Li dropped some students off at a place called the Italian village which has various restaurants and shops that are more of a European culture. It is the equivalent of China town in the United States. Since it was such a clear day out and we were fairly close a group of us decided to go on the Eye of Tianjin, a really big Ferris Wheel. To get to the Ferris Wheel four of us road in a bicycle taxi. The taxi ride was very fun! The drivers are pretty crazy in China but it was very entertaining. When I first saw the Ferris wheel I was very excited to ride on it. I didn't realize how big it was until we got really close to it. The ticket to ride on the Ferris wheel was very cheap compared to what they would have charged in the United States. I was very happy we went on the night that we did because it was so clear outside and just absolutely beautiful! I loved seeing every part of the city! We rode the Ferris Wheel just when it got dark out as well and it was so beautiful with all the lights. While on the thirty minute Ferris Wheel ride we saw that some people were lighting paper lanterns. After the Ferris Wheel we decided we had to do it because most of the local residents were doing it as well. We thought that lighting the lantern into the sky might have some special meaning. We dedicated our lantern to University of Minnesota Duluth. I have heard of some lantern festivals in Asia and this made me want to go to one of them! It was really fun and made me feel more apart of the their culture. This was one of the my favorite nights so far in Tianjin although we did very many touristy things I did feel that I knew the culture a little bit better. Many people just go and walk down the Ferris Wheel to hang out with friends or their significant other. I love that everybody walks everywhere in China. It seems that in Minnesota we have so many suburbs that we have to drive to get anywhere but I think it's very peaceful to walk around. I do think that in the bigger cities in the United States people walk more but in the suburbs it is hard.

Saturday Dinner

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Saturday was our first entire free day on this trip. I had an eventful day of seeing the water park, shopping, and taking a six hour nap. In the evening, Kannetha and I were hungry for dinner. We had missed going to dinner with everyone else because of our nap and decided to venture off on our own. We were both craving dumplings and knew of a place that served dumplings right down the street. Most of the restaurants we have gone to only have Chinese writing on their menu. Since Kannetha and I did not have a Chinese student to come with us and help us order, we decided to write down the Chinese characters for chicken, pork, and vegetable. That way, we could show the server and hopefully get something that we liked. When we got to the restaurant, to our surprise, the menu had English writing!! We were so happy. We ended up ordering pork and cabbage, and shrimp and cucumber. They were both good. I'm glad Kannetha and I tried something new on our own.

Warm Water

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Friday we spent the afternoon playing bad mitten and table tennis with the Chinese students. The gym was already full of students when we arrived but all of the students were very welcoming and were interesting in playing with us. I played bad mitten with Alex, Helen, and another Chinese student whose name I did not know. This student was very good at bad mitten and it was embarrassing how bad I was compared to him. He did not laugh at me though and he was kind enough to help teach me how to serve. My skills improved and I enjoyed the afternoon. Once I was done playing, I looked around for a water fountain but could not find one. I asked our professor and found out that the only water available would be hot water. I have no idea why anyone would want hot water after exercising and was disappointed. I waited until I arrived back at my hotel to drink some water. This has been a problem for me during my entire stay in China. Our hotel does not have a fridge so it has been hard for me to adjust to drinking room temperature water or pop. I am looking forward to drinking a tall glass of ice cold water when I arrive back in America.

The Eye of Tianjin

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Sunday evening was the perfect evening to explore around the city. We decided to take a taxi to the eye of tianjin. When we got there, we were bombarded by many vendors selling us knick knacks. What caught my eye were the lanterns, which we eventually purchased. While walking down the riverside, we saw a mini carnival with games like popping balloons with an air soft gun to win prizes, a ring toss, and many more. After walking around, a few of us decided it was time to go on the giant ferris wheel. We bought tickets, waited in line for a good amount of time, and finally got into a capsule. And of course the usual happens, the Chinese worker looks right at me assuming I am Chinese and starts speaking to me in Chinese. It happens all the time and I am finally starting to feel bad when they find out I have no idea what they are saying to me. While being at the top of the ferris wheel, all I did was stare at the beautiful lights from the buildings, and followed around some lanterns that have been lit up and flying nearby. As soon as we got off the eye, we immediately ran to a vendor to purchase a lantern. We had absolutely no idea how to make it work but thanks to the locals, we finally got it up! It was beautiful, I sure hope someone made a wish as it was flying up into the dark smoggy sky.

Guanxi and Saving Face

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Guanxi and saving face are the two most important business philosophies in China. As I understand it guanxi is the steps you take to maintain a long term relationship. This term is quite hard for most of the western society to understand. To properly perform guanxi you must familiarize yourself with another person to show that you two have similar values. Any example of this would be; expressing to the other that you grew up in the same area, went to the same school, share a friend, have the same beliefs and the list goes on. Once you have established guanxi a benefit might be a trade-off of services, you scratch my back I'll scratch your back. We do similar thing like this back home but they are more in depth with it. Saving face is the process of keeping one image or reputation. This I am not really sure about because I have heard different thing from one professor to the next. Saving face should be like not speaking bad about a particular individual in front of others, you should do It behind closed doors, and you should never do it behind their backs. Now having said that another professor had a lecture on Chinese management styles, ones that worked in China but failed in the United States. The professor explained that the workers would line up and the supervisor pull one person up front and explain to the others that this worker was not performing their job up to standards. They took this style of management to their manufacturing plant in North Carolina and their turn overrate was through the roof. Then they changed the style and the worker that went in front of the others praised, this was a better approach but it still did not work well. They finally drop doing this all together. I believe that this style of management is rare and that most find saving face very important, at least in higher ranking positions.

Binjiang Dao

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For most shopaholics, the destination of choice is usually the same here in the great city of Tianjin. Binjiang Dao is known for many shops both department stores and boutiques of an endless supply of clothing and accessories along with plenty of restaurants. We took a girls trip to the shopping area on a hot sunny day, we didn't know what to expect but the shopping experience here is much different than in America. We first went into a popular department store here in China then into a few mini boutiques in the same complex. I purchased an article of clothing at one of the boutiques, but instead of purchasing in that exact area, I had to walk out of the store to the center of the complex and hand the cashier the receipt the associate wrote up for me. I was very new to this type of purchasing technique and wasn't too sure what I was doing, but thank god Lisa was with me to help me out every step of the way! As soon as we figured out my payment, the cashier had to make sure everything was correct and gave me a receipt that was part handwritten and part printed. Then I had to hand the original receipt to the actual boutique to receive my purchase. This was quite an experience and a bit overwhelming because it was a lot of walking back and forth. Lisa told me not all stores do these kinds of payments, only the little stores usually do. But otherwise the shopping experience was a great success!

Food Portions

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One of my favorite things about China is its food. Every single meal is amazing with new things to try that are absolutely amazing. Not only is the food incredible but the amount you get is so much. Rarely and I ever able to finish a whole meal and more food just keeps coming and coming. I thought it was stereotypically of American's to eat a lot, but everyone is our group agrees that the amount of food people eat here is astounding. I guess the food is just so much healthier and lower in calories then in America as the people here are much thinner then the typical American. While eating with some of the Chinese students from Nankia we finally found sesame chicken in China and it was amazing. It was very sweet but a different kind of sweetness then American sesame chicken. It wasn't as sugary but oh so so good. Its also amazing at how cheap the food is here. I'm able to get more food then I can eat for less then $5 and its healthier then American food. The only bad thing about this though is I'm not sure how I'll ever enjoy Chinese food back home. I'll just have to try and compare Oriental Jade and see how it stacks up to real China food. Another interesting dish I had has been grilled squid. While walking around at night Nolan and I found BBQ stands on the street. We picked the weirdest things they had. We ate squid, flat fish, and chicken liver. The chicken liver was pretty gross but it was seasoned so well that it covered up the bad flavor of the liver. The squid was absolutely amazing. The meat is so good and with the same seasoning as the chicken liver its easily one of the most surprising dishes I've had in China.

HR in China

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Today we got to learn about some HR issues in China. We learned about expatriates from foreign nations coming to China and what differences they should be aware of when working here in China. We learned that the Chinese have adapted to America's HR practices and do many similar functions like selection planning, selection tests, and once again the importance of guanxi. Professor Bing Ren also explained that turn-over is typically much lower in China then America. In America the typical employee may work for up to 11 different companies while in China, they only work for about 5 to 6 different companies. I feel this must be due to China's practice of guanxi. Chinese companies have very strong company cultures where your company becomes like another family. I feel this is an amazing philosophy as your more likely to enjoy your job and be more willing to work hard. I know I'm going to incorporate guanxi into my business life back in the US.

Professor Bing Ren also explained how expatriates can adapt to Chinese Culture. I found this very interesting as I'd love the idea of doing business in China for a couple of years. Our professor emphasized how important guanxi is to Chinese culture so it is essential that expatriates understand it. Chinese employees have very close relationships with their co-workers and managers, which some expatriates may not be used to. We were given just a few tips to help us. Expatriates should have respect for age and hierarchy which is very important as China is a country of high power distance. We must also be aware of face, harmony, and guanxi. Another important aspect of Chinese culture is its group centered culture as I've talked about before. Lastly, we were told to be aware of China paradox thinking. Professor Bing Ren explained a couple of words. "Ancient" and "Modern" combined together means history, "life" and "death" together means turning point, and conflict is created by combining "spear" and "shield." I really enjoyed Professor Bing Ren's lecture and was excited to hear that he'll be coming to Duluth to help conduct research. I hope I will be able to meet him again back in the US.

Tianjin Waterpark

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The term waterpark in China is completely different than what we would call a waterpark in America. In the United States, a waterpark is an amusement park that features water slides, water playgrounds, wave pools, etc. While in China, a waterpark is literally a park where you can walk through, with bodies of water (ponds). The waterpark here in Tianjin does have a mini amusement park though, but with no water; I would compare the rides to the rides that would be at the Como Zoo in St. Paul, Minnesota. What I found most interesting about the amusement park were the purchasing of tickets for the rides. Instead of buying tickets or a wristband, we had to pay per ride. For instance, a ferris wheel would cost about 20 RMB and another ride may cost 15-30 RMB. The only way to purchase the ride is to buy them separately, and there are no deals or promotions if we were to purchase more than one. The girls and I spent an hour or two walking through the Tianjin waterpark and enjoying the scenery. Some went on a roller coaster ride while others enjoyed the environment there. By being a Saturday morning, the park was a bit crowded; there were many people dancing to music in the shade and some were even practicing Tai Chi. The Tianjin waterpark is a place where I would like to see in the later evening because it seems like a great area to gather with a bunch of friends and have fun.

At the French restaurant the food was expensive by Chinese standards but really I had lamb fillet, bread, mashed potatoes, carrots, and squash with liver for $31.00 American dollar dollars. All six of the dishes we had were extremely authentic. The other plates had chicken and salmon. We had our orders taken by the head chef he was French but knew more English than the Chinese waiter. While we were eating it did not feel like we were in China, It really felt like a real French restaurant. The portions were different, the cutlery was set with two forks, a spoon, two knifes, and a butter knife. The service was very quick and precise. We sat out on the patio the sun was beating down the temperature was in the mid 90's. The drinks were served with ice which has been rare in China. Over all the experience was good but I would rather just grab food from one of the markets for 5 yuan (less than one American dollar).

Master Kong's Noodle Company

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Today we went on three different company visits. First we went to the TEDA cardiovascular hosptial, then the noodle company, and last the shanghai pudong bank. I was more impressed with the noodle company then I thought I would be. I had never toured a company like that before and I thought it was interesting to see how everything was made. As a marketing major I thought this was a really good way to market their brand. People can come in and see exactly how the food is made and packaged and even get to taste the product at the end of the tour. The tour guide also told us that Master Kong has branched out and expanded their business to restaurants as well. A group of us actually went to out to the Master Kong's restaurant and it was extremely good. The price was very reasonable for the amount of food you received. The bowl of soup I ordered had very tender meat and fresh vegetables. I thought the restaurant was a lot better than the noodles we tried at the factory, but I did expect it to be a little bit better than the instant noodle containers. I asked the lady if they sell these in the United States and she told me that they only distribute them in China. I thought this was interesting because I feel that most companies that make packaged foods want to be as global as possible. I'm not sure if all Chinese company want to stay in China but I thought that this was very interesting that the noodle factory only distributes to China. Being college students that eat Ramen a lot I feel that Master Kong's instant noodles would be very popular in the United States.

5/26/12 Traditional Chinese Market and Helen's

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Today was our first full free day since we have been in China and it was kind of nice to relax for a little while. After a bit of relaxation some of the group and I took a bus over to the traditional Chinese market and they had some pretty cool items for sale. Once we were done with the market we just wandered around the city for a while and I was astonished at some of the buildings because some of them are works of art. When we got back from touring the city we all headed out to Helen's which is a local bar we have been going to. I really like going to Helen's because there are a lot of international students there and you meet people from all over the world! So far I am having a great time here and I can only imagine that it will get better.

Language Barrier

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I have always wanted to know what it would be like to spend a day without using language. I have seen this in movies, sometimes romantic ones, where language is absent. It is shown to bring a closer connection when people are less worried about saying the wrong thing. I kind of forgot about this until I sat next to a girl on the train who couldn't speak much english at all. Her name is Jennice and she only new a few simple spoken words. I though it would e interesting to spend the day with her so we emailed each other and set up a date to see each other.
I waited to meet her in the hotel lobby. She brought a friend who understood even less english than she did. I had wifi and so did she so we sat in the lobby for a half hour using google translate until Ryan came by. We included him and discussed where to go for the day with translators and maps. We finally decided to walk around the water park until night and then go see the ferris wheel. We walked out the door to find a bus where Tyler also joined in. We searched for a bus by pointing at numbers on the map and looking for bus stops. It was entertaining and nobody was worried about anything. We rode the bus and discover that no matter what we said they couldn't understand us. This was interesting because surely they were talking about us. We took lots of pictures in the park and finally told the girls we were hungry by using a book. They agreed and we went for dinner. We used a lot of thumbs up or down to signal happiness levels. The meal was great and by this time we began understanding what each other wants without words. She got us waters and we passed the food a couple of times flawlessly. Such simple tasks become much more fun with such a high probability of doing something wrong. They girls paid for dinner but we let it slide after a slight dispute of money passing. We looked up words in the book we thought were funny and attempted to say them for their entertainment and they read english words the best they could of of my dictionary for ours. I had a great time understanding their body language because much of it was very similar to american. It was a great experience and I look forward to more like it.

China Day 10 (Tianjin)

After today's lecture on multinational corporations and human resource management (very interesting lecture) we went to the Tianjin Museum. One of the first things we got to do in this museum is go up to the second floor which overlooked a miniature model of the City of Tianjin. This was a very impressive model and must have been worth quite the RMB. It had a lights show installed into it and showed different parts of the city and what the city might look like during the night time. It also had a video that explained Tianjin and it's rapid growth, plus how it will burst onto the global scene with a new image. We then went around the museum accompanied by two different tour guides who showed us models of important buildings and area's in Tianjin as well as area's and buildings that are in the process of being built. This was a very interesting museum and it really seems (especially with all the construction you can see outside) that Tianjin is on the road to rampant growth. We then went to the Tianjin Financial Museum which I thought was more interesting than the first museum being an Economics major and all. We first learned about Chinese currency, which evolved from seashells in 2000 BC to the RMB, today's Chinese currency. We went around the museum learning about all kinds of interesting things and there were several very cool documents around the museum. I found a copy of the US Declaration of Independence in there. We learned about different Chinese emperors and financial persons and how they effected the Chinese financial sector. My favorite part of this museum was towards the end of it where it showed a display of how the recession started. There was a rotating object with pictures such as Bernie Madoff, AIG, GMC, etc and the caption under this said "Make sure to smile, your day could be much worse!". After we left the museum we went to the Italian Style Town to look around and eat dinner. Dahui said that it would be kind of expensive to eat there, but it was well worth it. We broke into three separate groups to eat dinner so I ended up going to an Italian eatery and winery with Tom and Alex Edwards. I had a 10' salami pizza and it was 83 yuan, which converts over to around $15 USD. It was while worth it though. We then got back together with some of the other guys that ate at a French restaurant and looked at some of the shops around the Italian Style Town. There were some pretty cool things that I saw but I decided against buying anything. We ended our night after going to the Tianjin Ferris Wheel. It is taller than the Power Tower at ValleyFair and, since we went at night, the view was absolutely breath taking at the top. It was all and all a great day.

TEDA International Cardiovascular Hospital

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China Day 9 (Tianjin)

After today's lecture, we went to go see the TEDA International Cardiovascular Hospital. I am studying more in the fields of Development and Environmental Economics, but this was a very interesting look into one of the most advanced specialized hospitals in the world. The hospital was built in 2003 so it had a very modern look and it seemed to accommodate the staff and patients as such. One of the most interesting things about this visit was when we learned about the Hospital Information System. These hospital cards have a little micro chip in them which has all of the patients information on it. This also allows the hospital to have a well filtered information system on all of their patients, making the hospital completely paper free. This is a brilliant idea because it saves a lot of time and makes information much easier to find and hold on to. We got to look at how the hospital packages the medicine for their patients. The medicine is all in different packets which makes it very easy for the client to know how many pills they need to take in a day and on which days. This seems like a much better strategy than the way it is done in the United States with capsules, as sometimes following the instructions on the capsule can be difficult, especially for some of the elderly. We then got to suit up in medical gear and follow a nurse to the outside of an operating room where we got to see the Chinese do part of a surgery on a patient. They explained what the different computers are displaying and what the different equipment is. I don't think there is any way a US hospital would let a bunch of college students come in and see how it's done so this was a very cool and most likely once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This was a great experience and I am getting the impression more and more that there are many things that the Chinese do much better than our country.

Master Kong's Noodle Co.

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China Day 8 (Tianjin)

Today we did not have class and instead we made a visit to the Sea-Gull Watch company, Master Kong's Noodle company, and the SPD bank. I will focus today on the noodles. I've always been a fan of noodles, so I was interested to see Master Kong's factory and see the production process. When we first arrived we were greeted by our tour guide and went on our way. In order to get to the actual factory, we got on a train to get from the main building to the factory. It wasn't actually that far of a walk away from the factory, so I was impressed that they had a train to get us from point A to point B. Talk about convenience!When we first started to see the production line for noodles, I was in awe. Master Kong had about 5-6 production lines in the factory that were churning out noodles literally non stop. As we continued down and saw the different stages of the noodle production process, I was more and more impressed. It must cost some serious dough to run the day to day operations in a factory like this. I was most impressed by the machine used at the end of the production line to pick up the boxes of noodles and put them on the pallet in an organized fashion in a very timely manner. They really weren't kidding when they said that they are the biggest noodle company in China. After we saw the production process, they brought us into a briefing room and showed us a video about Master Kong. They seem like a top-of-the-line company for sure. After that, we were brought back into the main entrance and we got to sample some of the noodles. They were very good and if I had the means to actually prepare the noodles I would probably buy some for a lunch or dinner while I am here in China.

E-Commerce in China

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China Day 7 (Tianjin)

Today we learned about E-Commerce in China. This lecture was taught by Dr. Zheng Qi. According to the professor online retailer's are on the rise in China as there are now around 513 million people with an internet access in China (CNNIC). Online retailers (B2C) only made up a very small proportion of total retailer revenue's in recent years in China in comparison to their consumer-to-consumer (C2C) counterparts but, according to Michael Ruan of iResearch, the B2C market is in for a boom in the coming years with projections estimating that the online market should more than quadruple by 2015. Not so surprisingly, data shows that the majority of online users in China lie within the western zone near the Pacific Ocean in places such as Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, and Hong Kong. If the internet can expand into eastern rural China this will certainly cause the B2C market to boom at an even higher rate. In addition, the professor talked about internet access in different categories, such as how many male to female users there were, age differentials, location, and so on. Another interesting tidbit of information shows that the number of online delivery services has expanded from 5000 companies in 2000 to over 15000 companies in 2010! The USA still has the upper hand on percentage of internet users and online shoppers but the numbers show that the Chinese markets are becoming much more ripe for the pickings in comparison to the United States. It's certainly not a bad time to get into the online retail business now, eh?

Lecture 2 - Leadership and Management

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China Day 6 (Tianjin)

Today we learned about the differences between Leadership and Management and how cultural differences can effect a companies success in a given country depending on how they approach management and leadership. This lecture was taught by Dr. Zhao Wei. I really liked this professors body language, such as how we expressed how leaders need to appear like men/fathers and walk with good posture, treat their company as their child, etc.. The professor talked about the differences between leadership and management and how these two features are very well defined and overlapping in western countries where as these features are not well defined in China and there is not much overlap between the two. He talked about how Leadership and Management are very difficult to transfer from country to country and gave a few examples of companies that came to China with leadership and management that reflected their domestic country and failed, but then changed these features to reflect the Chinese culture and became very successful. In China leadership/management oftentimes follows a paternalistic style that has several pro's and con's. This paternalistic style has 3 main components: Authoritarian, Moral, and Benevolence. All and all this was a very interesting lecture and I never knew just how important understanding cultural differences is to have success in an international business environment.

