While on the train now to Beijing I felt very inspired to reflect on the class and group experience that I took away from these past two amazing weeks. At the beginning of this whole thing there was a lot of questions buzzing around in my mind. Things like the language barrier, our age differences, and our cultural differences. I was worried it would be difficult being the group leader to navigate this new territory for me and still help everyone in reaching for a common goal. When we first started out we were definitely trying to figure out how to best communicate with one another. It was difficult because for the Chinese students all the new business terms being taught they knew in Chinese but not so much in English. So, this put more stress on the fact that we needed to learn how to best overcome the language barrier and fast so that we all were getting the most out of the class! I found however that the Chinese students when asking me to clarify some things from the lecture that day actually helped me in thinking about each step of entrepreneurship and the business process in a different way. I no longer could use the comfortable buzz words that we are taught, I had to find different words to describe each thing that they asked and this helped solidify my knowledge even more.
It is amazing how eager the Chinese students are to learn and I would say the same for our Indian student in our group (It was his first business class ever)! I am happy to say that this class brought out not only the best in my but my team as well. I feel I grew so much professionally and also grew personally. These connections and the learning curve were a great experience and showed me that even with someone who maybe doesn’t fully speak the same language as you that it doesn’t mean you can’t learn a lot together. With the world we live in and the technology that we have at our finger tips there is nothing that you can’t do. Professor Mehta also was incredible in helping us think critically and openly to new ideas and broadening what we thought was possible. I can say I feel much more open and confident to the idea of becoming an entrepreneur one day!
a long 15 hour plane ride to Hong Kong. Stepping off the plane I did not know
what to expect. I knew that I was going to experience a completely different culture,
but I really was not ready for it. When we first landed in the airport in Hong
Kong, I was taken away by how large it was. The terminals seemed to stretch for
nearly a half mile, so far that you could not even see the other side. We
landed around 5am in Hong Kong and the airport was nearly empty so I was
confused as to why it was so massive. This quickly changed a few hours later
when thousands of people flooded the terminals from all different parts of the
world. Everyone was going on about their business and had their own agendas. One
of the most interesting stores I found when exploring the airport was a shop
selling all sorts of dried goods. Some of these items included chicken wings,
fish, scallops, and chicken feet. I later found out that you can put these
dried items in soups.
After another 3 hour flight to Nanjing, we finally had
reached our destination. We left the airport and got into a van which took us
to the hotel. The weather was extremely hot and humid and I was not used to it
on the first day. The road from the airport to the hotel was where I got my
first views of Nanjing. I was impressed by how clean the highways were and how
much nature was spread throughout the city. When you think of large metropolitan
cities, you do not tend to think there will be trees and flowers everywhere. There
are large parks and lakes throughout the city that give it a very green and
beautiful appearance. They have managed to place large modern skyscrapers in
with parks which is what I found most impressive.
Once we reached the hotel, we decided to take a walk
to see what the streets were like. There was so much life in the streets as
people were walking everywhere and having conversations. Many people ride
electric scooters to get around the city. These people seem to be natural at
driving them with the way they are able to weave in and out of traffic and
around the sidewalks, sometimes having 2 or 3 people on the same scooter. At one
point I even saw a man with a small dog on the back of his scooter! The most interesting
sight I saw was a man on a bike selling goldfish and plants. This is nothing I would
have ever expected to see, as I did not think fish takes would go well with a
bicycle. Somehow he managed to pedal around the streets with goldfish in the back.
Lining the streets were shops that were selling all kinds of goods from food to
cigarettes, even pets. Outside of the shops were vendors selling fruits and vegetables.
It’s as if the city never sleeps because something is always going on at some
The second day we went to a reconstruction of a classic
Chinese town around a salt lake. There was about a 45 minute drive as we left
the main city and traveled into the mountains. Once we got off the bus you
could see a real Buddhist temple far off in the distance. This temple was at
the very top of a large mountain and looked like it was straight out of a
movie. As we headed into the park we could see from the distance a full city
filled with ancient Chinese buildings. This combined the style of ancient Chinese
buildings with modern interiors. The town was very beautiful and when you
walked down the streets you were immersed in the town. It was as if you
traveled back to ancient China. They had actors preforming shows and dressed in
traditional Chinese attire. You started to imagine what life would have been
like in the ancient world and how difficult simple tasks would become. We had a
great tour guide on this trip who explained a lot of the history of China and
how it evolved into what it is today. I enjoyed this trip because I was able to
learn a lot about China’s deep history.
