“A comfort zone is a nice place, but nothing ever grows there.”

This experience has been nothing short of amazing. I have learned so much, made some lifelong friendships, and memories I will never forget. I am sad to leave China and this experience behind, but I will always carry it with me. This program was incredible and helped me grow and develop as an individual. To everyone that made this program possible, I can’t even put into words how grateful I am to have had this amazing opportunity. This was my second time traveling to China and not my last time either! I felt a strong connection to this place when I first came here four years ago. I fell in love with the culture, the history, the sites, the food, and most importantly the people. Life is a learning experience and I took on this opportunity because I knew I would come back with a new mindset and a better understanding of this world.


After the program a few of us traveled to Shanghai for a few days! We got to see some amazing sites of this beautiful modern city. We took a 2 1/2 hour speed train ride! In the pictures below are photos of the 2nd tallest building in the world, the Shanghai Tower. I got to go to the observation deck. It was absolutely breathtaking.

  Shanghai skyline!




I compared the experience of being in China for a second time like reading a book once and then reading it over again. When you read a book a second time, you get a better understanding of it and gain some insight of some things you might have missed or maybe didn’t understand before. The culture shock wasn’t as shocking for me as it was for students that were coming here for the first time. I learned more about the Chinese culture and the business aspect of it. I’m happy I got to learn so much about India as well. The Indian students taught me about their culture and told me so much about their lives.  Although we all come from different parts of the world, different cultures, different lives, we all created such a strong connection with one another. That was the most beautiful thing about this whole experience. Connecting and making friendships with people from all over the world.

 Last day of program! Cake on everyone’s face!

Picture with my awesome professors, Professor Mehta and Professor Crooker!


 My team! Team 1!

I would recommend this program to anyone who wants to see the world and what it has to offer.  I am confident that all students can benefit from this program. We learned about a business plan, innovation, and entrepreneurship in class, and we learned so much more from each other. I even learned a little bit about engineering from some of the Indian students! This opportunity allowed me to take a huge step out of my comfort zone and become completely immersed in a culture so rich. I don’t think I got homesick once! Thank you to all that made this program possible! See you later, China.


New Adventure and New Friends

Traveling to a new country you have the opportunity to explore the unknown and discover what this new place means to you. For me this trip really opened my eyes even wider to world around us. When I think of China I immediately associate the word with; adventure, new friends and traditional mixed with modern lifestyles. This trip was very humbling and extraordinary at the same time!


We got a mere glimpse into the lives of the Chinese students and how they went about their daily lives. It is really interesting to see a city always on the move and still very close to their families. It was refreshing to see various families no matter how big or small walking around taking in the warm Nanjing air after dinner time. This demonstrated to me how family oriented their culture really is! I enjoyed taking apart in the evening activities just like everyone does, even if it was just a walk outside of the campus.  I want to thank everyone who helped all the new students and myself while going above and beyond in terms of hospitality. I have never met a group of students so welcoming, warm hearted and willing to stop what they were doing to help us if we needed it. I cannot talk highly enough about this adventure because that is exactly what it was. As we said on our last day of the program, this is not a goodbye but a see you later! China is on my list to revisit as I have much more to explore, learn about and catch up with my new friends! If anyone needs further encouragement to take part in this program; I say try it, you won’t regret it!



Time is flying by

Five days flew by very quickly! We had our orientation for the program Sunday evening where we got to meet the Chinese and Indian students. Little did I know that I would make amazing friendships during this time. I was a little bummed I didn’t have any UML students on my team, but I was very happy when I met my team mates! I had Indian students Shreya and Sannath and Chinese students Leo and Hannah. We got to introduce ourselves and became good friends by the end of the program!

The days in class were long but flew by very quickly! It is crazy how much we all learned in just a few short weeks. I really enjoyed the group exercises we did. It is amazing what you can come up with when everyone puts their heads together to try to find a solution. It was great to see what all the other groups came up with! My favorite activity was constructing a durable ambulance out of small Lego blocks. Even though we had a short amount of time to do it, my team did a pretty good job!

One of my favorite things about this trip was going out at night in Nanjing. One night all the Indian students and UML students went out accompanied by the Chinese student volunteers. We just went to a mall, shopping, the market but it was so fun. It was a great way to see the city and get to know my classmates better. The volunteers did such a great job taking us around Nanjing and making sure we were safe. A few times we took Didi, which is the Chinese version of Uber and it made it so much easier to get around!


Nanjing at night!


We visited a temple in Nanjing and there was so many people! There were so many steps to get to the top, but the view was so worth it. One of the Chinese volunteers, Max became one of my good friends very quickly. One thing we had in common is we were always seen wearing a camera around our necks. I brought my camera to take as many pictures as I could in China, he had the school’s camera to take pictures of everything we did in class and outside class. I loved going on the tours because we got to see so many beautiful sites and learned a lot about China.