When the West meets the East

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China Day 5 (Tianjin)

Today Dahui talked about the differences between the Chinese and American cultures. I found many similarities between Americans and the Chinese, but there were also some very distinct differences. We were asked to name Chinese cities and I felt pretty stupid because I knew only 4 or 5 cities. The Chinese students were also asked to name off American cities but they did not know many either, so I didn't feel as bad. We then helped each other out and named a few more cities for each other. I learned today that in the Chinese language it is more important to read between the lines of what people say than what is actually said, where as in America speaking is very direct and there is not much dissecting of people's speech necessary. I also learned that the Chinese are very collectivist in their speech and do not refer to themselves much, where as Americans are very individualistic. We also learned more about every day differences between the Chinese and Americans, such as when we shower, what silverware we use to eat, what old people do in their free time, etc.. We learned about 10 rules when engaging with the Chinese and I will try my best to remember these rules as I go on through this adventure in China. The Chinese and Americans are very different in many ways such as Individualism, power distance and long-term orientation. Despite these differences I have gotten along with the Chinese students very well and I hope I can make a few long-term friends while I'm here.

Temple of Heaven and more

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China Day 4 (Beijing-Tianjin)

We started off the day visiting the Temple of Heaven. Lina said that this was where the Emperor used to make sacrifices to appease their god in order to have a good harvest. She also said that a lot of people go their to exercise. There were certainly a lot of people there. The thing I liked most about this visit was discovering the Chinese version of hackey-sack. I don't know what you call the contraption, but the thing with feathers is way more fun to kick around than a hackey-sack ever has been for me. The architecture of this place was amazing and every day I am more and more impressed by it. We then went on the train to Tianjin and had to say goodbye to Lina. She was an awesome tour guide and it is kind of saddening that she can't come with us for the rest of the trip. Tianjin seems like a very cool city with a lot of students. We ate dinner at a Korean restaurant and the food was some of the best I've had so far. Not quite as good as the Roast Duck, but I really liked the meat that we grilled. I thought it was a very interesting way of preparing the food, I hadn't seen anything like it before. The restaurant really had a Korean feel to it, from the food to the outfits of the employee's. I was also very happy to learn that our hotel room here has air conditioning, but it is a bit discouraging that there is hardly any privacy for the bathroom and there is no where to put our clothes aside from our suitcase. Excited for the first day of class tomorrow!

Beijing Day 3

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I have to make this a point before talking about the rest of the day. Peking Roast Duck. Absolutely mind blowing. I don't think I have had a better meal in years, if ever, honestly. Lina said that this meal is as famous as the Great Wall and that you are to shame yourself if you come to Beijing and do not have the Roast Duck and I absolutely can see why. I intended to use China as a mechanism to shed some weight but if every meal is going to be as good as what we have had so far I think that will be very difficult to do. Anyway, we began our day by going to the Summer Palace. I couldn't imagine what it would have been like to be the Emperor back in the day and have a place like that as a summer home. The lake was absolutely beautiful and the architecture was stunning. I certainly wouldn't mind living in a place like that. After going to the Summer Palace we ate lunch and then went to go to the tea tasting. I really liked all of the tea's that they served and was heavily considering buying some but ultimately I decided that I could find the same product for a cheaper price elsewhere in China. After trying this tea I can see myself enjoying tea more and buying more, especially with all the health benefits that the certain kinds of teas can bring. All and all it was a great day.

Beijing Day 2

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Today we climbed the Great Wall and, well, they weren't kidding when they said that it is a great wall. It was quite a work out. I honestly wonder just how the Chinese managed to accomplish such a feat of ingenuity. The site was beautiful and the people were very nice. Tobogganing down the mountain was also very fun, I had never done it before. I learned today what bargaining in China is all about and I learned my lesson the hard way... I payed 200 Yuan for a pair of sunglasses that I probably could have got for 30-50 Yuan. It was also very interesting to see the porcelain work at the shop on our way back to the hotel. I never knew just how much work it takes to make the art... and how expensive some of that art is. Lina said that the old Chinese phrase is that you cannot be a hero until you have climbed the wall and I can certainly understand why that saying was developed after having experienced it.

Beijing Day 1

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I had been doing my blogs in a different blog that I had created, so I apologize that they made it to this blog so late..

Today I learned some interesting history about China such as when the Forbidden City was built and how long it took to build it. The Forbidden City truly is incredible, not only in its size but also its history and architecture. I also learn about other Chinese monuments such as the Monument of Chinese Hero's, as well as more about Chinese dynasties and how the capital cities have changed over time with the change of rule. I also learned that the Chinese don't leave you hungry after you eat - The food was amazing, and plentiful. My first impressions of Beijing are that it is a very large city with many fun things to do. I really enjoyed the Acrobatics show, the performers were very talented. Hopefully the upcoming days will be just as awesome as the first.

The Seagull Watch Company

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After our 3rd day of classes we embarked on a few endeavors including the Seagull watch company. I was excited for this trip because even though I don't normally wear watches I had done some pre-departure site surfing and found this company to be an establishment with some considerable history. It has established itself to be one of the world's largest manufacturers of mechanical watches and parts. Today it exclusively manufactures mechanical watches. Mechanical watches produced here are of extreme accuracy and detail. Many of the parts are very tiny and require precise organization to fit the hundreds of gears, levers, and screws. We got a chance to learn some of the history of the company as we toured the display rooms. In one of the display rooms students from our group were able to sign a guest book. This was interesting to look at to see how many others have visited recently. Many of these fine watches are quite expensive and I don't think I would ever want a watch with such value due to the fear of being mugged but they are truly miraculous. They would make great family heirlooms. However, I wouldn't mind having some of their more affordable models. Their cheaper models are made with the same precision and accuracy as the others but are done in a way that dramatically reduces the price. I found that some of their watches are well over $11,000 dollars but some as affordable as $100 and $200. Someday I will have the funds to afford one of these time keeping masterpieces!

Dynasty Winery

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The Dynasty Winery field trip was a great chance to see the inner workings of a winery, not to mention such a prestige winery. Dynasty has a great reputation in China and has won multiple awards. The awards show how Dynasty's quality control during the production process is top notch. We got to witness the bottling factory in person and see it start with raw product and move to finished product. After we saw the bottling process we were privileged enough to get the chance to go down into the cellar to view where the wine is barreled and aged to perfection. It was quite the opportunity as we taste tested a few of the wines and champagne. We learned a little about the company as well while in the cellar as our guide showed us around the various wine barrels. I found it interesting that clients or even wealthy individuals could purchase and store a barrel of wine in the Dynasty cellar. They called these VIP barrels and each specific barrel was tagged with a plate describing the specific ownership and wine details. Whenever that said individual needed a bottle or multiple bottles of wine Dynasty would then personally deliver the bottles to the customer. They really want to give their customers the best experience that they can provide.

Ping Pong

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Today we had class as usual and later went to the gym for sporting activities, badminton and ping pong. I was planning on playing badminton because it was really fun last time we played and I hadn't played ping pong in awhile. When I got there, the badminton courts were full so I started to play ping pong with some of my classmates. I started to realize how much I enjoyed playing ping pong so I kept playing and playing. I then played some of the professors of Nankai University and they were excellent players. Playing ping pong with them gave me a great opportunity to meet them and chat with them about my education and other business related topics. They were all very nice and also taught me a lot of great techniques that I can use while playing ping pong. I was honored when they told me that I was the best American they have ever played against haha. I also taught them some things, such as how to say "top spin" "back spin" and " good shot." Overall, it playing ping pong was a great experience, giving me the opportunity to meet new people, share a common interest, and learn more about Chinese sport culture; in which ping pong is extremely popular.

language barrier causes Ryan to go hungry

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Today Al, Ryan, and myself went to Cat's Eye restaurant across the street from our hotel. We all sat down to order and because of the language barrier, we had some trouble in doing so. I would say it took about 10 minutes to order 3 items. We each pointed to the item that we wanted on the menu and she wrote it down. After about 15 minutes my chicken fingers and fries came out. Ryan who ordered the same thing, didn't get his at the same time and we figured that they would be bringing it out after Al's. After Al's food came out we waited for Ryan's. By the time we were done eating Ryan's food still hadn't came out and that is when we gave up and left. This shows to me how prevalent the language barrier really is. Something as simple as an order at a restaurant, which requires minimal to being with, was a complete failure due to the language barrier. Ryan is still hungry to this day...

Getting Schooled in Chinese

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After class today, the majority of our group decided to go to the dining center again but this time with a Korean-Chinese girl named Amy. Last time we went it was during the week and earlier in the day; this time we went at noon, peak feasting hour. There wasn't a single table available in the whole spot! We were not as keen as finding tables as the other students, who seemed to swoop in out of no where when there was a slight availability. So I was forced to share a table with two older ladies.
This turned out to be the best table in the house. One of them was a psychology professor from Mongolia, and the other was an English professor from southern China. They both spoke decent English and were really excited to teach me Chinese once they realized I wasn't shy to talk. I learned the words for chopsticks, spoon, table, chair, bottle of water, and nose. If I pronounced it incorrectly they sounded it out for me and if I forgot a word when they would ask me again, they would just laugh and remind me. I found myself learning the words and remembering them better and better with their persistent repetition. I was surprised when I was able to recant the words later tonight to Jewel, my best Chinese friend.

Transition from Beijing to Tianjin

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Today is our last day in Beijing as we will be taking the high speed train to Tianjin to begin our classes at the Business School of Nankai University. Our day started with a trip to the Temple of Heaven and included a stop at a local Beijing market where they sold goods. After we had a chance to shop around a bit we went to a Hot Pot to eat. A Hot Pot consists of a variety of veggies, noodles, and meat that are to be dipped into a spiced boiling pot. We left Beijing via bullet train and 20 minutes later we were 80 miles away in Tianjin. I thought the train ride was pretty awesome! The train was really clean and up kept well. It was also the smoothest train ride I have ever ridden. It seemed to almost glide on a cloud of air as it propelled us to our destination at 300kph. Once we arrived we checked into the Haunting hotel and joined a few of the Chinese students for a welcome dinner. The dinner was amazing and probably one of the best yet! It was a Korean restaurant where you sit around a table and in the center you grill various meats and veggies to your desire. After grilled you dip the meats and veggies in a sauce of your creation. It was a unique experience and its right next to our hotel!

Day 9: TEDA International Cardiovascular Hospital

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Wednesday was my favorite business visit yet. As Health Care Management major, it was interesting to see some of the behind-the-scenes in a potential facility I may be working at in the future. The hospital was very nice and still fairly new, built in 2003. The hospital focuses on therapy to cure cardiovascular diseases and specializes in cardiovascular open-heart surgery. What amazes me is how fast technology continues to grow. The hospital is entirely paperless with their Hospital Information System (HIS). It's an information systems card that is given to each patient and has a database full of patients' medical history, current medications and condition, and every other importance piece of data or information. This system is a genius idea, I believe. Being paperless obviously avoids the loss of paperwork. It also ensures more privacy for each patient, and it's quick and easy for the hospital to use. I think it also monitors the prescribing of medication, controlling things such as overprescribing, which is very common in the U.S. While touring the hospital we viewed the V.I.P. room. I have no idea if the U.S. even has a V.I.P waiting room, but I thought that was kind of crazy! It was a smaller, more comfortable atmosphere for wealthier patients to wait in. Next we saw how the medicine is packaged. They have a machine that packs each patients' medication in separate packages to assure they're taking the right pill, and the right amount of that pill each day. I think it was neat that they do that, as opposed to the U.S. that uses the capsule container and each patient is responsible for their medication intake. My grandpa right now is in critical condition and gets confused each day what pills he hasn't and has taken. If someone isn't monitoring him, his medication intake can get really messed up. I think the way this Chinese hospital packs pills is a great idea. Lastly, we were able to suit up and sit in on different surgeries. This is why this business visit was my favorite! It was extremely interesting to see the process and watch the computers monitor the patients' hearts. I thought it was really crazy how we were even able to do that. I honestly think there's no way the U.S. would allow random students to have access back there, especially without being an intern or potential staff. While watching the surgery and the monitoring computers, the patients' information was pulled up on the computers. Looking at it I was thinking, 'what if we could read Chinese?' I would have access to the confidential information of that patient showing up on the screen. Again, something the U.S. would never even make a mistake on! Overall, I had a great experience.

Portions of food

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The portions of food are huge here. It is wonder that the Chinese population is not over weight. Each day the Chinese are very surprised when we cannot finish all the food. Today Evan and I sat down with a really nice Chinese student from Nankai University her name is Valerie. She was very cordial, she explained things about the Chinese culture to us and help us improve the few phrases we knew. She also offered us to try a couple of thing that she had ordered, one of dishes she offered us was soup the soup was specific to the region and traditional. It was really good it was made of sea weed. She also offered part of her main course but I had already had the same meal. Her plate of food was bigger than Evan and mine and we did finish are meal and she did. Just to help put this in perspective Valerie is maybe 5'1 and Evan is 6'3 and I am 6'1. This also surprised her see explained that the men eat even more. Tonight we are going to try and meet up with her at Helena's she was very excited to see us and looking forward to hanging out.

Hospital Visit

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Day Eight: TEDA International Cardiovascular Hospital, Dumpling Lunch, Kong Noodle Company Tour, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, Italian Village, Tianjin Eye(Tallest Ferris Wheel in Asia)
-The day started off with everyone looking sharp in their business attire. Our first stop was to the TEDA International Cardiovascular Hospital and I found it to be a very interesting tour of the hospital. The first machine that we were showed that I thought was very interesting was the automatic pill sealer. The machine took patients pills and sorted them according for how they take them and when they take them. It was so amazing. At the end of the tour we got the opportunity to observe were they do heart surgeries. These surgeries mostly consist of implanting splits in to the heart but open heart surgery is also performed in the rooms we viewed. Before we entered the room everyone had to put on a: gown, mask, hat, boots, and use hand sanitizer. This was making me a little nervous. I have a history for passing our when I see blood so I was not very interested in seeing an open heart surgery. The last two times I have been to a hospital I passed out on the floor from seeing blood. Also just for your information, passing out in the hospital is very expensive! You get rushed to the emergency room and you have to pay for the services, cost me about $700.00 dollars. So luckily we did not get to see open heart surgery! We went and looked at where they get x-rays and then the room that they operate the surgeries in. To my surprise, unlike western culture, patients were in the room. Patients were getting scans and x-rays as we looked in the room. This would never let this happen in America. HIPPA would not allow this in the states, yet privacy was not an issue in the hospital. I was amazed when we entered the room where they perform surgeries. For example, when we views the operating room a women was just sitting up and getting put in a wheel chair. She had just undergone getting splints put into her heart. It had only been 20 minutes since the procedure and she was all smiles! Obviously the doctors at the hospital know what they are doing! The hospital was very clean and seamed well organized. There hospital layouts and computer systems seemed very advanced. I also learned that the government pays for a large percentage of the hospitals visits, (procedures, checkups, etc.) Like the United States the person has to pay a percentage of the bill and usually the company they work for pays a percentage. The government paying for a large percentage of the bill, which helps make hospital care affordable for the Chinese people. Overall I learned a lot at the hospital and I am glad we went on this visit!

5/25/12 MNC's Human Resource Management in China

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Today we had a lecture with Dr. Wang Jianyou about western MNC's and their practices with human resources in the Chinese market. Dr. Wang explained to us how the major challenge of western MNC's is understanding Chinese culture because western companies try to bring in their policies which do not work very well in China. He also explained to us how the western MNC's use push strategies strategies onto Chinese policies but the Chinese use pull strategies to bring in these corporations into their culture. These strategies are what really shape the policies of the home-countries. Another thing that Dr. Wang talked about is the two key pressures facing western MNC's which are standardization and localization. Localization is influenced by these pulling effects in which the host-countries forces foreign companies to conform to local management practices and policies whereas standardization uses pulling forces. Finally, he explained how the Chinese use Guanxi and Face policies which foreign MNC's must get used to in order to have a successful joint venture although I feel like Guanxi is rather similar to U.S. practices. Overall, I found this lecture to be very interesting and I realized that HR practices and policies are very important for foreign MNC's.

Lunch With Amy

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Amy is one of the students that have been attending class with us, she lives an amazing life. Amy's nationality is Korean, but she was born and raised in China. She has relatives in Korea, China, and Japan; and she is fluent in four languages: English, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. The first thing she says after telling me about being multilingual, "I am the interpreter for my family. Not everyone knows the same language so I have to translate for all of my family members." Along with her fluency in four languages, she also has four names, one for each language. When we learned that about her we all asked her if she could give us Chinese names. Amy responded "I will make a list of Chinese names for you and you can choose what you want your name to be." I am super excited to receive my Chinese name from her! Amy is probably one of the smartest people I know. During lunch, Amy shared with Samantha and I that next year, she will be spending a few months in Quebec, Canada and then make it to New York City to attend college; only three students from Nankai University are given that opportunity. I am so glad I met Amy, she is so friendly and loves to hang out with foreigners. She also shared how she is friends with Germans and French students here at Nankai University and is actually introducing us to them tonight at Hellen's! China has been amazing to me, I have been making new friendships everyday and hope to keep in touch with every single one. :)

Guanxi

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I finally got to learn what Guanxi is in class today. Wikipedia describes Guanxi as "Guanxi describes the basic dynamic in personalized networks of influence, and is a central idea in Chinese culture. Closely related concepts include that of ganqing, a measure which reflects the depth of feeling within an interpersonal relationship, the moral obligation to maintain the relationship, and the idea of "face", meaning social status, propriety, prestige, or more realistically a combination of all three."

I really like this word as I feel its such a good umbrella term. We have many different english words that would be parts of Guanxi but not one that sums them all up and combines them as Guanxi does. My understanding of Guanxi is the connection of relationships, continued relationship maintenance, emotional intelligence, identity, respect, and face. I've learned about face from my communication classes before and I knew how important face is to Chinese culture. Guanxi also helps describe how one can gain favors from others. Those whom have good Guanxi relations can get others to do favors for them and do favors for others in return. It would make sense as if you are a good friend and have good relations with those close to you they'd be willing to do favors for and you'd be willing to do favors for them.

I really like the idea of Guanxi and how important it is in China. I plan to take the lessons I learn about Guanxi and apply them to my life in America and to my relations with others back home.

may 25 th 2012 class and games

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the day started bright for four of us students . we decided to go for a run at 7 o'clock this morning. we ran through Nankai Universtiy. It was definitely a work out after all the food we have been eating here. After running we went back to our rooms to get ready for class. I n class this morning Dr. Wanh touahgt us about MNC's and how foreign industries have to adapt to chinese policies and cultures. It was a very good class . After class we went to the dining center at Nankai. THe food here like usual was very delicious. After lunch we got ready to head to the gym to play some Badminton and ping pong. Of course the chinese students were light years better than us, Badminton however was my favorite, we played for about 2 hours and man was it a good workout. I then came back to the hoteland took a shower and we will see where the rest of the night takes us.

Noodle Boy

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A few of us went to a Hot Pot restaurant with Dr. Li for dinner. The restaurant was absolutely amazing, basically a 5 star restaurant where the waitress even offered to tie my hair up for me. There were seven of us and we had a traditional hot pot meal at a table with a hot pot in the middle. The experience I had there was unlike any other experience I've had at a restaurant. We were first given a hot towel to wipe our hands and mouths with. Then we received a menu where we can choose what items we want to put in our hot pot; we chose beef, lamb, shrimp, pork, some veggies, bamboo shoots, and my favorite tofu! After choosing the items we wanted in our hot pot, we had to make our own dipping sauces. Everything was in Chinese so I didn't know exactly what I was putting in my bowl but everything I chose smelt amazing. When I arrived back to the table the waitresses had given us red aprons to put on so we won't spill on ourselves. And this is when the fun begins, we got to eat whatever we wanted in our hot pot and I learned many things about the meal. For example, when a food item is finished cooking, it will float up to the top when it is done. It was really fun looking for the shrimp to rise up to the surface because we were all very excited to try the amazing shrimp. My most favorite part of this hot pot experience was the Noodle Boy. We ordered some noodles for our hot pot and they gave us a man doing interpretive noodle dancing! It was the most entertaining thing I've ever seen with a noodle. I also enjoyed the tofu a lot, the soup from the hot pot made everything taste delicious. I hope I will still have time to go back to that restaurant, it was absolutely delicious!

Amy's 27 Credits

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Today we met 2 new Chinese Students. One whom didn't have a American name so we decided to call her Lilly. The other student's American name was Amy. Amy told us she actually has a large family and this is the first Chinese student we've met whom was a single child. She had multiple Uncle's and Aunt's and cousins all from all over Asia. Here family came from China, Japan, and Korea. The languages in each of these different places are different so here family isn't able to directly communicate with each other. Amy is the only one whom speaks all 3 languages so she's the interpreter for her whole family. She says each person will yell her name and she'll translate for them. Amy also told me her names Japanese, Korean, and Chinese. I wasn't able to pronounce any of them but she told me they all meant "snow covered scenery." I thought this was so cool as I also love snow so I thought it was an amazing name. Amy told me she liked to ski also which was cool because I liked to snowboard. She said she liked to ski at some mountains in the upper eastern part of China. I can only imagine how beautiful it would be to snowboard there.

While eating with Amy and Lilly we asked them what they're majors were. Amy is a Finance major while Lilly is a accounting major. We then asked how many classes they were taking. Each was taking over 10+ classes for about 27-30 credits!!!!!! All of us from UMD jaw's dropped as we couldn't believe how many credits they took. The most any of had ever taken was 21 and they said they felt like they were gonna die. We could only assume that both Amy and Lilly got A's in all their classes. I can't imagine the amount of dedication and work they put into their school work. I know have a much better appreciation and amount of respect for all the students at Tianjin University.