When we got off the plane and into the van to take
us to the hotel I knew that this trip was going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Once we got off the van into the hotel we regrouped and relaxed for a little
bit. After about an hour or so a member in our group suggested we go to the
bank to grab Chinese currency. We asked the lady at the front desk where the nearest
bank was, her response was walk 2 minutes then take a right. We listened to her
directions and immediately got lost. We began walking down a busy street with
many small shops selling fruit, meat and all types of fish as well as
restaurants. To our left there was a women selling live shrimp in a bucket jumping
around with a bowl of eels right next to it, and to our right a man selling
goldfish out of the back of his bicycle. We all looked at each other and were
taken back by the daily life of the residents in Nanjing. The next day we went
to a lake, which was more of an amusement park than a lake. The park had many
gift stores, and small sops that sold clothes food, and other trinkets. There were
performers acting out skits and plays in traditional Chinese garments. Overall
I enjoyed my time at the lake, and learned a lot about Chinese culture and
When we landed in Honk Kong I was amazed by all the
different types of food that were in the airport. Dried scallops, dried fish,
exotic candies, and beverages that I have never seen before. Our first meal in
Nanjing consisted of bamboo, which was soft tender and tasted like beef there
was also Tibetan cabbage, a beef dish, Chinese pumpkin, broccoli, and a chicken,
head and feet included. When walking on the streets you will notice small tubs
filled with crawfish, when I asked one of the Chinese students why there were
so many shops selling them she said that it was the season. In the states
crawfish are a popular dish down South in Louisiana where there is an abundance
of the tiny Lobsters. I suggested to the group that we try them and everyone
agreed, so we went into a local restaurant near the campus. The meal began with
barbequed meat, pork, and whole mackerel on a stick. After we finished with the
first course the crawfish came and it was a lot of fun just to take them apart
to get the tiny little bit of meat that is edible on the tiny crustacean. They
were delicious and I was very happy I got to experience that. We also had hot
pot, which consists of a pot in the middle with different types of broths. The
objective is to cook your own meat. We ordered squid, chicken, beef, potatoes,
noodles, quail eggs and threw everything into the pot. When the food is ready
to be eaten it floats to the top and absorbs the flavor of the broth. I will
say this was the most laborious meal we had due to the intensity of the heat
and having to fish for food with chop sticks, but it was delicious.
class began with the introduction of each groups team members. We were quickly
broken up and did a quick ice breaker. The following day is when the class
really started. We were introduced to the project and given a few challenges we
had to complete. One project started with one of the professors from NUJPT
giving us one hundred dollars and trying to make as much money as we can with
that initial investment. Our group decided to teach English classes. We made
only thirty Yuan because we couldn’t find enough people to join, but it was a
fun exercise. The class itself is very interesting, because I want to apply
what I learn here in China back in the United States to potentially create my
own business. Professor Mehta gave very informative lectures on how to put your
thoughts together and create something.
Back in February
when walking to class, I saw a poster at UML that said “2 Week China Trip”
worth 3 credits for undergrad and graduate students. That night when making
conversation at dinner I just brought up to my Fiancé how cool I thought it was
that the school was offering a trip like that and could you believe the
opportunity that would be for the students. Before I could say anymore, he
replied: “well, you’re obviously applying right?!” I looked up at him a
bit surprised by his enthusiasm and said: “do you really think I
should?” He said, “you have been looking for a way to expand your network,
right? And I know that you’ve always wanted to go to China since we started
dating, this is perfect!” I thought about it for a while and said:
“you know, your right, I will apply!”
Fast forward to hearing back that I was accepted to be part of the program, I was absolutely thrilled and of course a bit nervous. What would China be like? Would I fit in even though I was the only grad student and about 5 years older than every else? How could I survive being away from my home and Fiancé for 2 weeks? Will I be able to adjust to the 12-hour time difference? Well, luckily, I didn’t let these questions stop me from making one of the best decisions of my life! I got on that plane and after about a days travel wound up in a totally different country ready to make the most of every opportunity that I could.
The first day of class, when I first meet my team, I was wondering how it would work out with an Indian student, three Chinese students, and me? Would we get along? Would we be able to work together well? How will we be at communicating with one another? Luckily, I believe I was assigned the best group of students I could have asked for. We became fast friends, even opting to forgo the free dinners at the hotel and decide to go and continue to spend time together outside of the classroom. It is incredible even though sometimes we need a little extra time for us to type sometime into google translate to understand what the other person is trying to say. I feel that this trip has opened up my eyes to international relations and the fantastic people who can live half a world away from you!
After a long flight of 15 hours to Hong Kong and then after a 5-hour layover, arrived in Nanjing, another 21/2 hours flight, excited to be in Nanjing again! & 7 UML students started their journey to learn entrepreneurship and explore China, its people, culture and history. On first day in Nanjing, went to Cheng Zhou about an hour and half from Nanjing to visit Oriental Salt Lake city. A wonderful site with many side shows of Chinese tradition & culture, recreation of old town going back 1000 years, took a wild boar ride (!), experienced great food, and did shopping (of course). Overall a great first day to quickly get into new world!
Taste of real Chinese food!
Kind of tired at Hong Kong airport? But anxious to get started!
Travel and study entrepreneurship and innovation with UMass Lowell’s Manning School of Business in the Spring & Summer of 2019. Undergraduate and graduate students are welcome!
Students travel to Nanjing, China with Professor Ashwin Mehta to Nanjing University of Postal and Telecommunications (NUPT) to learn alongside NUPT and KLE Technological University (Hubli, India) students and immerse themselves in entrepreneurial mindsets and cultural influences on decision-making.
This course is worth 3 credits and is designed to help students understand the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship in today’s global economy and to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset among the students in the Manning School of Business. It will cover different forms of entrepreneurship such as small businesses, growth ventures, corporate entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship. The course will focus on innovation types, turning innovation into reality and the process of entrepreneurship. Innovation and entrepreneurship theories and concepts will be discussed with real life examples and cases.