  View from top! So many stairs! Halfway up!

    Max the photographer!

Oh China, I have missed you!

First few days in China

May 30, 2018

I have been looking forward to this experience for months now! Finally, it’s time to get on this plane and fly to China! This flight will be long but will be so worth it! I am so excited to travel to China for the second time in my life. When I first traveled to China a few years ago, I came back with a completely new and different perspective of the world and how it works. I can honestly say I found a part of myself in China and cannot wait to return and learn more about this fascinating country.

I know some people might be hesitant about the long flight, but it really is such a small part of the trip. It’s not so bad either! And you get to fly over the top of the world which was pretty cool. I got some awesome pictures before we landed in Hong Kong early morning and when we took off in Hong Kong.


Culture Shock!

Although I have been to China before and knew exactly what I was in for, it was fun to see my fellow classmate’s reactions to the culture shock. The first time I came to China I was completely taken back by how different it is here than at home. I also forgot how many people there are in China and sometimes it can be overwhelming. The craziest thing is watching all of the people drive cars, mopeds, riding bikes during rush hour traffic. It looks chaotic but as I watched everyone driving I noticed something. There is this crazy, chaotic, but smooth rhythm in the way they drive. There is a lot of beeping, but not aggressive beeping like here at home. The drivers beep a lot to alert people that they are coming or if they are letting someone go. You can see right away how the massive population plays a huge part in the way the people here drive.

Another part of the culture shock has to be the food. When I think of Chinese food at home I think of crab ragoon, egg rolls, general tsaos chicken etc. Chinese food in China is completely different than what you would expect. Also, the Chinese food in China is different every where you go in the country; each city is known for their own specialty dish as well. One thing about the food that I appreciate is they don’t waste any part of the animal. Fish is brought to you some bones still in the meat and a lot of the soups have some parts of the animal that you usually wouldn’t eat in America. I tried a few things I normally wouldn’t eat and I still loved the experience! I enjoyed a majority of the food we had at the restaurants. The food is one of my favorite things about China and all the different flavors in the dishes. Last time I went to China I didn’t try any of the street food even though it smelt so good. I was a little nervous to try the street food but this time I did and it was delicious!


The first few days in China our UML group traveled to a few different places before the GE2 program started on June 4. This was a great way for students to experience China and the culture before we had to do some school work! We traveled to Changzhou and went YanCheng ChunQin Land. This was a beautiful scenic park that touched upon Chinese culture and history. We learned a lot about Confucianism Yin and Yang. There was a tree full of gold leaves and red ribbons and we got to write a wish on a ribbon and hang it on the tree!



We also traveled to Yangzhou where we saw some beautiful Chinese scenery!

Beautiful view from our hotel in Nanjing! I woke up to this every morning while I drank my coffee. 🙂


Writing a Business plan is fun!!!!!

     As a student for about 10 years at school in Haiti and the USA, I have experienced how to do a research. I have done many. For me, I have always tried to find something that already exist, it could be an existing product or services and on what I can find many articles talking on. My only objectives is to produce a reflection paper. Two of them are included in my resume as an effort to come up with my own understanding based on previous existing realities. I don’t know if it is common to everyone, the road from theory to reality is hard.  How to make things happen?

I have always learn how to study and being a  test taker to have a good grade. But for now, with this Entrepreneurship and Innovation workshop made in China 2018, I have finally learned how to turn plan into execution. The execution passes by writing a business plan:

I was amazed either to hear from the CEO of Thanksgiving Tea in UPACK Incumbents about the chicken. We may not have our own Chicken, but we can borrow the chicken and produce eggs. This is exactly how to picth to VC. We have heard from a CEO of a start up, which is a temporary business repeatable and scalable.



Writing a business plan is hard and fun!!!

My Favorite Places

China ceases to impress me. Below I included some of my favorite places I visited in China.

Below, was a temple we had visited in Nanjing. Climbing these steps was so tiring for a Sunday morning however, the view at the top was breath taking.

While in Shanghai, I visited the Shanghai Wild Animal Park. Never in my wildest dreams, did I ever imagine that I would be feeding a kangaroo, zebra and hippo all in one day. They were able to train the animals such as the elephants here to spin hula hoops on their trunks.

Here is the Zhouzhuang Water Town near Shanghai.

Below, you can find a picture I took from the Bund. This is a walkway that overlooks the Shanghai Skyline, which is absolutely breath taking. There are so many lights everywhere and they constantly change. The far left tower is the Oriental Pearl Radio & TV tower. This one would change colors every couple seconds. In the far right, hiding in the clouds was the Shanghai Tower which is also the second tallest building in the world.

The concretization of ideas of business

The university of Nanjing China is the most tangible fact of project execution that I have ever seen. Talking about Entrepreneurship and innovation, I have seen in the realization of this project an act of coordination and accomplishment. This new building located in Jiangsu China will replace or complete the old building that serves actually as host for lecturer or class Activities.