Catching up a bit

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I realized today that I hadn't updated my blog in a few days and my confession is that there has been so many interesting things to do, see, and experience that I haven't been motivated to just sit at my computer and write!
Even now I'm not sure where to start, so I'll just jump back a few days. Alex and I decided after class that we were going to go out an explore the city a bit. (See his recently tagged photo of me). So we walked down baidi li road until the next major intersection and just turned left. We must have walked for a quite a while because we found ourselves pretty far away from our hotel. Tianjin has so much to offer that we were just turning up and down random streets just following the sights of people walking and the smells of street food and people congregating around it.
A couple nights ago Ross, Jewel, Alex and myself decided to venture out and let Jewel (a student here) take us to one of the cities iconic train stations. Instead, we ended up in the Italian district. Think China town, only Italian Style. It seemed like we had just walked to Europe! The bus ride there was about 20 minutes long and cost a whopping 2¥! Anyway. We walked along the waterfront for a while and ended up seeing 2 of the four new bridges that have been built in the last 15 years. They are incredibly beautiful and are an architectural marvel. Jewel then took us to a local restaurant where we had warm soy bean milk which is surprisingly good.
Last night, I had supper with Kannetha, Samantha, Ross, Matt, Dahui Li, and the local IEO director Jaysin. I know I keep saying this in these posts, but hot pot has got to be my new favorite meal. Its a tragedy that we do not have it in Duluth! I feel like it is such a simple concept and so delicious that there is really no excuse. Someday I may have to open one for myself just so that I have a place to eat it.
We have all started to notice subtle differences that we didn't notice before. Here is a quick list.
It is common to pay for your meal before you eat it
Tips are not required and are more often then not frowned upon (draws too much attention to social class)
The food at the campus cafeteria is actually edible and for the most part delicious, even to the locals.
Guys wear pants. Almost all the time. Doesn't matter if it is 90º out. (They generally just dress nicer than we do anyway)
Alex and I began compiling a list but these were just a few examples I could quickly recall. His list is quite a bit more extensive and I may have to find it and repost it here when I have time.
The lectures have also been getting more interesting as time goes on. Today's was about HR and the differences in managerial styles required here in China. There are 2 very distinct concepts that are employed in all relationships here, Guanxi (关系) and Face. Face is the easier to understand of the two in my opinion as it is similar to the expression of "saving face" in America and doing your best to not be dishonored. They elaborate a little more on the rules of how to save face, but it is generally the same thing I feel. Guanxi is a bit more complicated. I think the best way to describe it is as a circle of influence, with a bit of nepotism and quid pro quo. Their relationships are based around a fairly complex system of you scratch my back, i'll scratch your back someday.
I feel like I'm just talking at this point, so I'll stop. This blog could go on for a while. So I'll wrap it up by saying that the video at the Tianjin Planning Exhibition would turn even the most skeptical person about China into a believer in what they can accomplish in a very short time. Tianjin as a city is exploding at a rate I've never seen in America, with new developments popping up faster than anyone would ever have guessed.

After class today, the majority of us went with Amy to dining center. It was my second meal from the dining center, and probably my favorite from there so far. The cafeteria was absolutely packed, so many of us were wondering around for a longtime just looking for a place to sit. As soon as two students left their two-seated table, Zach and I swooped in just in time in order to sit down and finally eat our meal. We both had the same thing and chatted a little while before we got up and decided to look for the other students.

I decided to try and look for my roommate, Ross, because we wanted to try and find some soap to do "sink-laundary" after we got back to our room. I looked for a little while and finally found him sitting next to two adults. I decided to sit with him and his new friends before we left the cafeteria. It turns out they were visiting the University in order to continue studying in their respective fields, English and Psychology. Both of them were both very friendly and very sociable, probably because Ross had already buttered them up. Apparently I walked right into a crash-course in Chinese. They had already caught Ross up on the basic terms for Chinese dining accessories. I only caught the tail end of it, but they let me practice on a few different terms. Overall it was a fun experience, and I'm glad I stuck around and waited for Ross.

Came to China to Meet a German

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For the second time today, third time overall, I found myself in the Italian Style Town. Once again, Jewel accompanied Brian and I there but this time so did Kannetha and Samantha. We were all in search of some place to sit down and have a drink when we ran into Pulander, an outdoor-seating, German-style, venue. Brian and I were craving dark beer since all Chinese beer (i.e. Tsingtao and Harbin) is very light. While enjoying my tall .5L of Pulander Dark, singing German beer songs with the band, and chanting "prost" Samantha invited a man sitting alone to our right, to join us.
His name was Florian and he was from Cologne, Germany. He was a very friendly man who spoke great English and was an agent for a consulting company, here in Tianjin to help a distribution company make their sorting system more efficient and effective. It was interesting to talk with him because all the strategies of organizational interventions he discussed with me, are all the same as I had learned in this past semester in Managing Change. He said the biggest difficulties he and his partner have been facing were culture differences and resistance from the managers. He plans to overcome this by using his partner's Chinese speaking skill and great knowledge of the culture in combination with his experience with mediation, to come to an agreement with management. After hours of intellectual conversion and having great German beer with him, we departed ways to find a cab back to Nankai.

Hot Pot

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Last night a few of us dined at a Hot Pot located in Tianjin. It was the second time we have tried hot pot, which is one of the most famous Chinese meals. Eating a hot pot meal is pretty unique, and it would be hard to find a replicate meal or restaurant in the US. The servers bring raw meat, vegetables, and noodles to table for each individual to cook. In order to cook the ingredients you must dip them in a boiling stew with a variety of spices, which is located in the center of the table. After the meat, vegetable, or noodle is cooked you pull it out of the liquid in dip in a self-concocted sesame sauce. It is very delicious, and I enjoyed this meal a lot more than our first experience with hot pot.

The location we ate at was picked out by Jason, who is associated with Nankai University and really helps out with our trip overall. There was only a few of us at the restaurant, including Professor Li, so the meal was very relaxed and not quite as chaotic as our bigger group meals. The atmosphere and ambiance of the restaurant was incredible, and the servers were both very helpful and friendly. There was even a little bit of a "show" by the person who prepares the noodles for the table. I recorded the whole thing and I have provided a link to the video of the performance below. Overall I would say it was one of, if not the best, meals I have had so far in China.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151146899054428

5/25 Face & Guanxi and Dahui vs. Tyler rematch.

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To begin the day of we had class and it was taught to us by Professor Wang Jianyou. He explained to us about the human resource in an organization. He explained to us how important human resources is because china has the 3rd largest economy in the world. With a large economy means there are a lot of workers especially in China. MNC's have established a China center which is the headquarters of HR management for companies. The HR department has a manager who is the manager for the company. The China center helps implement corporate HR polices and provide services to the various operations in the company. The important thing that Dr. Li wanted us to learn is Guanxi and Face. From my understanding guanxi is the relationship a person has with each other. It can either be relationships at work or between different friends. Face is a person's overall image. Their image can include there apparel and emotionally how they perceive to others. Professor Wang said an example of this would be a person's self-esteem. Dr. Wang also gave us some tips if we need to ever establish a work guanxi would be to respect, for age and hierarchy, face and harmony, group orientation, guanxi, and Chinese paradox thinking.
After class today I got some food from the dining center on campus at Naikai University. I ate some pretty good battered chicken with rice, potatoes, and carrots. I thought the meal was very comparable to an American chicken dinner.
Today we also will play some sports again. I really enjoy playing badminton and ping pong. The goal of today is to try and beat Dr. Li in ping pong. After we play ping pong Jason will walk us over to the fields to play soccer and basketball. I love all of those sports and I cannot wait to interact with Chinese students.

Public transportation

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It isn't easy getting around in another country. Not only are the signs are hard to read and unrecognizable but this place is huge! We have been walking everywhere but it isn't an effective way to see everything. I decided its time to take advantage of some better transportation. Buses and taxis are intimidating enough for me in the states but today I finally hailed a few myself. To start some friends and I took the #8 bus downtown to the train station at night for a little adventure. The bus stop wasn't much different except for the mass of people. The buses did have tvs and the windows opened which was cool. The driver was very aggressive in his driving and very jerky with the breaks. I didn't mind because the 20 minute ride only cost me 2 yuan. After our adventures we took a taxi back home where I learned if the taxi is free there will be a red light in the window and if it is full the light will be off. I am not sure what the light says or if they use that system in the us but it was very helpful and kept me from looking crazy buy flagging down any car looking like a cab. After all this we even got enough courage to ask for a ride in one of the motorcycle cabs. This was fun and video was taken. We had a few close calls and even a stall. In china it seems these types of vehicles don't have to follow the rules a normal car would need to. It rode in the bike lane and went through red lights. Maybe a little scary but an adventure at the least.

Today we had fourth lecture from Professor Ren Bing about a Chinese entrepreneur and his business strategies.One thing that interested me about this lecture was Professor Ren's teaching style because it was quite unique in that it was not a very structured approach which made her a little bit difficult to understand. Besides her style of teaching, I found this lecture to be pretty interesting. We learned about a man named Shaokang Huang who went from being a high school physics teacher to being the Chairman of Bestgrand Holdings Co.. It was interesting to see how Huang built this business up by networking with other companies such as Lenovo. Also, I thought it was interesting that Huang's joint ventures with these companies affected how each of them operated business by working together. I found this lecture to be quite interesting even though it was difficult to understand. After the lecture we toured the Tianjin Planning Exhibition Hall in which they a model of the entire city. Not only is the scale of this model impressive, the size of Tianjin is unbelievable and seeing this model made me realize that the Chinese people really work hard to make their cities great. Besides the model of the city this hall had many other models of areas around Tianjin and it was amazing to see the detail involved in the construction of Tianjin. Overall, I thought today was really interesting and I learned a lot about Chinese business as well as the city of Tianjin.

may 24th 2012

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Today was another trmenedous day her in Tianjin. we did a lot of really interesting things today we starte of by going to class.then Amy and Lily took us o lunch . from there we went to the Tainjin Exhibition. we then headed to the museum of finance. next we went nd ate at la Seinte in little italy. finally to end the day we went on the tainjin ferris wheel.a day that was all started with a great meal, a banana.
Aftrer breakfast we headed to Class. I'm kinda getting used to going to class at 9 in the morning. today in Class professor Ren Bing taught us about the organization of Bestgrand holidngs. the company was founde by Shaokong Huang. he began by convincing the government to let him buy the land and from there he wold sell it to big companies. from ther he would work with those companies to help develop their buildings.The professor did a very good job getting the class involved in her lecture.after class with the cihnes girls AMy and lily we head to the resturant.
At the resturant none of us Americans could read the menu she we put entrusted those two girls to order all the food. I twas a great success the food was absolutely delicious. I have to add that the sesame chicken was definitely the best. The great part about it all was that after about the seven plates of foood we got it only cost each of us about 27 RMB or about4 and a half USD. from here we headed to the Tianjin exhibition center.
As we arrived here we were met by our tour guide who we later found out, it was her first time doing it. In the Exhibiton half were scaled downed layouts of certain sections of Tianjin it was probably the most impressive models i had ever seen in my life the looked so real and even all the little buildings were extremely and detailed. The most impressive was the ne in the main entrance it like a scaled down city form the movie King Kong. Words cant describe how magnificent it was. from the Exhibition center we heade to the Museum of Fiance here in tainjin.
As we arrive it looked kinda of small and I was a little apprehensive about what was inside. But as we got to the top of the stairs what I saw was made this place the best plave I have visited so far this trip. the cieling above us was like one bock stock market ticker. it was like being in the NYSE only in Chinese. Since I am a stock market fanatic I found this out of the world fantastic. we then proceeded to walk aroun to all the other various rooms where we saw thing like chinese currency dating back thousands of years. there were so many other cool things there too like there was a Diagram of bernie madoff and his Ponzi scheme. also the time line of the recent American recessin that starte in 2007. This place. made me realize that even mroe how much I really like the stock market. we then heade to Tianjins "ittle Italy."

As we arrived in little italy it didnt really even feel like we were in China .The menus of the different resturants were in the coubtry of their origin , an dof course english. a group of six of us deicided to eat at a french place called la Seinte.adter we ordered drink and our food the waitor brought us out eat some french bread and 'WOW" was it good. however that wasnt even the best part. the best was when they atually brought out the food . aplate like that would have cost about 40 USD in America. What I order what half a Spring Chicken with some Au gratin potatoes. Probably the best chicken I had ever had. the meal did come at a prettty penny for china. it was about100 RMB or about 16 USD. after dinner we walked around dor a little while then headed to the ferris wheel.
When we got to the location of the ferris wheel, it was by far the best ferris wheel i had ever seen in my life. WHo would think to put a ferris wheel on a bridge.after we purchased our tickets for about 70 RMB, we got in line and waited for our turn to ride the beast. When we got on the ferris wheel it was like a minature hotel almost. the carts were completely enclosed, and even air conditioned. the whole journey took about 30 minutes. but it was well worth every second. After words we walked down the boardwalk, then heade back to the hotel for a good night of relaxation.
Seeing all we did today was absolutely incredible. Form the great lecture we had until the time we arrived back at the hotel was as satisifying as you can ask from any day. Im really looking forward to the rest of the days here!!

Day 9

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Today was the first day I have seen real puffy clouds in a blue sky since we got off the plane in china. It was wonderful but the people didnt seem to react towards it. In minnesota I find that on beautiful days many people wonder outside more. People are everywhere trying to enjoy the most of what the sun brings. In china it seems to be different, yes people enjoy the day but no of them seem to be going out of their way to do something extra outside. It has been grey and smoggy most of the time. Many people in the U.S. have symptoms of seasonal depression. This doest not affect the chinese as much as it does americans. We were taught the first day of class the chinese dont like to complain and they would rather hold things in that put there problems on someone else. They also are generally happy on both nice and bad days unlike americans. I expected the streets to be crowded because of the nice weather but I noticed no difference in the amount of people or a change in happiness level in the people of china like there would have been in Duluth.

Growing Innovation

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Today was one of the groups most eventful days. We visited TEDA Cardiovascular hospital, Master Kong's factory and museum, and SPD Bank. I would like to talk about all of these tours, but will concentrate on TEDA and relate what I observed to the growth and innovation taking place in China. The TEDA hospital was very influential and informative. We got a firsthand look at the technology used in the hospital along with some of their philosophies. I thought it was amazing that such a huge hospital was built and dedicated to heart treatment only. I have yet to see a hospital in America which concentrates solely on this. Our guide Dr. Lee described a procedure the hospital performs to detect a rare heart condition in newborns. Since 2004, the hospital has detected this disease in approximately 500,000 babies, and has been able to help many of these children, despite very high procedure costs. On a separate note, I was surprised that we were allowed access to the places we were. These firsthand looks on surgical areas and equipment would never be allowed to tourists in the US, as it would be an issue of privacy. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the opportunity to get this perspective.

Epic 21st

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Today was my birthday and I had a great time. I had a little bit too much fun last night as well and regretfully showed up to class a little late (sorry Dahui). It was also my first time in a Chinese bar. It really shocked me how much different it was in comparison to the US bars. But what I thought was really cool was the amount of attention everyone in our group got from Chinese locals, especially those our age. Many of them made efforts to meet us and take pictures with us. I thought it was really awesome that they were so welcoming. I thought it was funny that the majority of the music played in the bars and the clubs we went to was American, which illustrates the influence and prevalence of American culture in China. I also got invited on stage and was sung happy birthday too by the band at the club. I couldn't have asked for a better more exciting birthday!

Meeting the Students

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Today we had an orientation and met the Chinese Students we would be studying with for our GMEP program. The majority of them were girls, however there were a few guys as well. I really enjoyed meeting them and realized that they were very similar to us in many ways, despite completely different cultural backgrounds. We did an activity where we rated certain traits such as obedience, friendliness, and sports lovingness on a scale of 1-9 for American and Chinese cultures, and then we compared them to each other. This activity furthered my understanding of the many similarities in our cultures, as well as the differences. I learned that the Chinese are a much more collectivist culture than Americans and are also seemingly more obedient. This being due to family values, which are differ here compared to American values. The Chinese and American student's friendliness and generosity are amongst the fairly similar traits of our cultures.

Paternalistic Leadership Style

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Today was our first day of class in Tianjin. I found Dr. Zhao's lecture on management and communications in China very intriguing, especially the paternalistic style adopted by many of China's successful corporations. The paternalistic leadership/management style is one that has a man and a woman leading the company, instead of one or two men, which is very common in America. This style of leadership combines strong discipline and authority with fatherly benevolence and moral integrity. It resembles sort of a "parenting" outlook on leadership. We all know that China is quickly emerging as a world superpower because of its economic success and innovation. That being said, I think that the United States should take a deeper look into these styles and consider adopting them. I found this lecture very fascinating and really enjoyed learning about this leadership style in particular.

The power of walking away

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The marketplace was quite the experience. I have to say that it is not for the weak minded. I myself felt as though I was suckered into purchasing a few items at a price which was too high. But I also felt that I got the best of multiple transactions. This activity was definitely one of the biggest thrills for me. Personally, I love to negotiate and get what I want for a good price, although I realize they wouldn't be selling the items unless they made a profit. I purchased about 8 items for around $100, including shoes, a beer can speaker, two watch bracelets, a Chinese fan, fruit tea, and two t shirts, and an electronic cigarette, which I regret buying. I learned that walking away from a transaction is the best tool to get a good value, and if you don't walk away at least one time, then you did not get the best price you could have got. I regret the couple of times I didn't walk away feeling that I didn't get the best price possible. I also learned not to judge or generalize Chinese people by the way they act in the marketplace, which is usually ruthless and persistent.

Birds Nest

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One of the things we did today was visit the birds nest stadium in Olympic square. We also visited the water cube, which is where the swimming competition for the 2008 Beijing Olympics took place. But my focus was on the bird's nest, which is such a unique stadium, unlike anything I have ever seen. When I looked at it I wondered if there was a certain pattern that was followed when it was built, as it looks like a completely random structure. The stadium was also built for the Beijing Olympics in 2008, used for track and soccer and holds 90,000 people. I found it sort of odd that this extravagant stadium was built solely for the Olympics. Our tour guide, Lina, told us that it is hardly used for sporting events today. In the United States in the past, we have also built stadiums for the Olympics, however, unlike China, we have professional teams occupying and utilizing these stadiums after they are built, such as in Atlanta. To me it seems fairly inefficient to build a stadium and not continue to utilize it after the Olympics (for which was its initial purpose), especially because it took six years to build and was extremely costly. In the past I have learned that the Chinese are usually very efficient when it comes to business. This stadium is pretty much rendered useless for any sort of profits because the only events that go on there are not large enough to fill the 90,000 seats. It has become more of a tourist attraction, filled with gift shops. Yet, it does illustrate the pride and dedication the Chinese show when inviting the world into their capital city.

First day

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My first day in Beijing was quite an experience! It was like being in a different world, a culture shock, filled with many new things ranging from architecture to cuisine. I think the biggest challenge was trying to adapt to such a populated and busy city. I learned many things and got a much better idea of how people in China live, stereotypes aside. I really enjoyed learning about the rich and ancient culture. This is a country that holds pride and national patriotism in very high regard. We visited the Forbidden City, which I thought was an amazing experience as well, unlike anything you could find in America. I found the detail in the architecture and painting very fascinating, asking myself the question, "Why would anyone take this much time to re-paint such an enormous monument?" Answer: Pride in their country and preserving their culture. I also learned how to do little things such as use chopsticks, which I am still horrible at. Sitting down and eating an authentic Chinese meal was also very interesting, and much different than what we presume "Chinese" food to be in America. Today was just the first day of a great experience and I look forward to the days to come.

Museum model of Tianjin was breath taking

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Today we in class we learned about a case study of a corporation. The area we studied was the development of the employees and how important the employees are to the company. The company that was researched was Bestgrand Holdings which was researched by Professor Bing Ren. The company was founded in 1990 and this company has invested in many areas. The areas include high tech ventures, chemical products, plant extracts, construction industry, automobile transportation, digital products, and other places. We learned that in Chinese organization chart it is horizontal compared to the US vertical organization chart.
After class we visited two museums. The first was the Museum of Tianjin. This was really cool they had a really really big model of the city. It was the coolest model of a city that I have ever seen. They had a huge projector above this model that explained the different areas of Tianjin. The model was synchronized perfectly with the video. The model lite up and it looked like a miniature live city! The tour guides explained to our class the different areas of Tianjin and how it continues to grow. Tianjin is continually growing everyday there are cranes everywhere here!
The second museum explained the financial history of China. The begging of the tour we got to see Chinese original currency which was a sea shell! Then they began to advance and use metal and it started to shape into a coin. We got to lift a million dollar's worth of Yuan which was pretty heavy and then we lifted old money that is worth a million dollars. The museum explained the history of Chinese currency which was very interesting.

