First off, it has been awesome reading my classmates’ posts about their trip and hearing some of their reflections and thoughts about the various aspects of the trip. I really enjoyed experiencing this incredible, life-changing trip across the world with them. The knowledge and insights I gained on this trip could not have been gained in the classroom, and I cannot emphasize that fact enough.
As I mentioned in past posts, one aspect of the Chinese culture that I found most interesting and slightly surprising was how superficial they were. I knew that the Chinese people were more superficial than most, however I did not really realize how much about the “show” they were. For example, the shopping malls there are incredibly extravagant. The most popular brands there are some of the most exclusive brands in the world. These brands all have pretty large logos, and all of their merchandise has that logo on it (obviously). It is extremely important to the people that their peers see that they have a Louie Vuitton bag or an Audi A8. Also, another small thing I noticed was that almost every entrance, even a private driveway by the airport for the president, is extremely extravagant so that people KNOW that the entrance is for someone greater than them. It says quite a bit about the Chinese culture. There is no true sense of individuality, as these extravagant things are what define who you are in the culture. These things represent how successful you are in your career, which is the true value you bring to the world. Now, don’t get me wrong, Americans are very superficial as well and we have plenty of cultural issues. However, this trip to China has showed me what true superficiality and what it’s true deeper meaning is to some cultures.
Also, as all of you know, it is extremely hard to miss the talks of China in the news right now. I read an incredibly interesting article today in the New York Times that I strongly would recommend you read. It is one of the best articles I have read this summer, and is the best article I have read on this issue. See the link below!
It was clear that the country needed to give the currency more flexibility and to reinvigorate exports. If officials did not act, China risked deeper turmoil at home, threatening the stability of the government. I find this especially interesting since there was so much talk about this issue on our trip. I find it even more interesting because none of the officials we asked about this issue were open to discussing or admitting that they thought China intentionally devalued the currency. The article is really a great read, and includes some really great graphics to explain the situation, so please let me know you thoughts, as I am sure I would learn plenty!
Now that the trip is over, I still am continuing to read up on Chinese culture and business issues on that side of the pacific. I really would like to go back and stay for a longer period of time to learn even more about their culture and the corporate business environment there. There is still so much for me to learn and I cannot wait to tackle that mountain. Thanks for a great trip everybody!