The story of evolution of mobile phone has attracted me the most. The number of mobile subscribers in China had doubled each year from 1994 to 2001. By the end of 2002 China had 206.3 million mobile telecommunications subscribers (MPT, MII,
1994–2002), and had become one of the hottest spots for the international and
domestic telecom operators, equipment and phone manufacturers in 2018. The challenge will be enormous for the generation of student coming out from college to get into this developing markets.








What was my favorite part of China? : The people

As I come back home after my study abroad in China, everyone has asked, “What is your favorite thing about China?” After much contemplation, I realize that China is so unique because of its people.

There is this “hustle” mentality that sweeps the nation. During my time in China and speaking to the other students in the class, we quickly realized how the students hustle to get ahead. They are very competitive when it comes to school. One student told us how she took 16 classes in one semester. I could barely take 4 back at UMass Lowell. These students were so focused in succeeding. Another student told me how she takes exams outside of school for different languages and certifications. They don’t stop at all. They are always finding what is next. I truly admired by this mentality and it has inspired me to keep moving forward.

Additionally, the people were extremely hospitable whether it be the students we met in class or complete strangers. The other students we met in our classes would go out of their way to make sure we were all enjoying our experience. I was so lucky to have some amazing teammates that would take us out to see Nanjing. One of the most memorable moment was the day we went to go see the new campus at NJUPT. We had learned about how China has a shared bike business and I had mentioned to my teammates that I never truly learned how to ride a bike. I could pedal but had trouble driving straight on my own. My teammate, Mickey, was determined to teach me. She held the bike handles and sprinted with me to other side of the campus to make sure I didn’t fall off the bike.

Even the strangers we had met were very kind to us. The first two days of being China we went on tours to Yancheng and Yangzhou. We were all continuously stopped by strangers who wanted pictures with us. They treated us like celebrities. They would give us compliments and hugs and sometimes even gifts.

Here is a picture we took at the YanCheng ChunQiu  Land.

China and GE2 Impressions


Hong Kong


In this trip I had the chance to visit multiple cities in China, including Nanjing, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong (although many don’t consider it as China). We also visited a couple of other smaller cities that surround Nanjing. In about three weeks I had opportunity to see multiple different facets of China: beautiful, rich, super rich, extremely rich, in-development, in-rapid-development, poor, very poor, extremely poor, among others.

But one thing was common among them all: its people. I’m 40 years old and have visited several countries in all parts of the globe, having had the opportunity to live in three other countries in addition to my home country Brazil. I have to say, the whole world and every nation should go and learn from the Chinese. They are the most respectful, hospitable, helpful (not only that, but willing to help all the time), kind, warm, gentle, joyful (and all other positive adjectives) people I’ve ever met.





In the other hand, we also have a lot of differences. Differences in the way they do business, how they eat, their behavior in public places, just to name a few.

Business over Tea

Food (exotic, delicious, strange, challenging, variety…)

Peking Duck in Beijing


Snack Street in Beijing


Noodles and Hot Pot in Nanjing


There were also things that I didn’t like about China, in particular: traffic, pollution and smoke. The traffic is crazy and after a few DiDi trips (their version of Uber), although the service is very effective, the ETA for almost all trips are not real. It’s common to take twice the time it shows in the app once you call your car. The traffic is really bad. Especially in Beijing! Pollution is also terrible everywhere and it’s common to see people wearing breathing masks. I myself had problems, spent almost three weeks coughing even though I was taking Benadryl before bed every night. And how about smoking allowed everywhere!? They smoke in elevators, restaurants, offices, taxis, etc. The only place smoking is prohibited is in the train. Their railroad service is great, very efficient! From Nanjing to Beijing (more than 1000 Kilometers) took me less than 3.5 hours in a high-speed train. With all these differences, from now on I respect all western people that live in China. The country and its people are amazing but to move and live there would be an stretched challenge for me. Again, I loved the experience and maybe in a different time of my life I would enjoy living in China for a couple years.


To wrap up this blog post, I wanted to make special mentions to a few people that I met in China and had great impact in my life. BTW, did I mention that the Chinese are also very thoughtful?

First, this girl called Catherine. In the last day of class, during the closing ceremony, she cried and I cried with her. I kept saying to her during the two weeks we were in Nanjing that she was a little angel.

Here’s a note she wrote for me so I could go to the train station by myself to take a trip to Beijing. She kept saying she was concerned and worried that people would not speak English. She guided me throughout my trip to Beijing and back to Nanjing to make sure I was safe.

In this snipt she’s helping us buy tickets to go to Shanghai: IMG_4836

Catherine also introduced us to her boyfriend Lyu. What a nice guy! He spent a lot of time with us too.