Museum model of Tianjin was breath taking

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Today we in class we learned about a case study of a corporation. The area we studied was the development of the employees and how important the employees are to the company. The company that was researched was Bestgrand Holdings which was researched by Professor Bing Ren. The company was founded in 1990 and this company has invested in many areas. The areas include high tech ventures, chemical products, plant extracts, construction industry, automobile transportation, digital products, and other places. We learned that in Chinese organization chart it is horizontal compared to the US vertical organization chart.
After class we visited two museums. The first was the Museum of Tianjin. This was really cool they had a really really big model of the city. It was the coolest model of a city that I have ever seen. They had a huge projector above this model that explained the different areas of Tianjin. The model was synchronized perfectly with the video. The model lite up and it looked like a miniature live city! The tour guides explained to our class the different areas of Tianjin and how it continues to grow. Tianjin is continually growing everyday there are cranes everywhere here!
The second museum explained the financial history of China. The begging of the tour we got to see Chinese original currency which was a sea shell! Then they began to advance and use metal and it started to shape into a coin. We got to lift a million dollar's worth of Yuan which was pretty heavy and then we lifted old money that is worth a million dollars. The museum explained the history of Chinese currency which was very interesting.

I got to see someone get surgery

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It was very fun to visit the TEDA International cardiovascular hospital in Tianjin. The facility is very nice and our tour guide knew a lot about the surgeries that were performed. Patients can get their prescriptions filled right in the facility. It was cool to see the difference in how the drugs were filled. The radiology department at this facility uses GE PACS. PACS is the same software that they use at Essentia Health in Duluth. At this facility they filled the patient's drugs by putting them into small individual plastic bags that separate the amounts daily. It was interesting to learn that the government pays for %70 of the surgery and the patient pays for the rest usually with medical insurance. The tour guide showed us all of the different steps a patient takes in the surgery process. We all had an awesome opportunity to actually walk into the observing area to watch the doctor perform surgery on a patient. We had to put on a complete sterile suite from head to toe. I found this part very cool since I would not have this opportunity in the United States. After viewing the surgery I requested to see the IT department. We got to go into the server room to see where they house all of their health information. Users login to the servers through terminal services same as the hospitals in Duluth. They also user virtualized servers to use the servers efficiently. The facility has around 500 employees and they have 7 IT staff to support the system.
After the hospital we saw the one of the most efficient factories in Asia, Master Kong's noodle factory. They made noodles that are very similar to ramen noodles in the US. The process is very cool from start to finish. They begin with a raw material that makes the noodles. The noodles are formed into strips then compiled into a bowl shape. Once they are in a bowl shape they are cooked to perfection. After noodles are baked they add little packets of flavoring. After the flavoring is added they are packaged and sent off to the pallet stacker. The flavor they a were doing was a red label which is their most popular favor. I found the pallet stacker robot the coolest thing ever. It took 2 full boxes and stacked them on a pallet in a perfect pattern to ship to the buyer.
The last part of our day we visited a bank called SPD bank. This place was a first class operation. Very nice building that offered banking to the local Chinese people in the Tianjin area. I found out that the average interest rates were between 7%-8% for a car. The headquarters for SPD bank are in shanghai. They have facilities all over China they are a nationally known bank. They offer personal banking, corporate baking, and treasury & Markets. We got to see the VIP area for the "high rollers" they get their own special area to meet with a financial specialist.

Amy and Lilly

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One of the three things I said I wanted to learn at the beginning of this trip was what Chinese students our age like to do for fun. Over the past few days I have been able to talk to Lisa more and get to know her. Today I had the opportunity to meet Amy and Lilly. They are both students at Nankai and extremely friendly. During class today, Ross, Kannetha and myself talked with Lilly and she explained how she did not have an American name yet. I have learned over the past couple days that Chinese are usually given an American name from an American. The three of us were very excited and felt privileged to be choosing Lilly's name. We then invited her and Amy to lunch. This was extremely helpful because they ordered food for us and were able to ask the server our questions. During lunch, I learned that Lilly enjoys playing computer games in her free time. Amy said she really enjoys getting to know and hanging out with foreigners. They are both interested in taking us out at night and also taking us shopping over the weekend.

Day 2

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When we arrived at the great wall I was truly amazed and immediately began to think of how good of a decision I made in coming on this trip. I have been to Mexico before and had done a little bartering there but it was definitely different here. As I was walking through the market almost every single vendor tried to get me to buy something. The vendors here seemed to be way more persistent than what I was used to from Mexico. Once we were done climbing the great wall which was amazing by the way, we came back down and walked through the market one last time. There was this one lady who kept telling me that she remembered me and I definitely didn't recognize her. She kept grabbing my arm and would not let me go. I tried walking away several times but she kept pulling me back into her shop. I kept trying to explain to here that I wouldn't pay anything for the item she was trying to sell me but she obviously did not understand my English. Dr. Li eventually came up to me and said Alex just walk away and I replied saying that I have been trying to for ten minutes. Looking back on the situation it was actually pretty funny. I ended up buying a great wall t-shirt and a picture of the great wall from a different vendor who was not so obnoxious. Overall, I had an amazing time and did not expect The Great Wall to be as awesome as it was.

Day 1

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Today I woke up at 7:30 and I was kind of confused about where I was and then I remembered that I am in China and am going on a tour to the Forbidden City. After eating a delicious breakfast we got on the bus and headed to the city. Once we got to the city I could not believe how big it was. It seemed like it was going to go on forever and ever. When we got to the end we decided to hike up to the top of the hill for a better view. I was truly amazed by the city of Beijing; I had never seen anything like it in my entire life. There were too many buildings to attempt to count, beautiful mountains in the background, and people everywhere. After leaving the Forbidden City we had the privilege of eating dinner at a Chinese home. The food was great but it made me feel sick for about an hour, but, it was definitely worth it. Once we got back to the hotel I crashed immediately. I was in bed by nine so I could be rested for the great wall the next day. I was unsure about deciding to go on this trip or not, but I can already tell that I am going to love it just from day 1.

5/23/12 TEDA Hospital

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Today was probably one of the most interesting days that we have had in Tianjin. We did not have a lecture today but instead we visited thet TEDA International Cardiovascular Hospital and a couple other organizations. TEDA is a first class hospital located in Tianjin and the tour definitely showed why it is first class. Overall, TEDA Hospital is not too different than an American hospital but they did use a few practices that were quite intelligent. First off they used identification cards for their patients which can be used at any hospital around China and I think this is a really smart idea especially with all of the security risks involved in healthcare. Another think that TEDA Hospital does that is quite interesting is that they separate their patient's prescriptions into individually packaged bags with their unique information on it. This is another very smart idea that allows the patient to get the right medication. During the tour I noticed that they used PAX systems for all of their computer cardiograms. We were also fortunate enough to see a couple of the surgery rooms which was a really unique experience and I was surprised that they let us see these surgeries. Finally, we were able to see the data center at TEDA which was a great experience for me because I am an MIS major and I found out that they use a lot of the same equipment that we do in the states so that was very interesting to see. This was one of my favorite experiences so far and I cannot wait to share these experiences with my friends and family.

Italian Style Town

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As nightfall came, I realized I had no plans for tonight. I called up my friend Jewel from Nankai University to see what she was going to do. She offered to give me, and whoever else wanted to come, a tour of Nankai's campus. I told her I would ask around and meet her in front of the hotel at 6:00 pm to go on the tour. Kannetha, Samantha, Brian, Alex and myself took this tour and I could not believe how massive the other buildings, besides the familiar business building, were but yet the campus remained so scenic and calm. We toured both Nankai and Tianjin University which worked up quite an appetite. We decided on an on-campus coffee house to eat at and once again ran into trouble trying to order. The language barrier has been most prominent with menus than in any other interaction I've had on this trip.
After our meal (which was delicious as always) Jewel offered to take us to the Italian Style Town. We agreed as it wasn't too late and I'm so glad we did. This area of Tianjin is developed into little shops and boutiques selling products from Italian fashion to little gift shop trinkets. All the buildings are uniquely illuminated and Jewel said it's not nearly as pretty during the day as night. Wanting a vantage point to take pictures from, Brian and Alex convinced us to go to the top of the largest skyscraper in the area. We rode an unfinished elevator to a work-in-progress 41st floor that was littered with evidence of construction. The dust that had accumulated on the windows nearly deterred us away, but then we found out they could be opened and you could poke your head out and see everything. Miles and miles in each direction of Tianjin was lit up for us to see. They took some incredible pictures and we all had a great time. I look forward to going back to that part of town soon.

Noodle Museum

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I feel so fortunate to have been able to tour three amazing and beautiful places yesterday in TEDA (Tianjin Economic Development Area). My favorite place was the Instant Noodle Impression Museum. This tour was free to guest and included a tour through the viewing gallery of the Instant Noodle production. We saw how the noodles were made from start to finish. It started out with a continuous sheet of dough that was then steamed, sprayed, fried, and cooled. The noodles were then packaged, weighed, and got a bar code printed on it. I thought the most interesting part of this whole production was at the end when the packaged noodles were placed on piles one on top of another.The robotic palletiging that did this was over half a million dollars and there were five or six of them. The packages were placed so preciously. I was amazed that all this was done by equipment. This place, just like all of the other places we have toured, was extremely clean. It will be interesting to see how this company continues to grow in the future.

kebab stands

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Kebob stands these would not fly in America but man are they good. At the kebob stand we have had flat fish, squid, liver, mushrooms, meatballs, chicken, the other white meat, mystery meat, and others that I can't name. These stands have been a night walk favorite. We have gone three nights in a row now. The stands don't come out until it is dark outside. The stands seem to be a hot spot for many locals, each night there has been hundreds of sticks on the ground. This is nothing like I have experienced in America. At the stands the language barrier is not a problem there is a bunch of raw food in baskets on the table in front of the grill. You just have to point at the food you would like to eat then they take the meat and toss it on the grill. Evan and I have been on a mission to eat everything so far very successful. Again this food is amazing my two favorite things I believe have been squid and the other white meat I am not sure what the meat was but man was it good.

Deeper Meaning

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Something I've been learning a lot about is China's High context culture. This means that Chinese say a lot with what they don't say. Their nonverbals are just as important as what is being spoken. This differs from our culture where we are a low context culture where what is being said is what is important. Some examples of this is water and money and the color black. We learned from Lina that the Chinese associate water with the color black and that the color water is associated with money. So these three different things are very interconnected with each other. Lina explained this out when describing a bank in Beijing as we drove by. Another example of China's high context culture is the Chinese symbols. In Tianjin we had lunch with Lilly and Amy and they informed us that in China you have noodles on your birthday. This is because noodles represent long life in China.

Each symbol has its own story which is very cool but very daunting to me. It would be so difficult to learn about chinese symbols as they mean so much more then just their mere face value. I think this would help one learn chinese as each symbol would be so interesting to learn about. Lina explained to us that the more symbols you know relates to your status class in China as knowing more symbols means you have more free time to learn more symbols. I really enjoy learning about China's high context culture as I knew what high and low context cultures are from my communication classes, but I could have never even imagined what China's high context culture would be like. Its really mind blowing and I hope to learn more about it on this adventure.

Language Barriers

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While roaming the markets and trying to bargain, I have realized that the language barriers between the Chinese and Americans is very time consuming. China being the most populous country of over 1.3 billion, Mandarin Chinese is an important language to know in order to verbally communicate to the locals. Without having any prior lessons to the Chinese language, it may sometimes be difficult to converse with a local when shopping and bargaining. There have been a couple of times when I could not purchase something due to not understanding each other. For example, I wanted to purchase some vegetables at the market the other day. After attempting to talk back and forth with the lady I eventually gave up and went to another table to purchase my vegetables. She couldn't understand what I wanted even when I pointed the exact item to her. I have learned that I could not just blame her for not understanding, considering that I am in a different country and shouldn't expect everyone to know the English language. While talking to Lisa, Sue, and Jewel, I learned that students here in China start learning the English language at a very young age in elementary school. But when trying to converse in the markets and what not, the workers are a much older crowd and may not have gotten the education of learning English. Also, I have realized that the Chinese may not experience many tourists like other countries have, so it may be difficult for them to apply the English language to foreigners. I enjoy listening and learning about Mandarin Chinese, in the future I hope to learn the language and be able to converse and do business with the Chinese.

Learning from the students

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I have finally been getting the chance to talk with students of the university. I am learning so much from them and I find the differences we share very interesting. Last night I went on a walk with Brian, Jewel and her roommate. The showed us the school grounds but more importantly we got the chance to talk one on one with them about life. I started to feel bad after my questions slowly turned into an interrogation. She didn't seem to mind and she even told me many Chinese students wish to talk to native speakers but are too nervous. Besides this we talked about different traffic laws that do or don't apply to each country. Jewel also helped me understand more about relationships. She told me that if you are a boy and you are younger than the girl there is no chance. She also said girls love boys who can cook but the girls wont know how to cook on their own till after college. We then went to dinner and I tried to give the waitress a starburst. Jewel told me that she was to shy to take it and that gifts are normally for one good friend to give to another good friend. Jewel herself did not like the starburst, which was weird to me because everyone in America likes them. Above all the differences we share it surprises me even more that we have more in common than different but that is a whole novel in itself.

Day 6

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Today was our second day of class and our third day in Tianjin. Class was very interesting today but we might have stayed out too late last night. Most of us had some trouble getting started today and the downgrade in breakfast from the dongfang hotel didn't help either. After class we went to dynasty winery where we sampled wine and toured some of the manufacturing buildings. The wine was good. It seemed too taste a bit sweeter than American wine. We got some cool pictures and went on our way. The lady giving the tour used one of our Chinese students as a translator. This was one of the most interesting things of my day because I got to watch how they communicated with each other. Of course they used language but I also watched their hand movements and eye contact. I listened to the spoken words too and many times one person begins talking before another is finished. She seemed to understand the sentence before the sentence was finished most of the time. They both spoke Chinese very fast as we probably speak English fast but they also gave head nods and signals of attention just as we do.

Day 5

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Today was our second day in Tianjin and our first day of classes. During this class period I learned more about china than I could have in weeks of study. We sat in a very impressive room and were also given gifts. We got shirts, maps, books, binders and our notes. They were very neat. We then sat next to Chinese students at which point professor Li asked us to talk about cultural differences. One of the first tests we did was rating each culture based on an average view of traits such as friendliness or obedience. We then discussed and compared our opinions with the Chinese students. I learned that most of what I answered is what he answered as well. We then talked about celebrities in each country and I can to find out that he knew much more than I did. He also knew many of our major cities from New York to San Antonio. It was interesting how much more they know about us then we know about them. I will keep poking at what else they know about American and what I should learn about them in the coming weeks.

Day 4

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Today was our last day in Beijing. We finished it with a tour of the temple of heaven and a very interesting hotpot dinner. But the most amazing part of the day was attempting to wheel and deal at the market. We spent a couple hours in a 4 story mall type structure filled with stands full of goodies. The moment we stepped through the doors our eyes lit up as everything in the store was finally at our fingertips. Many items were fake or copies which made price very cheap. They knew what items looked attractive and the suckered us all in. Ipad, silk, hand bags, shoes, cases, jewelry, and many electronics filled the store floor as we walked from isle to isle. The sellers always threw outrageously high prices out which we soon learned to counter with outrageously low ones. I scored some deals after lowering the price just below there comfort zone and then walking away. Once you got more than a few steps away they would call you back. We then took a fast train to Tianjin where Brian and I met a very nice Chinese girl who spoke almost no English. She was nice and we learned to communicate through expression. Finally we ate a wonderful Korean dinner with students from Tianjin and spent the rest of the at the supermarket and hotel.

Day 4

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Today was our last day in Beijing. We finished it with a tour of the temple of heaven and a very interesting hotpot dinner. But the most amazing part of the day was attempting to wheel and deal at the market. We spent a couple hours in a 4 story mall type structure filled with stands full of goodies. The moment we stepped through the doors our eyes lit up as everything in the store was finally at our fingertips. Many items were fake or copies which made price very cheap. They knew what items looked attractive and the suckered us all in. Ipad, silk, hand bags, shoes, cases, jewelry, and many electronics filled the store floor as we walked from isle to isle. The sellers always threw outrageously high prices out which we soon learned to counter with outrageously low ones. I scored some deals after lowering the price just below there comfort zone and then walking away. Once you got more than a few steps away they would call you back. We then took a fast train to Tianjin where Brian and I met a very nice Chinese girl who spoke almost no English. She was nice and we learned to communicate through expression. Finally we ate a wonderful Korean dinner with students from Tianjin and spent the rest of the at the supermarket and hotel.

May23rd 2012

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beep beep beep the alarm clock went off. i rolled over to snooze the alarm clock, and at that moment the phone riings. "Zach are you awake I hear." it was Dr LI calling to make sure we were awake.I had to stop shake my head for a second i thought i was back in the United States. So I jumped out of bed looking disgusted and realized I was still here in China good thing. I was determined to indulge in every thing possible thing i could while stil in here in China.
Todat we had a very full and busy day . We visited three places First was the TEDA international Hospital. (Tianjin Economic development Area). Then to the largest noodle companyin China (master Kong). Finally to the SPD Bank here in Tianjin.
The first stop the TEDA international hospital was absolutely incredible. WHen we arrived we were warmly greeted by our tour guide.he first showed us how the a card is issued and each place inhte hospital the patient goes they have a card that gets swiped and it brings up all their information. we then were brought to throught some exam rooms. from ther we were shown the C scan rooms and the computers used to read them. My favortie part of the cisit however was when we had to "scrub up" i will call it. We had to put little fooites on, a face protector, a head protector and a robe, we were then led into where they do ther catheeder lab, or what we call stints. are put in. thenafterwords a few students including myself got to visit the server room in the Hospital what a phenomenal palce. we then headed out to the bus to eat lunch and head to Master kongs,
As we arrived at master Knogs noodle plant. we were once agian greeted by our tour guide. From here we took a shuttle less then 100 yards to the place where the noodles are made. Once inside, she explained while we watched step by step how the noodles are made. My favorite part was the the very last step where by a robotice are the noodles were precisely placed on pallets to be shipped off.The technology and design that went into that arm was outstanding. After leaving the building we were then led back to the main building where we watched a video on Plant and the Comapny in general. afterwords we were given the opportunity to try some nooldes. What college kid doesnt enjoy free food? the day wasnt over yet. we then got onto the bus and headed to the SPD Bank.
As we arrived at The SPD bank we were met by Mr Wang and Mrs Wang. we were immediately led into the VIP room. from there we were led up stairs where the corporate banking takes place. Once upstaris we were let into a room that was very nice.We were then given an overview of the bank.Which Dr. Li interpreted for us. after which we had a Q and A session. It was really intersting to find out that ther was a single account in that bank worht over1 billion RMB. I think it surprised everone in the classromm. Mr. Wang, and Mrs. Wang were very nice and I was really grateful to be able to visit the bank.
It was another great day to an already life altering trip Can't wait to see what tommorrow has to offer...

May 23rd 2012

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Tonight I bought dinner at the shop across the street again. I decided to bring it up to my room to eat it. I walked up to the elevator and said hello in Chinese to the person waiting for the elevator. He replied by saying "Hello," and I waited a little while and said "Hello" back to him. After a few moments, I tried asking him if he was visiting from somewhere with pretty emphatic gestures. The embarrassing thing was that he actually spoke pretty good English. He told me that he was visiting a friend at the hotel and that he is from Tianjin.

It turns out that he actually lived in Toronto for about eight years, which he told me after I asked him if he knew where Minnesota was. He said that the only he knew or heard about Minnesota was that there are a lot of white people. I told him that that was correct. I also told him about our trip and the we are currently studying here. He said to have a great trip and we went our separate ways when we made it to the 6th floor.

Motivation

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Today in class Professor Bill taught us about online retailers in China. I found most of the things he explained were fairly similar to American retailers. What I did find interesting was Bill's example about a employee punishment practice in China. A manager would line up all their employees in a line and then have a poor performing worker step forward onto a mate. Then the manager would tell the employee what a bad job they've been doing and pretty much humiliated them. I felt this would be especially devastating to Chinese workers because china is such a group oriented culture. The poor performing worker is taken out of the group, individualized and then humiliated in front of their coworkers. This would also be devastating as this employee would probably feel like his face was harmed through this. This would be an example of a punishment which is not a good source of motivation. However, the Chinese managers realized this when they tried this technique in America. They then adapted to technique. It was the same structure but instead of picking the worst worker they picked the best performer and praised him in front of the group as a form of positive reinforcement. This worked much better at first but then a interesting twist seemed to occur. High performing employee would get embarrassed being praised in front of everyone or maybe was told by other employee that they were making them look bad. Once this occurred the hard working employee would purposely make mistakes so they would not be embarrassed and individualized. I thought this story was so interesting as each technique seemed to work in theory but didn't results in how the managers wanted.

Peanuts Here, Popcorn Here, Kabob's Here!

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Day Seven: Overview: Lecture by Professor Zheng Qi on China's Economy and use of the internet, Market Shopping, Business Visit to Seagull Watch Company.
-Going out at night is a blast in both Beijing and Tianjin. One of our frequent stops at night are our new love for the kabob stands. Every night we stop and eat kabob's at stands, which look like small outdoor restaurants with tables and chairs, on the sidewalk. I would say there is a variety of 50 different items that you can put on the grill. Some defiantly look like mystery meat but they taste so good. So far the best kabob is the squid kabob. It may look scary but it tastes so good! The lady at the stand recognizes us because we stop by so frequently. Last night we were taking picture with her and we helping her cook the kabobs. On the kabob they put a variety of spices which can vary from each stand. At this particular stand that we go to, they put a spicy sauce on the squid and then put it on the grill. The atmosphere feels like an American barbeque! I love this change in late night eating. In America late night eating usually consists of Mc Donald's or some other type of fast food, all in all it is greasy and not healthy. The kabobs are fresh, taste good, and I assume are better for you. It is always nice to stop and have a kabob on a late night walk in Tianjin.

