Guangzhou Trip Opens Lancaster Student's Eyes
Guangzhou: you need to speak a bit of Mandarin to get around
Andrew Ponnambalam is a full-time MBA student at Lancaster University Management School. He recently went on a one-week study trip to Guangzhou, China as part of his program. Here he shares his impressions of the country.
Had you ever been to China before?
Yes a few times on business
Why did you pick China?
China is becoming a strong economic and political powerhouse in the world, therefore I thought it would be best to learn more about the country and how as a foreigner I should approach doing business there.
What were your expectations of the country before you left?
In my previous visits to China I have watched as its infrastructure grows and it becomes the world’s factory.
I’d also heard about the Chinese government’s domestic and foreign influence, for example through its growing FDI investments in places like Africa, Sri Lanka and Brazil. I wanted this study to trip give me a better perspective of these issues and how international companies can do business in China
Were your expectations met?
Yes they were met, we had the opportunity to learn from lecturers who have different views on China's growth, culture, political system and how China should proceed in the future. This helped me get a better picture of the country. This trip made me understand the potential the country has, I never realised it was that huge.
What exactly did you do during the trip?
We had class in the morning which covered topics such as FDI, Chinese management concepts, and the consumer market in China. We had company visits in the evening, and the opportunity to interact with Chinese MBA students and share experiences. We also had a day of sightseeing.
What did you get up to during your time off?
I used my free time to walk around the busy streets of Guangzhou and in the evening would walk to the parks and watch how ordinary people get together and dance, do Tai chi and different forms of exercise. I also went out to the clubs at night and it was really funny, you would have a club full of young people dancing to latest UK and US pop music but who didn't understand a word of English!
Was there anything not so pleasant that you encountered?
There wasn’t anything unpleasant about the country but I have some anxiety about the balance of power shifting towards China, and how they will handle this new status.
What are your tips for other students going on study trips to China?
There is a program called The Chinese Are Coming on BBC. Please watch that - it sets the stage for better learning and interaction with lecturers, Learn a few words of Mandarin! It helps you get around.
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