In our last night in Nanjing Lyu and Catherine helped me achieving three goals of mine since my first day there: (1) see the beautiful Xuanwu Lake, (2) eat crawfish and (3) ride a bicycle. 🙂 Here’s me eating crawfish and at the lake.

Second, these two kids that were in my group, Krystal and Park. For two weeks they shared their stories, their dreams, their culture and their lives with me. And I’m taking every minute of it with me for the rest of my life!






On the last day of class they also brought tears to my eyes. They first wrote the sound of my name in traditional Chinese. Then they took that to a place that makes stampers in a piece of Chinese rock and got one for me! They said that from now on I should no longer sign my name but instead I should stamp it in traditional Chinese.


Last but not least, Max (Ding fei). I think I found a brother from another mother, a Chinese one! One thing that I didn’t mention during the introductions on the first day of class (I only said that people call me “Handsome”, true right?). My childhood nickname when I was little back in Brazil was “China”. The story goes more or less like this: my dad worked for Yamaha, a Japanese company. His boss had a daughter of my age. During the company celebrations I would play with that little girl. My siblings would make fun of me saying that she was my girlfriend. Then they started to call me Japan. And I would hate it and get very upset. For some reason someone started calling me China. And that became my nickname, to this date family members and friends still call me “China”. In fact, look me up on Instagram: “ChinaZubi”. 🙂

Anyways, let’s talk about Max. I think I cried when I hugged him before leaving my hotel in Shanghai on the way to the airport. I probably didn’t show because Hannah was going to the airport with me on the same DiDi. And it wouldn’t be nice for a 40-years old, married man father of two, to cry for a Chinese man he didn’t know three weeks back. Yes, Max is all that and more! He would call me around midnight to tell me he had ordered Noodles and wanted to check if I was hungry. In the mornings he would send voice messages to say good morning and to check that I was doing OK. I loved meeting this guy. We exchanged a lot of stories about our lives and in everything there was this incredible bond between us. BTW, I’m sure I’m not the only one to feel like that about Max. Probably most of students from US and India will say similar things about him.

Max is also very fun and funny! What a sense of humor he has!


Anyways, I think I’ve written to much but really hope this post can help someone in deciding whether or not to go attend this great program in China. Yes, please go!

On a final (final!) note, the academic curricula was great and at appropriate level. I think both undergrad and grad students from several different fields benefited from the content delivered. The multiple group exercises, case-studies and team project introduced a lot of mixed topics and made the session very dynamic. Field activities such as visiting the incubator and the Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications new campus were also a plus. The only thing that I think would be better was to reduce the amount of guest speakers in lieu for more time for the teams to work on their projects. To me the most important aspect of this program is the opportunity to meet people from very different backgrounds and cultures, while at the same time work on the same set of projects and problems with them.  This enables one to understand and recognize that there are different perspectives to the variety of problems our world faces today. I am sure that this enriched environment contributes a lot to the development of “to be” entrepreneurs that think about innovation on a global scale.

Here’s Mr. Handsome in hist last presentation and receiving his certificate of completion.      

Overall Experience

My experience in China has been an amazing one. It was filled with lots of exciting moments, a few interesting discoveries, maybe a challenge or two, but lots of lasting memories that will last a lifetime.

From the time we landed in Nanjing, i could sense that this is a different atmosphere with people from different cultures. The very first thing i noticed at the airport was residents wearing masks on their faces similar to what we see dentists wear when they walk in to do a procedure in our mouth at the dental office. It was initially shocking but then i learnt that they do that to protect themselves from any possible virusus in the air/environment. Lots of other chinese residents do not wear it however. As we arrived in Nanjing, i saw lots of people on electric bikes and mopeds, including small children on the front and back of these electric bikes. That too was astonishing especially since in the United States, such act constitutes a hefty fine :). I loved how freely the people moved almost as if the citizens have no worries or concerns.

Then there was the experience of language, where it became apparent very quickly that English is not the main language spoken and that in order to communicate efficiently, one might need to learn Cantonese. We had tour guides/volunteers that assisted with translation when needed, and they were very helpful. I for one, mastered the art of sign language and used it to the fullest. Despite the fact that cantonese is the main language spoken, the chinese people make every attempt to help you understand what they are trying to communicate.

None of these creates a better experience than that experienced during meal times. The cuisine consists mostly of the Sichuan, Cantonese and Hunan cuisines. Now, there are American cuisines if anyone wants to partake, but to be fully immersed in the chinese culture, one must try their cuisines. I definitely tried a few foods for the first time and it tasted very delicious. Dumplings and watermelon seem to be one of the favorite foods as it was commonly served. I also seldomly visited the ‘market’ and will try other foods there as well.

The chinese people and culture is so welcoming that if you have an open mind and willing to immerse yourself into their culture, you will have no choice but to really thoroughly enjoy yourself.