Tuesday May 22nd 2012

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Today was another fantastic day in Tianjin. three things we did really stuck out to me. The first was Learning new material in class. Next Going to the Sea- Gull watch Company. Finally getting to spend some time with my Chinese friend Sherri. It alll started with a good breakfast.
After Breakfast, we headed to class. In class we learned about the online eniiornment in China. Our professor Dr. Zheng Qi or "Bill" sowed us some statistics on the use of internet by the chinese, and online buying by Chinese consumers.He showed us the website 360buy.com. and how it is the largest online retailer in china. after class we headed to the Sea-gull watch making company.
As we arrived Ar Sea-Gull we were meeted by a very nice Chinese tour guid who Showed us the human clock. By human I mean you stand on a certain ling in side the clock shape on the sidewalk. you stick your hands out and the sun will reflect in teh the ground what time it is, We then headed inside where we saying mind blowing. beautifully crafted watches. One of the watches we seen was mad of over 400 parts. and worht over 1 million RMB. when the tour was over we were brought in to the watch store where we were able to look at the watches for sale. However those kind of watches were outside our price range. The experience was good and it was good to see and experience something.new After we got back I got an opportunity to spend time with my chinese friend Sherri.
In life we are given few opportunities to meet very special people when we do its good to spend time getting to know them and keeping them close.Thats the kind of friendship i have deveolped with one of our Chinese Student friends Sherri. As she arrived She brought some Chinese snacks for me with which I shared with my classmates. I then showed her pictures of important things in Dultuh like the ariel Lift bridge and the big ships that come in .i also showed her pictures of American Football. Go PACK Go!! I was then given the opprtunity to just have really good conversation witg her . Even though she doesnt admit it her englsih comprehension is very good.Just talking to her gave a motiviation in life
Today is one of those days Ill look back in 30 years and remeber clear as a day the posiitviy that she exhuberates.I wish my friends back in The Unites Sates could really see what kind of people the Chinese people are like they would be blown away.

Venturing out

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Tonight was our first dinner without any help ordering food. A group of us decided to just walk around and find a place to go. We ended up sitting down at a restaurant by campus before we even looked at the menu. We were handed the menu and while flipping through it we noticed no English and no pictures even. We contemplated getting up and heading to a different restaurant with a menu with pictures where we could just point at what we wanted. We ended up staying not only because they had already set out all of our dishes and felt bad, but because we decided to challenge ourselves. Erik had a piece of paper with "chicken, beef, lamb" written out so we used that and gave it to our server. It was still hard to tell her exactly what we wanted and how much, but we managed to do it. We ordered 4 dishes that were all pretty good. We later wanted rice so I actually got up out of my chair and went over and pointed to some rice that was sitting out. Paying for the bill was kind of difficult too. Despite the difficulty communicating with the servers, we were all very happy we decided to stop at that restaurant. It was a great experience to learn and challenge ourselves!

Cultural Difference

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Tianjin Day 2
Today we had the privilege of meeting our Chinese peers for the first day of class. The first class session was a unique opportunity to get to know our fellow Chinese students. Professor Li had set up an introductory class that consisted of ice breaker activities as well as some in depth activities. The idea was to show how different and similar Chinese students are compared to American students. One activity included a list of different characteristics cultures have and required us to rate our own culture, the Chinese culture, and then compare the differences. It was interesting to see how the cultures varied and it was also interesting to see how Chinese students viewed the differences. The Chinese students seemed to not only know more about the US than we knew about China but they seemed to have an overall better general knowledge of other countries. I found this to be quite interesting as well as recognized how disadvantaged that makes US students. Having greater global knowledge is a huge competitive advantage.

Akmed and Saife

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Last night we to our first bar in Tianjin called Helenas. We didn't know what to expect as we knew that most chinese don't drink at all. However, once we got into the bar it was very much like home but much more fun. My favorite part of the night was later on when I met two students from Saudi Arabia named Akmed and Saife. These two knew 9 different languages. They knew 5 very extensively and 4 just for fun to use. They explained to me some differences between English and Chinese. In America you're grammar is what is key, while in China its your tone. They used the example of shway. Shway meant both sleep and water but how the tone is what made the difference. Shway flat meant sleep while shwaaaay meant water. This made a lot of sense and was explained very clear. We also talked about our beliefs about America. I was surprised as Akmed and Saife felt the same way about America as I did. At one point Saife was telling a joke and I noticed it was a joke by Dave Chapelle. I thought it was so cool that we both knew who he was and we had a great laugh together. Akmed and Saife told me their story of how they came to China and it was incredible. Lastly as we were leaving the bar they taught me some chinese swear words. I obviously will not be using these words but it was really fun to hear what they were and what they meant. I never expected to learn so much at a bar but this was a very eye opening experience for me.

Walking alone in Tianjin

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A few of us went out to grab a bite to eat when we arrived back at the hotel. I decided to eat at the food stand right by our hotel, and the rest of the group went down the street. As I was bringing my food back to my room I realized that I did not have a key. I went back downstairs and ate my food quickly and left to find my roommate so I could get back in the room. It was initially a search for the rest of the group, a likely unsuccessful one at that, and it turned into a walk to explore the area.

I walked down the streets in all directions from the hotel, and I capped it off by finally visiting the market located right by the hotel. A solo walk in a foreign city this large is something that might have intimated me at the beginning of the trip, but at this point I feel comfortable enough to go out and find my way back home, at least in reasonable situations. I really enjoyed walking through the market and seeing the variety of food they had to offer. I spotted the Chinese you would expect to find anywhere, but I also saw some things that were interesting to say the least. When I was walking back I saw a vendor cutting up a heart and I also saw thing like liver just sitting out at the front of the stand. It was definitely unlike any market I have been to, item wise, and there are a lot of things that I look forward to trying during the rest of our stay in Tianjin.

After I returned to the hotel I asked an individual at the desk for an extra key and they ended up giving me one, to my surprise. I suppose I should have just asked for another key right away, but I think it was probably worth it in the end. Walking alone in a foreign country is a fun and interesting experience, and I will probably go for few more solo walks or runs by the end of the trip.

Mr. Lee's

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While in search of some food after our trip to Sea Gull's, a pristine watch making company, Kannetha, Samantha, Brian, Alex and myself found ourselves in Mr. Lee's. It's a Chinese fast food chain that I have seen all over town and seems very popular. We all sat at a table in the middle and the waitress came over to take our order, then things got interesting: I haven't had too much trouble with the language barrier until today. It seemed that each item we would point at, she would flip the pages of the menu and point to something else. It was like a game of tug o' war with this lady. After about a few minutes of struggling, we finally came to the conclusion that since we were pointing to multiple items, she was pointing at platters to save us some money. At least she was looking out for us, street vendors would have taken us for everything we had. Instead of writing the orders on a notepad, she punched them into a little handheld device which totaled up the price as we ordered. No fast food place I have ever been to in America has waiter service, so this was a nice change of pace. My bowl of noodles and chili was divine and after giving our thanks to everybody, we headed back to the hotel.

Helen's, Our First Bar

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The last group of LSBE students to go on this trip to China, were all in favor of one particular bar called Helen's. We decided to go there today after class and a tour of the Dynasty wine factory. The patrons here had the same welcoming behavior we have been experiencing this whole past week. It was nice to party with some people our age as well. Right away, I was invited to sit at a table with a male student and his sister. They were pouring their own beer out of tall chambers left on the table that have a tap at the bottom. They offered me a drink, which I gladly accepted and we all said, "Gan bei!" (cheers). The night continued as any night out does in the States with plenty of people meeting and many laughs. We will be visiting Helen's again for sure, and it's perfect because it is in walking distance.

Traffic in Tianjin

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The traffic in Tianjin is unlike any traffic I have ever seen before. I have traveled to New York City and I thought the traffic was crazy there, but Tianjin is ten times crazier. There have been numerous times on our bus rides that I thought we might hit another car and somehow we never have. Cars don't use blinkers, sometimes they don't stay in one lane, some streets don't have lines for lanes, and many cars park on the sidewalk forcing people to walk on the street. We have had to walk on the street or in the bike lane many times and cars will always be honking. Even with our window closed in our hotel room, we can always hear cars honking. In Beijing, some streets had underground cross walks for pedestrians which I thought was a brilliant idea. Here in Tianjin, the cross walks are above ground and a free for all. People walk across the street whenever they can and do not follow the street signs to walk or don't walk. My roommate, Kannetha, and I got the courage to do as the Chinese do and walk across the street whenever we want. Some busy intersections are pretty scary and we often get stuck in the middle of the street, I am getting the hang of it though.

Online Retail and Sea Gull

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Today was an interesting day learning about the online shopping and learning about the major retailers. Chinese people use many different devices to shop online. There are over 350 million mobile phone users that can use their device to order merchandise off of the internet. With that said there are more people that use mobile internet phones than the population of the United States. Majority of the users who use the internet are in the east coast of china Tianjin, Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong. Another interesting fact was that Chinese users spend on average 18.3 hours on the internet. When purchasing items of the internet Chinese users use a payment system called Alipay. Alipay is very similar to PayPal payment system. There are 3 main online retailers that are currently dominating the online retail market in China. The first is Dangdang.com with a rate of awareness at 29.8 percent. Second is amazon.cn at an awareness rate of 15 percent. In third place is 360buy.com at a rate of awareness at 9.5 percent.
The second half of our day we visited a watch making factory. The watch factory is called Sea Gull. They make some very high end watches. During the tour the lady showed us a picture of George Bush wearing the watch when he was fishing in the ocean. Once Sea-Gull saw that he was wear their watch they sent him multiple watches for him to wear and George bush sent them a thank you letter. The company was established in 1955.

Kabobs on the Street

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I love everyone in this years group. It seems every night we all walk around the streets and explore to get a better feel of what China is really about. When we walk around we seem to always stop at a Kabob stand. The food at this Kabob stand is really good. Many locals also eat here too, so you know that this is a good place to go. This made me realize a big difference between American and Chinese culture. It seems in America we are so worried about the presentation of everything. In china when it comes to food, its all about the taste. We have been to same amazing restaurants that have miss matching chairs and tables, but the food their is so delicious! We have been to some restaurants that are fancy and have very good food. I love that the Chinese aren't all about presentation, I feel that it is more authentic that way. I'm excited to keep learning more about their culture, it very interesting.

Sea Gull Watching and Not a Gas Station in Sight

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Todays class we learned about e commerce. I didn't realize how big of a market there is for e commerce here in China and some of the statistics were crazy. They have Amazon over here but 360buy.com which has about 36.5 percent market share is the leader. They are in talks to launch their IPO later this year and could total 5 billion dollars!

Our field trip today was to Sea Gull watch company. We had to dress up and whn we got there i know why, it was definitely a first class organization and they actually had some CLEAN NON SMELLING bathrooms!!!!!!!!(The new way my western self judges a company) The bathroom also had showers in it which I though was weird since it was on the main floor of the museum and show room and I dont know who would be taking a shower in there (but you know what they say when in China, Find a clean bathroom take a shower in it)

The watches were very nice and we later found out that the factory we were at was the main supplier of Fossil watches. One more thing our tour guide said was that there are over 300 parts inside the watch. We saw some of them on display and it is crazy how small they all are. Once I become an old man and get a big boy job I will definitely be buying my self a Sea Gull watch because of this trip.

Im going to start a little section below what I blog to put the side notes that I made during class and other things that I notices while cruising around town..

-The average chinese person spends 18.3 hours on the internet a week and i would like to compare that to the U.S.

-When they pay with cards here in China they have a password key that they need to type in as a security control.

-Saw the 4th gas station of the trip (Yes you read right I have only seen 4 gas stations since I have been to China)

5/22/12 Online Retail Environment and Seagull

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Today we had our second lecture at Nankai University with Professor Zheng Qi. I did not enjoy this lecture as much as the one yesterday but I still found it to be quite interesting. One thing that I took away from this lecture is that; like America, the Chinese are rapidly becoming online consumers and many of them are using sites such as Amazon and New Egg. I also found out that they have a couple of their own online retailers, for example, 360buy.com and I think that it is pretty interesting that online retail is growing so large in China. Another thing that I found pretty surprising is that college students in China are not very big consumers of online retail because I feel like that is the opposite in America. Overall, I thought this lecture was very informative and it was really cool to see that the Chinese are starting to use the Internet more and more.

Later, we went to the Seagull Watch Company which was very cool because it is a pretty old company. I was very impressed with the quality of their watches and how much time and effort goes into making every single one. Finally,I thought that these watches were truly amazing because they all looked like works of art. Each day I am here I love this country more and more and I'm excited for my next experience.

Chinese Patriotism

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While walking around Beijin we started to notice that we almost never see any Chinese flags. This is much different than America as we have flags just about everywhere for everything in any shape and size. We asked our guide Lina about if we would be able to buy a normal sized chinese flag. She told us they really don't make flags to sell except for small touristy ones. Alex B and I talked about this for a bit and had an interesting discussion. We think that since china is now the People's Republic that they don't really stand behind a symbol as much to represent them. Since china is a collectivist culture we feel that china's symbol is the people themselves as its the People's Republic. I think this is really interesting as its cool that the don't depend on a symbol as much. I love our American Flag and it would be cool to get a Chinese flag but I really like what the people of China do and how it differs from us.

Lecture 2 and Pastries!

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Today was the second lecture which was more interesting than the first one. Today I feel like we actually gained some valuable insight into the Chinese online culture. Websites and online services that we take for granted are present but seem not nearly as efficient here. For example, Amazon has a presence here, but it is eclipsed by 360buy.com. 360Buy.com will be offering doing an IPO fall in America and is expected to raise almost $5 Billion. Compared that to Googles $1.67 Billion in 2004 and you realize that this is a major player in online commerce.

Also interesting was that 53% of delivery costs here are attributed to the last mile of delivery. It is relatively easy to transport goods across the country, but once they get to the edge of the cities, large transport vehicles are required to stop and unload their goods and move them to smaller vehicles because semis and other large transport is not allowed into the inner city. This means that small drivers on electric bicycles are required to deliver things purchased online, instead of the standard UPS truck that we are used to in America.

After class today, we walked back to the hotel and stopped at a pastry shop. I cannot believe how cheap everything was there! I payed 4.5¥ for 3 pastries that would have cost me $5-7 in America, thats about 75¢! Lets just say I won't be having breakfast at the hotel anymore. Oh, and they were all hand made.

Later today we are going to tour a watchmaking company. Depending on how impressed I am by their quality I may be coming home with a new watch too! Everything here is so tempting that I have a hard time not feeling like I'm made of money. I'll be sure to update later if I do get one.

Lecture 1

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Today we had our first lecture by a professor from Nankai Business School. His english was pretty good and his lecture provided some more insight into Chinese business culture and communication styles. We were shocked to learn just how much of a difference there was between American and Chinese business practices. Things that seem trivial end up meaning quite a bit more we seem to think. I would love to see some of the things discussed in practice just for some perspective, and we may yet see that on this trip when we visit other businesses. We had lunch on campus today and I got to sit with two chinese students whose English skills were better than I ever would have imagined seeing in China. Had I not known they had never lived in America, I would have taken them as American students. It was actually kind of scary to see how well they know our language and culture, and embarrassing because most Americans seem to know so little of theirs. Myself included. We toured Dynasty Wine's headquarters today as well. Their cellars were amazing, but the wine was mediocre to average at best. Apparently the company is thriving over here though and their joint venture with a French firm is giving them leverage in Europe as well. I would not be surprised to see the wine in America in the next few years either.

First Day of Class

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Today was our first day of classes in Tianjin. Our hotel is just down the Street from Nankai Universities Business School. We were promptly escorted to the top floor of the hotel and shown into an elaborate board room where we went through orientation and met a few of the chinese students who would be spending the next few weeks with us. They were surprisingly fluent in english and even when they thought we wouldn't know what they were saying their pronunciation was still phenomenal. They would have no problem finding their way around America!

After orientation we had dumplings for lunch. They were all really good, but as per usual, my favorite were the pork filled. We had some free time to kill afterwards so we went back to the university and played some badminton and ping-pong with the students in one of their special gyms that are set up specially for them. Dr. Li showed off his skills at ping-pong when we were done, which suffice it to say were better than any of ours.

Its 8:35 right now and some of us just got back from a grocery run. I have to admit that I'm glad to be done with some of the more touristy things we've been doing these last few days. Its nice to not have to heckle over every item and still feel like we are getting a good deal.

I spilled some soy sauce on my button up shirt while getting eating dumplings this afternoon, so I wanted to find a brush to scrub it out at the market. Who knew finding something so simple could be so difficult. I must have come up with 10 synonyms for brush and they were especially confused by my charades. I ended up drawing it on a napkin and two primary school girls came by and seemed to understand what I meant and dragged me over to another section where they were hidden. I never would have found it without them! This whole ordeal took roughly 10 minutes which seems like an eternity when no one understands each other.

I have to close with saying that tonight I learned that our cultures are far similar than anyone would have ever expected. Almost all of my preconceived notions of what to expect here have been shattered. The people are incredibly outgoing and friendly, the cities are the cleanest I've ever seen, the government seems non-existant in the daily lives of everyone, and the cities are far more advanced than I ever would have expected.

Everyone should visit here at some point in their life. China is so amazing!

Temple of Heaven, Hot Pot and Tianjin Day 1

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Yesterday was our last day in Beijing and we spent it doing a traditional tea tasting, seeing the Temple of Heaven, shopping and finally having Hot Pot before leaving to the train station.

The Temple of Heaven was the first time on the trip when we all started to get the hang of traveling and avoiding the hecklers.

HOT POT! I finally got to have hot pot! We had Lamb and Beef with assorted veggies. It was just as spicy as I anticipated and every bit as delicious. Dahui assured me that we would have it at least 2 more times during our stay in Tianjin. It was the best meal we've had yet and It took an enormous amount of effort to keep from spilling and making a huge mess of the table.

After lunch we rode a bullet train to Tianjin and arrived outside the train station at 4:00 in the afternoon. We reached speeds of about 225mph in just under 2 minutes! The ride was buttery smooth though. Tianjin is every bit as enormous as Beijing, only without the hecklers. The bridges in the city are iconic chinese design. I also noticed that there are fewer road signs that have English writing on them. The flower of the city is the Peony and like in Beijing, they line the major highways and stretch for miles. there are so many sky scrapers here and they stretch in every direction. They aren't the simple box buildings either, but are instead elaborate designs ranging in styles from all over europe and some distinctly Chinese flavors. The centerpiece of the city is a large tower that is narrow at the bottom and top and bows outward in the middle. It seems precariously thin for a building clearly over 100 stories tall.

We then had korean bbq with some Nankai students. Its a relatively simple process and was absolutely delicious. I haven't ever seen anything like it in America though I know there are places that have it. The way they do it here though would never fly at home. They laid out all of the raw meat on a plate next to your dinner plate with juices just dripping off of it. The beef and pork were just fine, but the raw chicken was a little unnerving so close to our plates and then using tongs to load food onto your own plate was strange. Oh well... no one has gotten sick yet off of anything and everyone has been enjoying all of the food.
If this seems like a very disjointed post I apologize. I tried compiling notes. I will actually have to update about the last night in Beijing too, but that will have to be a later post.

Day 3, 4, 5

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Where to begin! It feels like forever since I blogged anything and sooo much has happened! The Great Wall, Summer Palace, traditional tea ceremonies, cloisonné factory shopping, food, shopping, more food! I guess I'll start with the Great Wall because at the moment its the first thing that came to mind.

We arrived at the Great Wall of China at Mutainyu. According to guidebooks and locals, this is by far the most beautiful section of the Great Wall that is easily accessible from Beijing. It was a two hour bus ride out to the location and then a 5-10 minute gondola ride to the top of the mountain where the wall is actually located. I will be uploading pictures when I am able to connect to the internet with my computer, but for now let me say that it was breathtaking. I don't mean that it was beautiful, which it clearly was, I mean that hiking up the steep sections of wall and then running down the other side only to climb on your hands and knees up the next slope is extremely tiring and we were all sweating like crazy. It was totally worth it though because we the views were spectacular, the people were friendly, and we got a Great Wall experience that was away from the tourist crowds at Badaling.

I dont' think I'll actually have time to delve into the other bits for now, because it is currently 3:26am and I need to be awake at 7. Wish me luck!

Tomorrow is the Temple of Heaven, Hot Pot, and the train ride to Tianjin. We will be in Tianjin for 2 weeks while we take our class, so I'm sure there will be plenty more stories to follow. All of this just as I was starting to feel at home in Beijing! I could spend months in this city and not get bored seeing all of the site. Oh and did I mention the highways have rose gardens that stretch for miles in the center median and the curbsides and that they are all in full bloom right now?!? I have never seen so many blooming flowers in one place in all my life!

We started our day today by visiting Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. I had my picture taken next to the Dear Leader's portrait and was quickly ushered in through the Meridian Gate. The sites today we're simply stunning and I am exhausted from walking and seeing everything today. I did my best to remember everything I had read about the history behind the locations and sites but it there was so much to comprehend that I will have to rely on WIkipedia later to sort it all out. The sheer amount of history in at some of these places is overwhelming when you consider that the buildings have weathered almost 2000 years of continuous usage. When you compare that to the United States only being colonized 520 years ago, its shocking the amount of history this culture has; and thats just one building.

