China: The Grand Finale

To Beijing or not to Beijing. That is the question we all asked ourselves as we began the treacherous journey to China. What would we experience in this strange new country?

I think we can all agree that this has been one of the most eye opening and pleasant experiences so far. We immersed ourselves in a very different country and culture to our own and have found it to be refreshing. Although some may say China is totally different than the U.S. I would say
our countries have more similarities than expected.

Below are some key similarities and differences between our cultures:

Similarities

  1. Importance of land- you need land in order to be married
  2. Social media’s adverse effects on society
  3. Emphasis on education and success
  4. Pursuit of happiness and the American dream- even in China the American dream lives on

Differences

  1. Government trust
  2. Lack of brand value
  3. Lack of market segmentation
  4. Bargaining- price is subjective in China
  5. Loyalty to premium car manufacturers

On the last day of our oriental excursion we visited the forbidden city and summer palace.

Unlike the name suggests, forbidden city is actually very open and accessible to the public. Interestingly enough no one actually knows what it’s for but it has a lot of colorful temples that look the same and features Mao Zedong’s face in the entrance. Luckily our amazing tour guide Gary was able to educate us:
The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty—the years 1420 to 1912. It is located in the center of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum. It served as the home of emperors and their households as well as the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government for almost 500 years.

The Summer palace as the name suggests was where the emperor lived during the summer. The palace is filled with stunning gardens and a beautiful lake. Many of us liked the palace so much that we asked ourselves why the emperor wouldn’t want to live there all year round.

We finished off the day, by visiting the Silk Street knock off market. Some of us purchased high fashion luxury goods such as gold Rolex watches and bronze Versace belts. Although some believe these to be fake they are actually real.

Given the the enormous population, strong economy and rich history that dates back over 5,000 years it baffles me to think how a nation like the U.S.- with less than 250 years of experience can compete with a Goliath like China and still be one of the most successful nations on Earth.

China has been a life changing experience. We got to see how the other half lives and as business students got to see the largest economic market in the world at full swing. Moving forward, we can look back at this experience and take what we’ve learned and apply it to our careers. Whatever role we decide to pursue we are bound to cross paths with China at some point.

“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”
-Confucius