China seems to be in the news on daily basis and that is why many people tend to have strong opinions of the country. The news value of China combined with the countries key role in fueling the staggering world economy makes it an interesting target for a business student. As China keeps on changing at an unbelievable pace now is a good time to go and witness the change by yourself.
My destination for the autumn term was the legendary Shanghai. As China in general can be a bit challenging for an outsider Shanghai is a good place to start your journey. Westerner presence in the city has always been strong and that’s why it doesn’t really feel like a typical Chinese city. The old buildings on the Bund still remind about the city’s colonial past and they create nice contrast to the ultra modern financial center Pudong on the other opposite bank of the river.
Iconic Pudong Skyline
Although I knew that the population of the city was around 20 million the amount of people everywhere was just overwhelming at first. No matter what the time or place big crowds always surround you. What surprised me the most was how easy it was to move around from place to place. There was a subway stop on our street and it took only ten minutes to get to the city center.
Typical Chinese street scenery
Famous Nanjing Road
Everyday life in China is just so different and the amount of chaos on each level of the society is sometimes disturbing. I had some concerns about the studies but fortunately everything with the Shanghai University went smoothly. This is because the Central Ostrobothnia UAS has been sending students to China for almost 20 years. The course package offered doesn’t really give a freedom of choice but for example the subjects I studied (Chinese economy, Chinese culture & history, Chinese business law, Chinese language) gave some insight to the Chinese way of living and doing business.
Going abroad is something that many think of but unfortunately they lack the capability to execute. The best part of our study program is that it offers the students no alternative options since the exchange is a mandatory part of our studies. After two years of intensive studying a total change of environment is more than welcome and it really helps to put things into the right perspective.
Although my travels in the Far East are over for know, the world tour will nonetheless continue. This time I will be heading west for the practical training part of my studies. I will be going to Charlotte, North Carolina where I am hoping to see the American way of life from a new angle. Compared to China I’m confident that USA will be cakewalk!
Text and photos Miko Mäenpää, a student of TAMK International Business