After leaving the North Gate of the Forbidden City we climbed the hill up to the temple at the top and were treated with a 360º view of the city of Beijing. The temple also housed a giant golden Buddha who was leaning forward slightly. It was very cool to see people climbing the hill to pay respect to the figure.

After we left the temple we went to have dinner at a local residents house. The food was delicious and quite filling. I don't know if its just because we're all Americans and they think we are all fat but the host kept putting more food down on the table as soon as we finished a single bowl! We were all stuffed and left feeling exhausted from eating so much. We then toured a traditional Chinese home complex that featured a shared courtyard. I bought a print there and will frame it as soon as I get home. Throughout this portion of the day we rode rickshaw taxis from place to place. Small two person carriage bicycles driven by locals. It cost us all all of $3 for 2 twenty minute rides!

After dinner we went to see a Chinese Acrobats show. I'll have video and pictures to upload later, but for now let me just say that they were incredible and the amount of time spent training for some of these feats must be immeasurable. We finished the night with supper and then a long stroll around Beijing on our own. I bought a small bottle of some kind of liqueur that I can only presume is rice based. We mingled in the hotels courtyard talking and chatting for about an hour before finally coming up to our rooms. Tomorrow is the Great Wall and I can't wait!

Landed in China!

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We landed in China today after a 13 hour flight. As previously noted, our route took us north of the Arctic circle east and west of Alaska. We crossed back down through Siberia and then into Mongolia. Ulan Batar (the capital of Mongolia) was only barely over the horizon from us. From our cruising altitude of 37000 ft we descended into Beijing at 11:09pm local time; which was around 10:09am in Minnesota. It was a surreal experience that I will never forget.

As we landed I noticed that the city was considerably darker than I expected. Flying into Chicago Midway after dark is amazing because the city stretches out in every direction in a perfect grid shape. Beijing seemed dark by comparison and when we landed there was little fanfare at the terminal. We seemed to be the only people there. We passed through customs in a matter of minutes and found our way via tram to the baggage claim. I must say that PEX is one of the most spectacular indoor spaces I have ever seen. The architectural style is simply stunning. I'll upload pictures of it when I am able to dump pictures from my camera.

We arrived at our hotel tonight, the Dong Fang shortly after midnight and proceeded to promptly leave to find beer. We found a shop across the street that sold us 32oz beers for $2 (10 Yuan) and we proceeded to stand in the middle of the street and finish them in a matter of minutes. I bought a small bottle of a local liqueur for $4 and shared it with everyone as a "Welcome to China" gesture. I'll upload pictures of all of this as soon as I can, for now I am having to rely on my roommates computer to connect to the internet as mine doesn't have an ethernet jack and there is no Wi-Fi at this hotel.

So the flight was good, the airplane food sucked (except the chicken) and the people here have been nothing but happy to see us! Tomorrow we do Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, Jingshan Park, traditional houses, a street tour and the Hongqiao Super market!

Things I want to Learn

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As an assignment, 3 things I want to learn and experience when I'm in China are

1.) I want to learn how the Chinese economy is able to grow at such a fast rate despite the communist government

2.) I want to learn the formalities of doing business in China. How to handle and deal with Chinese business people

3.) How the average citizen is affected by government business policies on a daily basis

Catch Up Day

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I'll be cross posting all of my blogs today. I have been posting them over at my personal website www.brianvoit.com so these next few will just be filling in the blanks so far.

May 21st 2012

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Today was probably my favorite day so far Here in China. after our usual routine of breakfast. We went to class at 9, but instead of beinga boring old class the professor was extremely energenic and you could just tell he was excited to teach us. We learned about business structure differences between America and china, with the focus on the the differences in leadership and management. After class we went to the Dynasty winery. The place was filled with eight thousand barrel of wine. after the tour we came back to the hotel. The ntonight Sheeri one of the Chinese students we met, was generous enough to gice me a tour of nakai Universtiy Here in Tanijim. During our walk she shared about her family, where she stayed, She also showed me the sports complex. It was incredible. She then showed me where the teacher Building , like the Sports complex, it was unbelievable. As we were walking around the res of the campus we talk about academics,student life, and just about life in general.After we walk around a good portion of the school and said goodbyes, I came back to hotel for the night. Its just so Incredible how the Chinese students here in Tanijin and so welcoming and excited to spend time with us.

Lunch at the Dining Center

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Today was our second day of lecture on leadership in China. I found this very interesting and I feel I have a better understanding of how business works in China. After the lecture we went the dining center on campus. This was the first time that I really felt like a foreigner. I really didn't know how to order the food that I wanted. All the other places that we went, either the Chinese students or our tour guide ordered food for us. To order the food I just pointed at something and they understood that but I would like to get better at my Chinese. I have been talking to some people in Chinese but I keep saying the same thing, so my new goal is to learn 5 new words a day. I want to not feel so lost when I am ordering food. I barely know any words for different foods in Chinese so I want to learn more words for that.

Lecture by Dahui Li

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Today was our first day of school and we got a lecture by Dahui Li. This lecture was all about differences between the American and Chinese culture. During the lecture we were asked to pair up a Chinese student and ask them questions about each other's cultures. It surprised me how much the students new about America. They could names many more American cities and celebrities then we could name Chinese cities and celebrities. I felt bad that I didn't know more about their culture when they knew so much about mine. Dahui wanted our to rate the typical Chinese and American on various adjectives. The one that I found the most different was Chinese more collectivist. They are typically more family oriented, I found this very true with the Chinese student that I sat next to. She told us that she didn't even get to pick her major. I know some parents have a lot of influence in the United States but it seems that in China they value their parents' opinion more and don't rebel against their parents compared to the United Sates.

Korean BBQ

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Today was our last day in Beijing which made me really sad because I loved Beijing but I was also excited to see a new city as well. I really liked our ride to Tianjin on the superfast train, it seemed so smooth and it was super sort. For dinner we went to a really delicious Korean BBQ restaurant. At the restaurant I sat next to a Chinese student named Ella. After sitting next to her I realized how polite they are to their guests. She made sure that I had a couple plates full of food before she even attempted to eat the meal. I kept saying that she should eat with us but she insisted on having us eat first. I thought that this was extremely generous and really showed that they honor their guests and treat them very well. We continued to talk about hobbies and interests. We had a lot of the same hobbies like watching movies, going shopping and going out to eat at different restaurants. She was extremely nice and I look forward to getting to know her better.

3rd Day in Beijing

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Our third day in Beijing was pretty incredible. I loved going to the Olympic Stadium standing in the same place of some amazing athletes. I was really surprised when I heard that the stadium isn't in use. This is when I really noticed the different between our cultures when it comes to sports. In America we are all about our sports and making these huge stadiums but they are also are used for multiple purposes. I know that the Olympic Stadium has been used for concerts and other events but it seems like not that often. In the United States we are all about our big concerts and events, especially sports. To Americans going to sporting events is a big social gathering. I have still yet to find out what the Chinese do that is equivalent to our sporting events. I think this is just a difference in our cultures; it just amazed me in a huge city like Beijing was space is very valuable they seem to waste it with something that isn't a part of their culture.

The Chinese Farmer's Market

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The Chinese Farmer's Market
After our interesting lecture given by Professor Zhou Wei, the group went to the dinning center on campus. The food was really good and not that expensive but our Chinese peers/helpers informed us that they consider the dinning center expensive. After lunch we went to the Dynasty winery where we saw the entire bottling process. The wine cellar was incredible! We even got a chance to taste test a few bottles of their wine during our tour. In the afternoon we went to the market and had Professor Li show us the ins and outs of the market. He showed us what to try and what to stay away from and when dishes would be good. He informed us that hot meals were best to be eaten in the afternoon and that by dinner time they would be bad as they have been out all day. That is unless they were freshly cooked in front of you. I went with some fried chicken, cherries, and two exotic fruits I had never tired before today. My purchases came to 18 Yuan which is equivalent to $3 US dollars. That is a great price! The amount of choices that were at the market surprised me. I look forward to shopping there for the next two weeks while we are in Tianjin and becoming accustomed with the different Chinese food at the market.

Olympic Stadium and Water Cube

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Beijing Day 3
Included a visit at the summer palace where the Dragon Lady stayed during the summer (obviously) and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. The day also included a tea taste at a local tea house where we learned the proper way to prepare and consume tea. There is a special way to prepare and consume when you are having tea in a social setting. The rules are meant to portray politeness and manners. The last thing we did that day included visiting the Olympic stadium of 2008 and the Olympic swim pool known as the water cube. I enjoyed the Olympic stadium and pool as I had saw pictures of it before but it was truly amazing to see the great architectural design in person. The stadium looks awesome from the outside as large metal beams twist and turn to form the shape of a bird's nest. However, I found the inside of the stadium to be equally incredible as I walked in and saw it open up to a massive field and stadium. The grass was currently being replaced so we could not go onto the field but we could ride a segue around the track if we wished. The segue rides were spendy considering you were only permitted to ride for 3 minutes so I chose not to partake nor did any of my fellow peers. After we visited the stadium and took a group picture with our UMD sign we went to check out the water cube. On the way I put my bargaining skills to use with the purchase of some novelty items but I got the impression that what I thought was a good deal really was not. Professor Li's father tried to inform me after the purchase and encouraged the vendor to give me some change but it was not successful. The vendor was reluctant to give me some change as the deal had already been made and I was restricted by a language barrier so I accepted the original price. The water cube was just as interesting as the stadium and had a pretty intense water park inside that I think we all would have loved to jump into as it was pretty muggy and the temperature was 30 degrees Celsius.

1st day of class with a Chinese professor

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Today was the first day of class with a Chinese professor. The professor's name was Dr. Will. He talked to us about how some businesses have failed because of implementing a culture into a different country and their culture. For an example in a Chinese business if someone is doing something wrong the manager will bring the person in front of the entire group and point out the things this employee did and everyone should not do what this employee did. A Chinese business tried implementing this philosophy into an American culture and it failed horribly. The Chinese business had to restructure their management to fit the American culture. We also learned about the top management in China. If there is a male CEO he usually picks a female to also be upper management. The male acts as a father of the company and the female acts as the mother of the company. Today we also toured dynasty winery. The winery was a great experience. We got to see the where the wine entered the bottles and where the barrels were stored to age the wine. All in all another great day in China can't wait till tomorrow.

First Class in C

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Copper Pottery

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After climbing the Great Wall we visited a shop that created Chinese Copper Vases. We had just witnessed our first Chinese street vendors, so while we walked in we joked we could probably buy one of these vases for about 20RMB. We were so wrong as so much work and detail goes into each piece of art. The amount of work that goes into each vase was absolutely amazing and insane. First cooper pieces for the vases are tied together and fired to create the vase. Next they would finely adhere cooper wire to the outside of the vase to create a pattern. This looked like it would take so much detail, patience, and talent. There is no way in the world my big clumsy fingers would ever be able to do anything nearly as beautiful as these workers created. Next color powder was added to the fill in these patters. The would do something like 8 to 10 coats to make the color. I believe the vases we're also fired multiple times.

The amount of work that is put into each piece of pottery was amazing. This reminded me of my Dad as he is an Art major and is extremely talented at creating clay pottery. He can create a bowl on a spinning wheel so fast. This was like what he creates on crack. The steps to creating copper and clay pottery are fairly similar, but the cooper takes much much more attention to detail and hours of labor.

A Home Cooked Meal

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Our first full day in Beijing we got to visit a traditional Chinese household. Our group was starving as we had just walked around the Forbidden City for a couple of hours and was ready for our some real Chinese food. The dinning room we ate in was just a little bit smaller then a traditional American household. Before coming to China I thought all rooms in China would be very small because of the large population, but this room was fairly normal. We didn't get the chance to see the upstairs and compare the size. Our meals were incredible though. The flavors were much different then what I had expected compared to American Chinese food. I felt most dishes had a unique sweetness I had never had before but I really liked them. I often enjoy cooking so I would like to learn what some of these dishes were and see if I'd be able to make them in America. The meal we had was massive as food was still coming out as people were getting full. When we finally had enough we were served pineapple because China doesn't have dessert but instead finish their meal with fruit. I really like this as it reminded me of home with my family as my mom usually makes a fruit bowl to go along with our meals. I'm sure this will be the first of many amazing Chinese dishes we will have during our trip.

ICE CUBE

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Day Six: First Class by Professor Wei, Dynasty Winery, College Dinning Hall, and food market by the hotel.
-The fist lecture was amazing. Professor Wei did a great job. I loved how enthusiastic he was about the topics at hand. If he taught at UMD, I would love to take a full class with him. After class we went to eat at the dining hall, this was the first time I had to order food in China and it was a little over whelming. Before this, we have had meals prepared for us and we eat family style as a group, not this time. The dining hall looked like a mall food court, you could choose from so many different dishes. This made it very hard and it was hard to communicate which food I wanted. I really wanted to try a noodle dish because a man was behind the counter making all the noodles by hand for each order. It looked amazing! I could not communicate what toppings that I wanted though so I had to eat somewhere else. I decided to go somewhere where I could just point at a dish and they would make it for you. This technique worked out perfectly because my lunch was amazing! Another thing that I was surprised about is that I didn't get a drink, but to my surprise I did. The hot bowl with objects floating objects in it was my hot tea. Let me remind you that it is about 70 degrees outside. This is very common in China and they usually drink hot beverages all day long. They do not have ice and they do not keep pop refrigerated. Everything you drink is usually warm. Something that doesn't bother me but I will appreciate an ice cube when I get back to Minnesota!

Meeting my fellow Chinese peers

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Today we went to the university and Dr. Li did a little presentation for us about what we are going to be doing in Tianjin the next 17 days and also talked about the city and showed us different places on the map that we may want to visit.

I found out there is a ferris wheel on top of a bridge over the river that is over 300 ft tall so that will def be on my to do list.

The biggest part of the day was talking with the chinese students. Elly (pronounced Ella) sat by me and we got the opportunity to talk with each other through different activities Dr. Li set up. An example for some of these things would be like grading cultural characteristics, knowing different cities in each others country, famous people we know and other things from the opposite country. It was weird how much more the Chinese students know about the US compared to what we all knew about China.

I thought these activities really helped us open up to each other and to see how the Chinese look at the US and vice versus. I am definitely excited to see what the next couple weeks bring that is forsure!

5/21/12 Chinese leadership and Dynasty Winery

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Today we had our first lecture with Professor Zhou Wei in which he taught us about organizational leadership in China. I found this lecture to be very interesting for many reasons. One thing that I found very interesting was how Chinese businesses use patriarchic leadership which means the employees of an organization treat the CEO like a father and it is like a family.Also, I learned that the Chinese value close relationships and the closer you are to the "Leaders' Circle" the better. Another thing I found interesting about this lecture is that when an employee of a Chinese business performs badly, that employee is brought in front of his/her colleagues and criticized for their poor performance. One more thing that I think is pretty unique is that the CEO/father of the company will choose a women as his successor and she is like the mother of the company. I really enjoyed this lecture and I am excited to learn more about Chinese organizations. After the lecture we took a trip to the Dynasty winery here in Tianjin and I was really happy about this because I love wine. It was interesting to learn about this business and its history. Overall, I am very happy with what I have learned here and I cannot wait to learn more.

Tanjin

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Day Five: Lecture by Dahui Li, Dumpling Lunch, Free Time
Today was our first day meeting the other Chinese students. Dahui Li did a get job at introducing us to the Chinese culture differences. He had us ask certain questions about there culture and we told them about our culture in America. The one question the really stood out to me was about being a collectivist or individualist culture. I knew that China was a collectivist culture and that America was more an individualist culture but what I didn't know is how much control Chinese parents have over their children. The Chinese student that I was talking to told us that her parents choose her major and her college. She could not decide. Also she wanted to start working because she just recently graduated but her father wanted her to do more schooling so she is getting her masters. I found this to be so odd. My parents definantly wanted me to go to college and would have been upset if I didn't, but they never said anything about my major. I really don't know one American student were their parents choose their major. Sometimes you hear about what parents wanted you to do; for example; if their dad was an engineer they want there son to be an engineer, but I have never heard of them forcing them to do a certain degree. I think both cultures can learn a lot from each other. I took a lot from this presentation. Even in the business aspect I like like Chinese people have their guest sit by the CEO or most important person in the room and then the second most important person sits across from them. I think that this makes the guest feel honored and the power distance is decreased between the CEO and the guests.

Shirtless Men

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Overview: Day Four: Temple of Heaven, Market Shopping, Hot Pot Lunch, Tianjin Welcome Dinner

Day Four: Temple of Heaven, Market Shopping, Hot Pot Lunch, Tianjin Welcome Dinner
Waking up this morning was a little hard. The night before, we went out on the town and tried our first Hookah. It was so fun and it was in a beautiful area. It was located on a canal and there were restaurants surrounding the banks. You could take little boats out if you wanted to, very romantic. Being a little tired didn't matter though because the Temple of Heaven as stunning. The Temple of Heaven is known to be a "hang out" spot for the people of Beijing. There were people playing games, dancing, a form of hacky sack, kung fu, and more. It was so interesting to be at the Temple of Heaven and to people watch. Talking about people watching, the whole time that we have been in China it is very interesting that men always lift up there shirt or a lot of the time they aren't wearing a shirt at all. We saw one man actually wearing his shirt around his waist for pants. Overall though, men always, for some reason, roll up their shirts just above their pecks. It is very hot outside but I still do not understand this. It is very common in China and I will get to the bottom of this odd phenomena.

Slapped Around, Day Three

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Overview: One the third day we went to Summer Palace, got massages, and ate Duck for dinner.
- Summer palace was beautiful, it felt very romantic. I cannot imagine being Cixi (the women emperor who lived there) and being able to spend all my time in such a gorgeous place. I would never want to leave the palace if I had a choice. The buildings were stunning and walking the longest painted corridor in the world was breathtaking. After these three long days of walking is was nice to know that we were going to eat an amazing duck meal and then all get foot and body massages. Truthfully, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. In America you could say that massages are sensual and soothing. This is not true for China. They are; very ruff, deep tissue, and they slap you a lot. Our guide said that during a foot massage there are certain points on your feet that tell you different things about your body. When you are getting a massage; if anything hurts then you should get it checked out by the doctor. Say the point that was hurting meant that your kidneys needed to be checked.Well if that is true I think I am going to die soon because he was very rough and everything hurt at some point! At the end of the massage the man was working on my shoulders then he started to slap my back like I had a thousand mosquitoes on it! It hurt! I showed my back to the other girls and there were hand prints! Yet, in the end, I felt so good. I was sore from walking the Great Wall the day before and my soreness was gone. My feet felt amazing and I slept like a baby that night. All in all, I got slapped around a little bit, it was all for good reason.

Dining Center

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After our second day of class at Nankai University we had lunch at the college's dining center. It was a little bit of a walk from the business school. We went with two of the students and our guide, Lisa. We all paid 50 yuan and got a card that will pay for three meals, including this one. There was a wide selection of food at their Dining Center. I asked Ellen to help me find something with noodles in it.

She took me to a few different "stations" and then we finally settled on one. She helped me communicate with the people making the food, so I was able to order with more of a variety. I ended up getting a noodle soup with pork in it. It was pretty spicy, but I really enjoyed it. I'm not sure I would have had such a good lunch without the help of Ellen.

The Day of the Great Wall

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Overview: Great Wall, Vases, Chinese Dinner with Yummy Donuts
- The Great Wall was absolutely amazing. It was honestly surreal that we were there. You could never see where the Wall ended in any either direction. The Wall disappeared into the distance with the mountain landscape. The Great Wall was very steep and hard to climb. Heading East of the Wall, most of it was grown over by wild life. It was actually amazing to see because it showed how old the Wall was, there were full grown trees in the middle of the structure. Our guide told us that when the Wall was first built it was made with the two side Walls and in the center was only earth. The stone paths to walk on were added later. This is very relevant in some of the wall because it is overgrown by wildlife.
One thing that I find to be very interesting about China is that Beer is sold everywhere. In vending machines, on the street, in the stores... and yes, on the Great Wall of China. As we were walking up the wall trying to get to the top towers; venders were selling "Very cold beer!." I found this to be hilarious. After we climbed the Great Wall we had a toast of Champagne and we road the alpine coaster down the mountain. Very efficient and fun way to get down the mountain! At the bottom was more venders, very pushy venders at that. You have to bargain with them and they are very hard negotiators. I did buy some gifts and I bought a beer on the Great Wall. Now the pictures are surreal and it was truly beautiful and I feel lucky to have been able to experience it.

First Day of Class

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Today our new classmates greeted us to Nankai University. Our first day of class consisted of an overview of the Chinese business and societal culture. Through the lecture we were able to take breaks and talk to one of the students about what was just said. It was very interesting because this was the first time on trip we had a chance to converse with Chinese citizens about specific cultural elements. Zach and I talked to Sherri about her culture, and we were able to compare and contrast her culture to ours.

A lot of our conversation was based on our pre-educated thoughts on Chinese culture, and Sherri also shared what she thought of American culture. Sherri said she thought Americans were very nice when we were asked to rate the friendliness of other cultures. Zach and I disagreed with her to some degree, but she said it's because the only Americans she has talked to are from UMD.

