It is just amazing that to realize that we all are going to China tomorrow after 2 months (well almost 2 months) in Paris. Chapman, John and Me (Vikas), we travelled together from Atlanta to Paris, we had the same courses but our thoughts are so different. Our anticipation for China is so different; Chapman is reading every possible thing about China and wants to see that how big China is in economic terms. John on other hand, has more philosophical view about China and I am sure he’s will enjoy the Confucius teachings and the forbidden city. Moreover, I am anticipating something more bizarre, more exotic and something, which is not normal in every aspect especially politically and culturally.
Chapman looking back says, having arrived in Paris after a long night of travel, the shuttle bus that picked us up from the airport dropped us in square. With bleary eyes, and a few French words, the group split and headed for their apartments. None of us realized at that time, how close we were to some of the iconic monuments of Paris. What was to become our home was as of yet unrecognizable. Many of us spent the next few nights wandering the streets, delightfully lost, but finding our way.
Apartments were settled into, monuments and museums visited, and getting lost amidst the alleyways of Paris turned into savvy trips through the Metro to far flung locations few visitors have the chance to explore. It rained continually, but our spirits didn’t dampen. We sat in café’s, pouring over Finance, spoke about the impending Presidential elections, and pondering the complexity of the Euro Crises. These issues would become clearer, through conversations at the bars and cafes, through observation such as Francois Hollandes election night party in the Bastille, and through more structured processes, largely embodied in our academic study, but supported by trips to Brussels, and company visits such as the one we took to Renault.
Our studies became more three dimensional as well, with the third of four perspectives shedding light on another facet of complex issues and topics, such as International Finance, and International Operations. And now we leave, as we came, bleary eyed, with a bit more French, and a great appreciation for the place we leave, as well as how far we’ve come. Au revoir, Paris, Ni hao Shanghai!
In preparation for the next stage in our collective journey, I have been reading every article we can get our hands on that deals with China. I have read articles on Chinese business, culture, food, history, you name it, however, I believe we all know that you can never fully insulate yourself from the pleasantness of a new and strange environment (who would want to). We look eagerly forward, in anticipation of two weeks in one of the most complex, storied and fascinating cultures in the world, while astill looking back in half longing, regretful to leave Paris behind. C’est la vie!
John Cranshaw is anticipating great contrasts between traditional culture and modern culture within Chinese society, as well as xenophobia, though much of this will be unspoken. He also anticipates that each city we visit will be different in character. He expects China to be dirty and polluted, though as a result of intense commercial and social activity. He further expects that he’ll be surprised and that he may find he had expectations of which he was unaware. Most certainly he expects that he’ll feel more a foreigner there than he has anywhere else in terms of culture, language and ethnicity.
I have many questions, says John. I’m curious as to how the government works and who runs the show. I’d like to peek inside the secrets of the CCP and open all the doors. This isn’t very realistic, though. I’m sure I’ll just figure things out as I go. I’m more unprepared for this trip than I’ve ever been travelling, since I’ve made none of the preparations and the language the totally foreign (except that I know how to write my name).
I am not particularly curious or nervous about anything specific since I believe people are the same everywhere. Everyone works, sleeps and eats – they just do these things in different ways. Since we will be travelling as a group, I will not need to demonstrate as much initiative as normal and I will correspondingly be much more at ease, but also more isolated. I will not need to engage others outside my group for conversation or other needs, which will be a detriment. At the same time, my language skills are prohibitive in this regard, so my goal is really just to enjoy myself and spend more time with classmates. My thoughts really aren’t on China. I want to find a job. At this point, my education and my travel are sort of sidelined in importance. I am very anxious to have time to spend looking for work, and anxious to get home to see my family, my dogs, and look for work (again).
Interesting thoughts by John, I cannot believe that I just spent almost 2 months in Paris and now it is time to for China. Having never travelled to China before, I really have no idea how it would be. However, what do I expect hmm… let me think. Kung Fu, The Great Wall, The Forbidden City… a billion people, fast growing economy so many things. To me China is an ancient civilization, a different culture, a production powerhouse and home to people for whom nothing is impossible, says me ( Vikas Agrawal).
Just before flying to China, I realize that I had forgotten again, who their President is. Well, this is not the first time for both- for forgetting the name and for feeling guilty that I have forgotten the name. But then China is such a difficult country to keep track of. Media is mostly censored, food is bizarre and most part of the world does not know what is happening.
It is the home of largest man made structure in the world, and has been photographed from space, The Great Wall of China. From NYT, in Beijing one can get silkworms, grasshoppers, seahorses and Scorpios (with their stingers intact). This country is packed with interesting stuff, ancient stuff, stuff not readily explained. I am sure that this will be an interesting place and I am so keen to explore.
With recent developments in China about human rights and rise of common person, I believe it will be the most interesting time to visit China. Also with the salary wages getting stronger, it would be interesting to understand how still the companies in China are managing to be cost effective.
It is obvious to know that how Confusions teachings has influenced China both in everyday life and in business. But it is interesting to know how the modern ways of doing business is influencing China or vice versa. For example, UPS an American company, how it is performing in China in terms of people management, and dealing with government. I trust that China will be an interesting country to visit.
Oh, by the way did you know that fortune cookies are not actually traditional Chinese; they were invented in San Francisco in 1920’s! and I always thought that they are Chinese.