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.

The City of Nanjing, China

During our visit to China, we stayed in the city of Nanjing. Prior to the visit, little did i know of the city other than that it was home to some very good universities including the Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications (NUPT). When you think or hear of china, the cities you hear of mostly are Beijing (Great Wall) and Shanghai (the worlds largest city).

Nanjing happens to be the capital of China’s eastern Jiangsu province. It was the national capital during part of the Ming Dynasty. It still houses many monuments including the city wall and the gate of China. This predates back to the 14th century section of the massive wall that contained the city’s entrance. This city wall is a ‘must-see’ if one visits china or Nanjing. Even though it cannot be compared to the great wall in Beijing, it runs for about 13 miles (initially 22 miles) and even though it was built over 600 years ago, it is still kept in very good condition with original inscriptions on the wall.


Some of the great places to visit in Nanjing are ; ‘Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum’, which is the tomb to one of the modern founders of china. ‘Xuanwu lake’, which is a beautiful lake that connects two islands with nice restaurants. ‘Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum’, which is a massive tomb that was built back in 1405 for the emperor at the time. It contains many pathways and statues. The city wall of course, which was mentioned earlier, the ‘Confucius temple’ and last but not the least, the Nanjing Museum. 

This city is saturated with great historical artifacts, beautiful lakes and of course, its residents.

Never Limit Yourself

My experience as a whole is hard to sum up in a few words, a few sentences or even a few paragraphs. Being able to experience a mix of cultures truly helps prepare oneself for the future and being open to accepting change. Before I left for China, I had no real idea of what I would experience. I think having no real idea was beneficial for me because I was ready for a complete culture shock and seeing how life was from a different perspective. I was not held back by preconceived notations. Although, I did picture the old styled buildings I also knew there would be cities full of lights in the more known parts. I did not want to limit myself to what I thought or heard from others so I found it easier to just wait and experience China for what it really is.


How did I do it? By living in the moment, I had the time of my life.  It is honestly hard to describe to someone until they actually experience it for themselves. It is amazing how are lives can be so different yet similar at the same time, a complete oxymoron but true. For example, the food was one of my biggest culture shocks. I thought I would have a hard time finding food I liked (so I brought plenty of snacks from home) but I always found myself wanting to try something new. I think while in China I tried the most amounts of newest foods I ever had. I felt that since I was here, I might as well at least give the food a chance because it’s not often I visit here. Although I did not try every new food I saw, I tried more than I would have if I kept a closed mind.

This trip really helped to remind me that it is ok to try something new and not like it as long as I gave it a fair chance. I think nowadays it is easy to dismiss something as simple as trying a new food because it is easy to. I will admit, some days I went out seeking comfort food and it was interesting to compare to back home. We tried a classic New York styled pizza (pizza with pepperoni and mushrooms) and had a burger another day. No matter what food I tried I was always down for the experience and I never tried to limit myself. I found out from this trip I love freshly made noodles that are made to order from small family owned restaurants! I also now know I like quail eggs! Overall, I learned I liked new types of foods I would never have tried without visiting China. I appreciate the help from all the volunteers and to everyone who made this trip possible!!


Great Hospitality From The Host

Over the course of our trip, we were treated very well by the students and volunteers from NJUPT. Frist, I was introduced to Brenda and Sharon who were in my group. They were both undergrads at the school and were excited about the workshop. Sharon had gone to an international school before NJUPT, and her home province was over 2 hours away. Brenda had gone to a local school in her area, that was over 3 hours away. For some reason, I kept forgetting how large of a country China was, so it amazed me that kids were coming from all over to attend the school.

Another student who I formed a friendship with was Fiona. Though she wasn’t in my group, I could always find Fiona close by as she said she admired our height difference. Whether or not they were in our group, the students were very nice and welcoming and would go the extra mile to make sure we had everything that we needed.

Talking with the students about their everyday life was an eye-opener. I now have to think twice about complaining about classes, as I learned that most students take anywhere from 10 to 15 classes a semester. This was normal for them and they were shocked by our responses. The other thing was the living conditions. Students had to walk from their dorm all the way to the dining hall in order to take a shower, and the showers were only open from noon to 9 at night. This was amazing to us, and again we were shocked at how normal this all was to them. Overall, this was a great learning experience for us to see how people around the world live on a day-to-day basis.

Nightlife In Nanjing

During some of our free time, we would try our best to go out and explore the city of Nanjing at night. We had to use DiDi, the Chinese version of Uber, to get around town. Groups of us would go to various spots such as the international mall, Catherine Park, and local pizza places. This was good for us, as we got to see a different side of the local area that we were not used to. On one of the Friday night, a group of us went to a local lounge Allan and explored some of the local bars. It was interesting to see that this was the place most of the other foreigners gathered at night, as we realized that we quickly fit in there. It was great to get a taste of the local nightlife in Nanjing.

Final Days

2018 Nanjing Global Entrepreneurship and Innovation workshop in Nanjing China is coming to an end. This experience at first was a little hard to get adjusted to but I can say we were able to get through it. Even though it took a while for many of us to adapt I can happily say I’m glad I took on this opportunity, I got to meet great people, try new foods, and got to explore Nanjing which I enjoyed very much. I even had the chance to learn how to write in mandarin which was very interesting. The volunteers were beyond amazing, and I had great team members.  Overall China was an amazing experience, but I am ready to go back home, because there’s nothing like HOME. 🙂


What really matters

The struggles that I mentioned in my prior posts are nothing comparing to how much fun this has been so far; or to all the lessons that I am learning here. For me the best part of this program are not the what you learn from the lectures in class but all the indirect leaning associate with this awesome experience.

For example while working with my group sometimes I find myself frustrated with our differences. Despite the language not being a big issue here (because everyone in this program speaks “enough” English) it still really hard to work with people with completely different backgrounds, who have different life and professional values. However, I constantly remind myself that situations like this will be the same in the “real world” and I will have to find a way to work around our differences if I want to accomplish my goal. Thus, I can’t even imagine how valuable getting to have some experience on cases like this can be for my carrier.

Culture shock (finale)

I know that all the struggles mentioned might sound silly because I should expect the language barrier and all the others culture shocking differences. Honestly, I did expect it but EXPECTING and EXPERIENCING are two completely different things. With all this in mind, I can’t help but be thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this Entrepreneurship and Innovation program.

We still have many days before the end of this program but I can already see how much it will enhance and add value in my professional carrier. This experience is proving to me that no matter how much research you do and how well prepared you think you are the best and only way to fully understand something is by living it.

Cooking Lesson

The experiences in China just keep getting better. Last night we had the opportunity to learn to make Chinese dumplings. Needless to say, some were more adept at this activity than others…even with some expert students and professors doing their best to teach us.