Fashion in Tianjin

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Today after class we got to walk over to the Dining Center of Nankai University. During the walk, I saw many students riding their bikes along the streets and sidewalks on campus. I couldn't help but notice each student's sense of fashion. In America, when someone is feeling lazy it is the norm to wear a sweatshirt/t-shirt and sweatpants/shorts; while casual clothing ranges from a fitted tee and jeans/shorts to dresses. Whereas in China, it seems to me that many people are either wearing clothing that doesn't match or super cute outfits. The fashion here in Tianjin is very laid back. Many female students are wearing skinny jeans in different colors like blue, peach, and even yellow with a fitted t-shirt, and maybe a cardigan. Some I have seen dress super cute; for instance there was a lady walking down the street wearing a cute business professional outfit with satin black tights, a tiered skirt, with a nice black blouse. What I have also noticed were the ladies shoes; many of them have unique outfits, but the shoes are super cute. The ladies usually wear colorful heels, wedges, or platforms. I definitely would like to go shop for some shoes here!

Dynasty Winery

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We went to the Beichen District today where we toured the Dynasty Winery. Dynasty was established in 1980 and produces 1.4 billion bottles of wine a year. There was a model of the entire Winery and I could not believe how big it was. There is even a hotel right next to the winery. When we toured the dynasty, we got to see the bottles from the start to finish - where they fill the bottles up, put the labels on the bottle, and the corks. I was amazed at how clean everywhere was that we toured. We had taste testing for the champagne and red wine. I am not a big fan of red wine but I did like this kind and the champagne a lot. The taste testing took place in the Oak Barrel Brewage Plant that was 9 meters underground and had more than 4500 oak barrels. I had never been to a winery before and I was really amazed at how big this place was. We only went in two different buildings and there were probably 10-15 buildings. I also talked to Lisa some more and she told me she had never tried wine or champagne but was interested in trying some champagne. Maybe some day at lunch we will have some champagne.

Nankai's Dining Center

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Dr. Zhou Wei's lecture today was incredible. He told us about the differences between leaders in our two countries, and how their distinction of management and leadership in organizations favors good leadership skills, over good management practices. Since my major is management, I wish I could have more lectures from him. Dr. Li said he has been around the world and is a very distinguished professor.
We also went to lunch today at Nankai's dining center. The selection was vast and the price was cheap compared to UMD's DC. I ran into Jewel again from the other day, who was ecstatic to see us. It was great timing too because I was starving and didn't know how to order any food. She walked me around the complex, pointing out what was what and giving me some recommendations. She offered to buy and I said no cause I had plenty of money. As I was walking back to get my proxy card to pay with, she asked me what I was going to buy. I pointed at a platter filled with rice, vegetables, chicken covered in a spicy sauce. Once I did that, she offered to pay a second and said it in the most humbling way I've ever heard. She said, "May I have the honor of paying for your food." I couldn't say no after such a gesture. She is quickly becoming a great friend.

Religion

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5/20

Today in class we went threw a list of descriptions for cultures with a Chinese student named Shelbie. We got down the list and came to the topic of religion. I asked Shelbie if religion was very big or important in China and she said no. She even said that Chinese Officials are not allowed to openly express what religion they believe. I was shocked by this as this is so much different in America. In America it seems so important to what politicians religions are. When Obama was campaigning people were so concerned if he was Muslim or Christian. Also I think every single president has been some form of Christianity. I really was impressed by this as I feel it shouldn't matter what a politician's religion is as this never comes makes any difference in politics. I also explained to Shelbie how religion is everywhere in America, we even have in god we trust on our money. She was very surprised by this.

Jewel

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It was our first class today at Nankai University. Spoken by Dr. Li, this introductory lecture was very interesting and revealed some cultural differences I did not know about between the US and China. For instance, rainy days are perceived as "sad" days in the United States and they are welcomed in China. Also, they like all their food warm or hot whereas we like to mix it up with cold cereal and cold drinks.
It was at this class where I befriended Jewel. That is her English name which they choose to avoid bad pronunciation of their given name. She is very nice and loved it when I told her she spoke great English, and I mean LOVED it. She would get embarrassed if she didn't know the correct translation for what she wanted to say, but when I told her I could understand her just fine and that she spoke very well, she said it was "the happiest day of my life". We exchanged emails and phone numbers and I look forward to seeing her again.

5/20/12 First day in Tianjin

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Today was our first full day in Tianjin and also our first lecture. Dr. Li lectured us today about Eastern and Western cultural differences. I am really enjoying interacting with the Chinese students and I am learning so much about this country. It is very interesting to see how the Chinese students have different behaviors than we do from showering at night to drinking hot drinks. I am starting to like the Chinese way of life and I think that they are smarter in some of the ways that they live. Overall, I think that I am really going to enjoy staying in Tianjin and I want to keep learning.

When West Meets East

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During our first lecture at the Nankai University Business School, Dr. Li had us interact with Chinese students and learn the similarities and differences of the Chinese and American culture. I learned everything from how to greet people properly, to their values and what their favorite hobbies are. I first sat next to a girl who was a foreign exchange student from South Korea whom spoke very little English but I was still able to understand her and help her out. It was her second year here at Nankai University, her plan is to finish her entire undergrad here and then return back to South Korea. We also exchanged email addresses, talked about her cute clothes, helped me out on how to navigate around campus, and even taught me a few Chinese and Korean words. I asked her what she enjoyed doing and she said she likes to watch movies and shop with her friends. I learned that many ladies in China are quite modest and are very caring toward everyone. I am looking forward to getting to know our new friends even more!

May 20th 2012

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Today was once again another fantastic day in China. After breakfast we went to Nankai University where we had our orientation and presentation by Dr Dahui Li. I was really interesting getting to learn about the differences in american Cculture and Chinese culture. I also met a new friend today named Sherri. She taught me a lot about how chinese do different things and things they percieve as important and most of all made what I hope to be a lasting friendship and connection in China. This afternooon after lunch we went and played badmitten and ping pong, that was such a blast. After words came back and took a nice well deserved shower. We as a group then went to the Mcdonalds we found down the road and order some good old american food. aafter words we went to the market and the group picked up more beer for a nice relaxing night in the hotel. Everyday in China seems to get better and better I hope to continue to learn new things and meet new friends in the days and weeks to come.

- Yesterday was our last day in Beijing and we spent it doing a... http://t.co/EqUlgB1M

First Day of Class -Post on behalf of Brian Voit

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the great wall

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Going to the Great Wall was the highlight of my day, and of 2012 thus far! What an amazing structure. Not until I actually saw it and explored it did I realize how amazing it really is. I learned that the wall is 3700 miles and that it has been rebuilt a couple of times. After hiking up and down it, it made me appreciate the time and effort that was put in by the million people who built it. I also cannot imagine going to battle and having to travel by way of the wall during war, as I was completely exhausted after just having hiked only 2 or 3 miles on it! The intricacy of the Great Wall and all time spent building it further illustrates the pride, commitment, and dedication the Chinese have had since the beginning of their heritage. I also got my first taste of bargaining with local vendors near the wall! It is amazing how much the price of a good will drop if only you walk away a couple of times! I really enjoyed the great views the Wall provided, as well as the wonderful experience of exploring the ancient Chinese cultural landmark.

1st day at Naikai Business School

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Today was a great day in Tianjin. We got up and went to the business school which is just a few blocks down the road. The entire group went up to the top floor to the very nice conference room which we learned about the Tianjin culture and geography. Today we discussed what Americans think of Chinese students and what Chinese students think of Americans. I met a Chinese college student her name was Ella. She was a very nice Chinese girl. She helped me and Eric understand the Chinese culture. After our lecture we went to get my favorite Chinese food Pot STICKERS! After lunch we played ping pong and badminton. I found it very fun to play pong with Dr. Li he beat me but we will have a rematch. It was really fun and a good exercise. All around another fun day!

Day One in Beijing

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Day One: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Acrobat Show, Lunch at someone's home, and dinner at large restaurant.
-Waking up this morning was different. I did not have a clock and there are no clocks in the hotel room. I was nervous that I was sleeping in so I turned on the television to try to find a news station to check the time. All of the news was obviously in Chinese and I didn't find anything with the time, down in the bottom corner. I was so worried to over sleep I went downstairs to the front lobby in my pajamas to check the clock, that I remembered seeing the night before. We went to bed around 1:30 and it was 5:15. The same doorman was still on duty. He probably thought this little crazy America was already lost after only being in China for 4 hours. Needless to say not having a cellphone put a damper on my normal routine right away.
Overall, the first day was amazing! I cannot believe how much we fit into our schedule and everything was we did was so special. We honestly couldn't have started the trip off in a better way.

Day One or Two?

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- Day One or Two: Late night Start: Getting here on Wednesday Morning, Meeting Lina.
-Leaving on Monday evening and looking forward to a long road ahead... I was surprised as how comfortable the flight was. The 13 hours went by pretty fast. Taking 2 long naps and watching two movies was very comfortable on the flight and Evan and Matt were great to sit by. Then getting to the Bejing airport was amazing. It was a very large airport and surreal that we were finally there. It was 12:30am by the time we had got on the plane and headed for our hotel. Everyone on the bus was immediately taking pictures of everything we set our eyes on. This is also when we met Lina. She is so sweet! I am excited for her to be our tour guide for this trip! Lina also pointed out that it was technically Wednesday Morning! This amazed me! Where did Tuesday go? We left Monday night and arrived Wednesday morning. This gives me the clue that there is going to be some jet lag ahead.

Questions

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1. I would love to learn more about their culture through their food.
2. I want to learn about the business and economic decisions.
3. I want to learn more about what the Chinese think American culture is like.

Lisa

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We walked to Naikai University today for our first day of class. I sat next to one of the Chinese students named Lisa. Dr. Li did our lecture today. He had us interact with the Chinese students to see how much we know about the other person's country. Lisa was really excited for this activity. We had to name as many cities as we could. I only knew four cities in China and Lisa knew 5 cities in America - New York, Washington, Houston, Los Angeles, and Duluth. I told her other big cities in America and she was so interested and excited to learn about them. Dr. Li also lectured on the differences between Chinese and Americans. For example, on a culture dimension scale for long-term orientation, China is at 100, while USA is at 29. Dr. Li explained how many Chinese are still friends with people from their elementary school or middle school, while college kids in America have few friends that they still keep in contact with from high school. He hopes we are able to stay friends with the Chinese students. Lisa and I exchanged email addresses so I hope we are able to also. Later in the day we all went to play bad-mitten and table tennis at the university, but I just talked to Lisa more to get to know her. We talked more about the differences between our two cultures. She also said she likes watching Desperate Housewives and Gossip Girls and I told her a few other American shows to watch. Her roommates want to meet us so hopefully one day she will take us to a KTV (karaoke). Lisa said she would take the girls shopping on the weekend too.

2nd Day in Beijing

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Our second day in Beijing was something that I was excited for way before our trip! On the second day in Beijing we climbed the Great Wall of China. I was really excited that we got to go to the more scenic side because it was very beautiful. The views were so breath-taking! Lina our tour guide told us that you're considered a hero if you walked the Great Wall. I have never sweated so much in my entire life, walking up and down the great wall was so difficult! It is such a big accomplishment to say that we have climbed the great wall of china. When I was walking on the great wall I kept thinking about how amazing that this was built so long ago and yet it is still standing. The Great Wall has so much history, it was so cool to actually be walking on it. After walking on the great wall we did a little bit of shopping at the great wall. I wanted a t-shirt since I felt it was such a big accomplishment. The lady first had the t-shirt at 385 yuan, the start the price so incredibly high for an item. I finally got the price down to 25 yuan. It seems that it doesn't matter what the price is for the items they sell, they always start it off so high. They also were very pushy I wanted to walk away but she would grab me to keep me close to her booth. I'm not sure how much a like bartering because I don't know how low I can go. I'm sure I will get better at it though.

5/19/12 Last day in Beijing and arrival to Tianjin

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Today was our last day in Beijing which was kind of sad but also exciting because I know we have a lot more time here in China. To start the day off we went to the Temple of Heaven which is another truly amazing landmark in Beijing. i thought it was interesting when Lina (our tour guide) told us that they use to perform human sacrifices at this temple. Then we went to a shopping mall which was really fun because they sold a lot of knock-off American brands and it was especially fun bartering with the sales clerks. Next, we took a bullet train to Tianjin which was exciting because I have never been on a train that fast. Finally, we arrived at our hotel in Tianjin and had dinner with a couple of the Chinese students which was very exciting for me because it was nice to talk to people our own age and I learned a little bit about their culture. I found out that many of the students here do not like to drink alcohol like many American students do. Also, I noticed that they are just as interested about learning our culture as we are about theirs. I am excited to learn more about their way of life and their view on the world.

5/18/12 Summer Palace and Olympic Stadium

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Today was another amazing day! First we went to the Summer Palace which is one of my favorite things that we have seen in Beijing because it was really old and it was surprising that it is still standing. It was also very interesting to learn that only one person lived in the entire palace because it was so huge. Seeing the palace really shows that the Chinese value their history and that they will go to great lengths to preserve their landmarks. We also were able to see the Birds Nest and the Water Cube which was really cool to see as well because both of these structures are so unique and intricate. You could really tell that China really took a lot of pride in hosting the Olympics. Another thing that we were able to see was a Chinese tea house which was also very cool because they have a very keen knowledge about tea and how it is good for your body. Overall, today was a really amazing day and I learned a lot about the Chinese culture.

Saturday May 19th 2012

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Today was another great day. It was our last in Beijing, We went to the Temple of Heaven which like the forbidden city adn The Summer Palace Was indescribable with words. The Chinexe architecture is phenominal. The then Went to the Market. Where we were able to bargain with the locals over such items as electronics clothes nic nacs etc. After lunch we did a little more bargaining and then headed to the train station where we took a bullet train to tanijin.The Bullet trains go approximately 200mph. After we arrived in Tanijin we met our Chinese Friends Marty, Ala, and Susan.and our leader here here LISa ,who would be with us for the 2 and a half weeks we are here in Tanijin We then went to eat at a Korean style resturant. The Food was absolutely delicious. After dinner we head to the Carefour Supermarket. afterwords we came back to the Hotel for the night. WOW what an amazing trip so far I wish my family was here to see how beautiful this country really is. .

Chinese Super Market aint no Cub Foods

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We went to our first Chinese super market today and my how different it was. First off the carts have turning wheels both in the front and back so you can do some pretty sweet tricks with your cart while grocery shopping. I think it is meant to enhance your shopping time or just make it easier for you to move your cart out of the way because there are so many people in there.

The first thing that caught my eye was the live fish wells where you could buy live fish. I'm not talking about just one but literally like a whole department of fish wells with fish and shrimp, it was a great smell to say the least.

A couple more cool things the grocery store had were little shops insides and and escalator to a second floor with more shops.

1st day in Tianjin

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The first place we visited today was the temple of heaven. The temple of heaven is a place where Chinese people can exercise and pray. We also visited the electronic market which had many cool toys from watches to headphones. To buy a product the vendor has very high starting price for many cheap items such as a laser pointer. The vendor starts at 380 and I got him down to 30 yuan. I find it a pretty fun game negotiating a price. At lunch we ate at a hot pot. When I was eating there I would cook my vegetables and meat into the boiling water. Our tour guide Lynna told us to cook the meat for 3min and the vegetables for 5min. We had to get to Tianjin today to get settled into our new hotel rooms to begin our studies. We left Beijing and took a train to Tianjin it took about 40 min it was very fast since it was 76 miles. The train reached speeds close to 200mph and it was very very smooth. It was the fastest and smoothest train I have ever been on. Once we got to Tianjin we ate dinner with Chinese college students. I was able to talk to Martin and he told me about how he is a MIS major which is the same as mine.

summer palace

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Our first adventure of the day we went to the beautiful summer palace. The queen was the only one who stayed in this huge place. We visited the huge Buddha which was at the top of the palace which it is one of the rarest of them all. The queen that lived in the palace lived the high class life. She had the entire place to herself in the summer and was waited on hand and foot. Story says that she had over 120+ different dishes that could feed over 5000 people but it was all to herself. She used stainless steel chop sticks to see if they changed color if there was poison in the food. She was constantly worried if people would poison her food. After the Summer palace we visited the Olympic stadium. The Olympic stadium in Beijing is one of the biggest events in china. The track and field building is made of bend metal cubical beams that were in a strange but impressive looking design. The track and field stadium holds 90,000 people during the Olympic Games. We also visited the water cube which held the swimming pool that Michael Phelps won 8 gold Olympic metals. This was my favorite part of the Olympic Complex because I was a swimmer in high school. After the Olympic complex we went to a place that specialized in tea. We got to test tea from dragon tea to fruit tea. The tea was very good I enjoyed the tea that is spouse to help people who are always on the computer. I really enjoyed the pecking duck at the fancy restaurant that we went to. That was the first time I had duck and it was very good. To end the night majority of the students went to go get a foot massage at a place that was walking distance from our hotel. Overall a great day!

Bye-Bye Beijing

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Farewell Beijing, hello Tianjin! Today was the last day in Beijing, and what's even more depressing, it was the last day with Lina.. She was our fantastic tour guide who did an outstanding job providing background info on the historical sites while also introducing us to Beijing's finest in entertainment and personal health, I'll miss her.
We took a train to Tianjin from Beijing that reached speeds of 300 km/h. The trip seemed to be over just as soon as we left the station, why isn't transportation like that more readily available in the states? A train like that would make a trip from Duluth to the twin cities seem like an eye blink. What a shame...
Tianjin is a great city; not nearly as crowded as Beijing and getting to know college students who actually can converse in some English is a relief. We had dinner at a Korean style BBQ and I got to know a girl named Ellen who goes to the university. She is a Human Resource Management major lives in a dorm with three other roommates. Her free time is spent a lot like college girls in the states; either watching movies, going out to eat, and of course shopping. I'm excited to get to know more students and see more similarities like this between our two cultures.

Architecture at It's Finest

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Beijing continues to blow my mind with its architecture prowess. Today we went to the Summer Palace, the Olympic Stadium, and the Water Cube: three incredible man-made creations. The Summer Palace buildings were riddled with intricate designs and great back stories. The covered walkways that ran around the palace had hundreds of beams holding up the roof, all with a different painting on them. All of them were hand painted and they ranged from a tiger to nature scenes and were all beautiful. Another great building in the Summer Palace was the worshiping tower an emperor had made for his mother's 60th birthday. This palace was made to worship a 24-handed Budha in the tower at the top of the hill, over-looking the grounds and lake, and was intimidating at first glance. Unlike the statue at the top of the Forbidden City, I noticed there was no place for visitors to kneel and bow here, wonder why.. Either way, that statue was my favorite part of the palace.
The Olympic Stadium, or Bird's Nest, is a grand soccer/track & field arena. The stadium had 90,000 seats for the 2008 Olympics and was also the location for the notorious opening ceremony with the dancers and drummers. They had that video in cycle on a big screen TV within the arena, and I had goosebumps just imagining what it would be like to be there when that happened. This stadium and the Water Cube, made Beijing a perfect place to host the Olympics.

Crafty Street Vendors

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"You are not a hero, until you have climbed the Great Wall." This Chinese saying was said many times by our tour guide Lina, and after completing the trek that is exactly how I felt. I have never had to go up and down so many stairs in my life, from very steep to relatively flat, they nearly got the best of me. I was exhausted at the end but riding the toboggan down at the end was too much fun. It was this day that I also encountered my first street vendor.
We had some time before our bus would leave for the hotel, and there was plenty of shopping opportunities to take advantage of. The kiosks were filled with random merchandise from chopsticks to silk robes and were being peddled with great tenacity. My first encounter with a vendor was over a t-shirt that caught my eye. As soon as she saw me looking at her goods, she immediately interacted with me, asked for my name, and invited me inside her tent. Once in there, she began the bargaining. She blocked the path out and began pulling all the t-shirts out she could; different sizes, different designs, and colors. She was rambling off prices the whole time too. Initially, she started at 120RNB but it took tons of haggling to finally walk out with 50RNB (which, i found out later, is too much for that kind of t-shirt). Either way, I was hooked and enjoyed haggling with vendor after vendor until it was time to board our bus.

Day 4

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Today we arrived in Tianjin, China. We had a "welcoming dinner" with some of the Chinese students at a restaurant right next to our hotel. There were three girls and two boys that ate with the 19 of us. I sat near a Chinese student named Martin. He has been with UMD students every time they visit Tianjin for the past four years and he will be graduating in July. We bombarded him with questions for most of the dinner and I was so surprised how patient, open, kind, and willing he was to answer our questions. I am so interested in what the Chinese students like to do for fun and I felt like I got to know Martin very well. He also showed us how to grill our food at the table and explained what some foods were and helped me use my chop sticks. After dinner, Martin walked all of the UMD students to Carrefour (kind of like Wal-Mart) and showed us around. We plan on having a celebratory party for Martin graduating college in July. I am really excited to know a local because I think it will be so helpful.

Last Day in Beijing

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Our last day in Beijing was a great way to end our stay there, we started with a trip to the temple of heaven and went to the shopping mall afterward, following lunch at a hot pot restaurant. My most favorite part of the day was the temple of heaven tour. I learned that the area is four times larger than the forbidden city, and learned the many uses of the area. I enjoyed learning about the echo wall in the temple of heaven. It has been proven that if one person were to quietly speak to the black part of the wall near the entrance, we could hear what that person says about 50 meters away by listening to the wall. What I also liked about this area were the marble tiles; if you stand on the first, second, or third marble tile and clap, you are able to hear an echo of your clap one or two times depending on what marble tile you are standing on. Lastly, tourists enjoy standing on the marble circle because it is apparently the closest interaction they can get to heaven. Therefore they stand and pray on the marble circle. My time in Beijing has been amazing, I hope I will be able to visit the city again in the near future and spend more time there. I would love to explore the city more and learn about Beijing's history.

First Day in Tianjin

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Today we finished our tour of Beijing. Our trip to Beijing was wrapped up by visiting the Temple of Heaven, and then later shopping at a mart. The Temple of Heaven was a pretty cool experience. Various components of China's culture were on display, and we were able to view many of them in the same spot. There are many different activities going on, and one could spend an entire day participating in just one of them. A few of us had a lot fun playing with the hacky sack esque toys that many of the vendors were selling. The structures at this location very eye-catching, and provided a completely different form of entertainment to what was previously mentioned.

After we left the temple, we went to mart that had a ton of vendors with some pretty cool stuff. We all got to experience negotiating with the vendors in full force today. Since all of us are in business school it's important to experience any form of negotiation before we enter our respective positions. It was a lot of fun, and although the vendors were trying to get as much money as they can most of them were very friendly. I purchased a few items, and overall I was extremely satisfied with the experience.

The Doedenaters first day in Beijing

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Day 1
The day finally came and I made it to China! We left MSP at 610 and headed to ORD. Our flight from ORD left at around 9 930 I can't remember but that is allowed after a 13 hour flight. One thing I noticed right away was how much bigger the 777 is than most planes I have flew on. Sitting down in your seat you dont feel as cramped since you can barely even touch the ceiling inside the thing. It was also welcoming that the Chinese people around us (mostly students on the way home for the summer) all introduced themselves and most of us in the group became good with the person next to us.
The flight wasn't to bad for the first six hours, then my butt started to hurt and I wanted to get out of there. That was prob the only problem I had and other had as well is that the seats weren't that comfortable. I finally put the pillow and blanket what they gave us for the flight under me for some extra cushion that helped a little bit until I was listening to music on our personal tvs and Samantha decided to click the flight map on my tv, lets just say my tv didnt work for the rest of the flight so it was back to trying to sleep ... NO dad I did not sleep most of the flight.
One thing that really surprised me was the amount of service and food and drinks we received on the flight. We had three meals and at least six opportunities for the drink cart not to mention they left water in the front of our section that we could get ourselves when we got up to walk around or go to the bathroom. Overall the flight went by pretty fast once you got over your butt killing you and we were landed in Beijing!
Getting through immigration took maybe 5 minutes and we didnt even need to stop at customs, waiting for our bags at the baggage claim is what took the longest. I swear all of our bags were put on that plain first :)
After getting our bags we headed out and saw Dahui and Lina (our tour guide in Beijing) they brought us to our bus and we were of to our hotel which is 45 minutes from the airport, Lina said during they day it would take 2 hours with all the traffic in Beijing. Haha the first thing you notice is how crazy the drivers are here Im going to need to take a video to show you people back home how wild they are.
Im starting to get tired of writing but Ill try and talk about our hotel quick. When you get into your hotel room there is a slot on the wall to put a room card in. You need to have a room card in if you want to use the power in the room. No key in = no power to the room. I think this is a great idea to save energy since how often do you just leave lights on in your hotel room when you leave. Another thing that I really like is that between me and Reigns beds are light switches for every light in the room so you can turn them on and off from your bed!
After getting settled in to our rooms we went across the street to a hole in the wall market and Dahui bought us all a huge thing of water and then we all bought big bottles of beer for 5 yuen. Which is less than 1 dollar US. 1 US=6.3 yuen. We just toasted to china and celebrated a girl on the trips 21 birthday and then headed to bed. Tomorrow is breakfast and the Forbidden city. My China adventure has started.

Bargaining

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Today we went to the Great Wall of China. Never did I think that I would be provided with an opportunity as such, but then again I never thought I would ever venture to China either. I have been to less than 5 states and never out of the country. The Great Wall of China was a magnificent thing to experience. It was also my first chance to exercise my bargaining skills. After our morning at the Great Wall we had the opportunity to do some shopping. At the bottom of the Great Wall there was a stretch of street shops where some locals gathered to sell their goods. I found their tactic for selling very interesting. They wouldn't take no for an answer. Every shop that I passed tried to sell me something and at times they would even grab at you to try and show you something. I learned how to bargain with some of the locals successfully. I had bought a pair of sunglasses for 30 Yuan which were originally priced at 180 Yuan. 30 Yuan translates into approximately $5 American dollars. I also bought a Rolex for 30 Yuan, and yes it is "real". I was informed that it is of very high quality and that I could get it at a special "friend's" price.

Authentic Chinese Dinner

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Our first day included visiting the Forbidden City, experiencing cart trolleys, indulging in authentic Chinese dinner, and witnessing the magnificent acrobatic show. The highlight of my day was riding the trolley carts to an authentic Chinese house. This was the first time I had ever partaken in a trolley ride and also my first time experiencing authentic Chinese food. I felt bad for our bike guy as I guessed his weight to be 125 lbs while Erik and I weigh easily over 400lbs in combined weight. Our biker was quite friendly though and joked about how heavy we were, frequently comparing the size of his wrist to Erik's and then measuring bicep circumference. I am surprised at how thin Chinese individuals are though considering how much we have eaten in the last few days. We have had more food than I would have ever guessed. My first thought about food in China was that everyone would probably lose some weight due to the new diet but we have been fed very well. Meals such as the authentic Chinese food we all ate that day are not only provided in surplus but are delicious!

Friday May 18th

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Today was another great day .Like usual I got up and ate breakfast.. we then went to the Summer palace here we say the summer home of the emperor's summer home We also got to ride on a dragon boat. From there we went to the The home f the 2008 Beijing Olympic Stadium. It was unreal. The stadium can hold 90,000 people. From there we went to the watercube, Finally my favorite part wast the Duck we had it was absolutely Delicious. Today was another amazing day in China.

Day 3 in Beijing

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My favorite part of the day was visiting the tea house to taste many different varieties of tea. During the presentation, we learned many useful benefits of each tea including oolong, jasmine, black, rose, lychee, and fruit. My favorite tea is black, and I learned that it can help prevent cancer, is a great digestive aid, increase energy, and beneficial for both oral health and your immune system. I also learned that there is a tea that could help gain memory which was the rose tea. I enjoyed learning the ways of drinking out of a tea cup for both women and men, women holding the cup with three fingers while the middle finger is on the bottom of the cup. While being served tea, we say thank you by tapping two fingers onto the table to show respect. I enjoyed learning about how organic the tea was at this tea house; In the U.S. I only eat organic food and I love how the Chinese continue to grow organically. I am looking forward to learn the many organic ways the Chinese are participating in and compare them to the U.S.

Day 3

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We went to the Olympic Park yesterday. We got to walk through the stadium and swimming pool, also known as the Bird's Nest and Water Cube. I remember watching the Olympic Games every day in the summer of 2008, I never thought I would get the chance to see the buildings some of the games were actually held at. It was truly breathtaking and something I will remember for the rest of my life. The sad thing is that the Bird's Nest has only been used a couple times since the Olympic Games. Our tour guide, Lina, said there had been a few concerts in it, a racecar track was put in one time, and during the winter it is turned into an ice rink. Part of the Water Cube was turned into a water park and was very crowded and busy when we toured it. Overall, it was another great day and great experience.

Last Full Day in Beijing

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Today was a great day, although it had a rocky beginning. My roommate and I slept in passed our wake up call, so we missed breakfast and were thirty minutes late to the bus. Since I was in a rush, I forgot my camera. We were out pretty late the night before and actually hung out with the locals. We ended up eating crawfish and fried snake. It was definitely a fun and interesting experience.

The trip today was to the olympic square/area in Beijing. The group was able to walk around both the olympic stadium and the Water Cube. The stadium was truly breathtaking. The stadium seats around 90,000 individuals, which is about 30,000 more than most NFL stadiums. It's a picture that cannot be put into words or a "picture." To be able to stand in something that seats so many people from the world that everyone is watching is pretty moving. The Water Cube was pretty cool, it also had a water park that looked like it would be a lot of fun.

Afterwards we went to a tea house, for a tea tasting ceremony. It was a lot more fun than I though it would be, and it might've one of the most fun moments on the trip so far. The lady hosting the ceremony was very nice, and had a few cool and unexpected tricks involving tea. For dinner we had the infamous Peking Duck meal. The room we ate in was very nice, and we all had it to our selves. The duck was very tasty and very juicy. It was really great meal. It was a great meal to end a great day, and a great trip to Beijing.

5/17/12 The Great Wall

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Today was one of the most amazing days I have ever had! We went to the Great Wall of China which is truly beyond words. I could not believe how big it is, our tour guide told us that it is about 4000 miles long which is incredible. We took a ski lift up to the wall which was kind of scary because in some places we were very high up. Then we were on the the wall and I was so happy that I was able to walk on it. It was very steep in some areas and I think it was one of the best workouts I have ever had; there were times when I think I was going to make it but I kept going and it was well worth the hike. Then we took a toboggan down the mountain which topped off the whole experience. Finally, we went and saw a factory where they make a variety of trinkets and it was really amazing how detailed everything was, I was truly amazed! Today was one of the best days of my life and I can't wait to see more of China!

A day at the Great Wall

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today was another fantastic day. We began teh day eating a wonderful breakfast at our hotel. then ur real adventure began. After baout a two hour long bus ride we arrived we arrived at the the parking lot for the Great Wall. Since he wall was at the top of the hill we had to take chairlifts to the top . Once to the The actuall wall looking over the horion was absolutely breathtaking. Wespent a few hours walking to the different tower up and down stairs. words couldnt describe just being there and getting to see what I had only previously seen in books. After we were done wlking we went down to the liitel shops and got a chance to do some bargaining with the locals. Getting a t-shirt for 15 Juan is a pretty good deal. We then all boarded the bus and wnet t o apottery making place. and got a tour from one of the employees. we then went to the gift shops where there were beautifu pieces of finished pottery for us to buy. Even though we spent quite a bit of money it was definitely worth it. After that we went to dinner, and like usual we ate a ton of really ood food. After that the rest of the night we got an opportunity to hang out before bedtime. A satisfying day would be a conservative way of saying how the day went. I'd say more like a once in a lifetime experience !!!

Day 2 in Beijing

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Our trip to the Great Wall was an amazing experience. Although there were many tourists, I met several Chinese people visiting the great wall as well. The interaction I had with them was quite interesting and fun. They always tried their best to speak English and wanted to be in many pictures with the UMD group. They were also very friendly and welcoming to all of us. I was told by a communications professor how not many Chinese see diversity in China, and when they do they get really excited. I find it interesting how the Chinese are not as exposed to diversity as Americans are in the United States. From my experience by being in Beijing for two days the Chinese enjoy seeing diversity, and I hope China continues to create a more diverse culture.

Day 2

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During our visit to The Great Wall, I had my first experience bartering with the Chinese. We had to walk through the market to get where we were going and the Chinese flocked to us right away with anything they had to sell. They had hats, sunglasses, tee shirts, dresses, post cards, jewelry, and every little knick knack possible. We kept walking through the market and the Chinese kept following us. Brian and Alex found some things they were interested in buying and the Chinese wrote their name down and made them promise that they would come back after we saw The Great Wall. Once we got back from seeing The Great Wall, I was surprised that they did indeed remember Brian and Alex and followed them around. Some of us students bought shirts that said "I Climbed The Great Wall". The lady started my shirt out at 180 yuan (about $30). I said no way and started to walk away and she quickly changed her mind and said she would negotiate. She lowered her price to 70 yuan. I said I would only pay 25 yuan (about $4) for the shirt. She said the shirt was great quality and she would not take only 25 yuan. I started to walk away again when she changed her mind and agreed to give me the shirt for 25 yuan. It was really interesting to see how persistence the Chinese are and how they will do anything for money.

Great Wall

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The great wall was a very amazing structure! Everyone had a partner to take the ski lift up to the top of the great wall. Once we got to the top we walked for about an hour to the 0 tower. It was very exhausting but a great experience. The wall is 4,700 miles long and took about ten years to build. After the great wall we visited a place that made porcelain vases and other sculptures. The porcelain sculptures were very unique and took a lot of labor and time to complete.

Great Wall, Great Day

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Today was the day we visited the Great Wall of China. It was an exhilarating and exhausting day. In order to get to the entrance of the wall, we had to get had to take a ski life. We spent around four hours on top of the wall, so everyone got a lot of exercise and great pictures. I was able to climb to the peak on both sides of the entrance. Between each climb, we had a picnic lunch just outside of the entrance of the wall. Overall, it was a great experience and definitely lived up to the hype.

Getting back down from the great wall was also a lot of fun. We made our way down by taking a sort of luge. Once we all made it down, we spent a little while shopping for souvenirs. It was a good opportunity for all of us to try and bargain with the vendors.

For dinner we at a restaurant close to our hotel. I think it was my favorite meal so far on the trip. It was the first meal that had a few dishes with a good amount of spice to them. I am looking forward to what tomorrow will bring, because so far it has been a really great trip.

3 things I want to learn

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1. First off, I am really interested in learning about how Chinese business and economy works. I would like to learn about the Chinese stock market and how China does business with other countries, especially the United States.

2. Second, I am very interested in learning about Chinese history and culture. I am curious as to when the Chinese first became a part of this earth and how their environment has shaped their culture.

3. Lastly I would like to learn more about what is going on in China today. I want to find out more about the ways of the Chinese government and am also quite curious as to why there is so much regulation of the internet in China

The Forbidden City

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Today was incredible, it was a perfect first day in China. Seeing the Forbidden City was nearly breathtaking and the story to go along with the monuments were just as fascinating. I had seen pictures of the complex and feature films that took place there, but seeing it first hand was like nothing I had expected; it was massive! Simply walking through the city was exhausting, and the tower at the top of the hill at the end drained me. But it was well worth it; the views were incredible and the story of how the peasant uprising drove the emperor to hang himself was compelling. So compelling, in fact, that I have began reading more about the history and stories of the Forbidden City.
Another great aspect of today was the food. American-made Chinese food does not even compare to authentic. Chinese restaurants in America use way too much oil, whereas in China, it is much more natural with incredible freshness. My favorite was the lunch with the traditional Chinese family. The selection and quality of the food was divine and I wish restaurants in the US could duplicate that.
Overall, a terrific first day. And I cannot wait to see the Great Wall tomorrow!

First Day in Beijing

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My Fisrt day in Beijing was a blast. We started off the morning with a fantastic breakfast that included both american and Asian cuisine. We then gathered together got on the bus and our adventure for the day began.we started off by going to the Tiananmen Square where we learned about the Chinese Dynasty's .It was such an incredible place. We then continued to the forbidden city. home to 4 Dynasty's I believe. The buildings were absolutely breathtaking. One according to our guide it is the second oldest architecture of its kind , first being one in Russia. It however is the biggest. After The Forbidden city we went a to a eat with a Chinese family This was definitely a great experience. We also went to a Chinese Resturant, which was also was fantastic. lastly we went to the acrobat show . It was beyond anything I had ever seen in the united States . At one point there were 7 motorcycles in the cage driving around/ This was one incredible day. looking forward to a fantastic day at the Great Wall Tomorrow..

1st Day in Beijing

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I loved our first day in Beijing. I loved how we did so much just in the first day! I really like the Acrobat show. I had never seen anything like that before. I really liked the background music to each of the performances. They all were very different but had a electronic tone to them. This gave me a better insight on what Chinese culture is. In my Chinese class we watched a you tube on the Chinese New Year festival and the acrobat show kind of reminded me of that, except the acrobat show was a lot more dangerous. It also surprised me that we saw the show on a Monday and the place was pretty packed which made me think this is something important to their culture.

First Day in Beijing

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My first day in Beijing was a great way to start the trip! Due to the 13-hour time difference, my roommate and I woke up super early and headed straight to breakfast. We were first overwhelmed with the variety of foods the restaurant in our hotel had to offer, but we quickly grabbed food and everything tasted great, especially the tea. Our first tour of the day was to Tiananmen Square. The area was very big with tourists from all around the world. What drew my attention at Tiananmen Square was the big parliament. The next trip was to the Forbidden City; this was my most favorite part of the day. The Forbidden City was a lot larger than I expected, and has so much history behind it. One thing I learned about this area was how the bricks on the ground were purposely made unleveled, they were built like this because it forces the commoners to always look down to see where they are going in the Forbidden City therefore always bowing to the Dynasty. Another interesting fact I learned about the Chinese culture while in the Forbidden City were the ranking of status shown by animals on the roof; seven and nine being the most elite while everyone else can only reach up to six. We also climbed the hill to see all of Beijing where the view was absolutely amazing. After spending hours in the Forbidden City, we were on our way to eat lunch at a Chinese traditional house. The food tasted great and the hosts were very friendly. I am definitely looking forward to the rest of my stay here in Beijing and am hoping to meet some locals to see where their favorite places are!

Day 1

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I can't believe we haven't even been in Beijing for 24 hours and we have done so much. This whole day has been really awesome and has made me more excited for the month to come. We started out the day touring the Forbidden City. Our tour guide, Lina, was so nice and I learned a lot from her. She explained to us how there were a total of 9999.4 rooms in the entire Forbidden City. If the emperor wanted to spend a night in each room, it would take a total of 27 years! Lina also explained how part of the Forbidden City had a very uneven stone walkway. This was so people walking had to look down when they walked to watch their step and forced them to bow to the emperor. After the tour, we had lunch at a traditional Chinese home. Lunch started off with four plates of food in the middle and they kept bringing more and more plates for us to share; dinner was the same. They were both delicious. We decided to see an acrobatic show during the evening. My favorite part was when the seven motorcyclists were driving around in the circular cage. It was so fun to watch how talented they are. At the end of the night, all of us students walked around for a bit. Everyone has been so nice and I'm glad we're on this trip together.

First Day

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Today was our first full day of activities. Since we were not yet adjusted to our normal schedule, my roommate and I decided to walk around the neighborhood near our hotel. We were able to see the start of the day for the vendors and the early-rising locals. As a group we were able to tour Tiananmen Square and which led to the Forbidden City. It was nice to be able to hear and feel the history of Beijing.

We were able to have our first taste of authentic Chinese cooking. We ate at someone's house and at a local restaurant. The portions were generous and very tasty. I'm looking forward to eating this kind of food for the rest of the trip.

When we arrived back at the hotel, the majority of the group decided to walk around the neighborhood. It was cool to see the similarities and differences between the Beijing and a city like Minneapolis. It seems like everyone is getting along well and it should be a great group for the rest of trip.

5/16/12 first day

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Today was amazing!! I can't believe that we were able to see so many things in one day. First, we saw the entrance to Tiananmen Square and the Chinese parliament which was amazing and I learned that China is a country that really values tradition as well as their history. Next, we went to the Forbidden City and it just amazed me because every building has so much detail and it is so big. Being here in China has been outstanding, even though it is only the first day, because it has been really interesting seeing their culture. Also, we were lucky enough to see the acrobatics show which was beyond belief. Finally, I am very happy that we were able to see all of these things, but our tour guide Lina was able to bring us to some Chinese homes which I was very excited to see because these places go beyond just the regular tourist sights and I am very happy that today was only the first day...I'm really excited to see more of Beijing!

This group of kids are awesome: they are keeping me posted with what is going on at MSP, ORD, and so on...

http://www.facebook.com/groups/132760266822199/

3 Things I Want to Learn

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1) What I am most interested in learning while I am in China is how the banking industry works, how similar it is the to US along with its differences. I eventually would like to move forward in the banking industry and work overseas for an international bank. I am hoping to gain an insight in what I need to do in order to get to the international level of working in the banking industry.
2) I would also like to learn about origins of tea. While travelling in Asia in the past, I have experienced a variety of teas. I have heard China has the best kinds of teas and I want to try them all. I want to learn how the Chinese harvests the tea leaves.
3) Lastly, I would like to learn more about Buddhism. I am a Buddhist myself but I would like to learn how the Chinese worship Buddha and relate it to how I grew up with the religion.

Three Things I Want to Learn

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1. I want to learn about and understand the current Chinese culture as a whole. I want to observe the differences between our culture in theirs in communication, relationships, food, etc... I really just want to experience a culture that is completely different than ours, as I think it could change my perception of life.

2. I want to learn about the history of Chinese landmarks and artifacts. China has a very rich history, and I think the opportunity to learn different things about their history is endless. The fact that we able to see and touch some of the historic landmarks will the experience of learning about them that more exciting.

3. I want to learn and observe the role of financial analysts and planners in China. I would like to see if there are any differences in terms strategies and procedures, and whether it makes any more or less effective than the strategies we are currently being taught.

Three things that I want to learn

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1. I want to learn about the Chinese culture and how the people live on a day-to-day basis.

2. Another thing I want to learn about is the history of China.

3. Finally, I want to learn how Chinese businesses utilize IT in their daily operations.

Three things I want to learn

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Second Orientation Outline

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Useful Chinese Phrases

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China Custom and Entry Card Instructions

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Study in China Check List

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Place visited before or to visit

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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