Day 3: From the Classroom to the Olympics

May 8, 2018

I was very excited for this particular day because we had a unique site visit planned: touring a Chinese University. We started early in the day and began our adventure to the Central University of Finance and Economics. I thought that it was cool that this university was all about business. Although we have business specific colleges in the United States, I don’t think that we have one dedicated to finance and economics. Those are usually just majors amongst the other ones that schools offer. I was in awe once we arrived to this college campus which was a lot more different compared to Pittsburgh’s campus. There was a lot of open space and bamboo plants an flowers everywhere, which truly impressed me. On our campus back home, we do not have as much plant life.

We were fortunate enough to be able to sit in on a class taught by Professor Yao, who was a guest lecturer at Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and graduated from a prestigious university here in China. During his lecture, he touched on the topics of Big Data and Smart Phone Marketing. I found Big Data to be very interesting because it is a system that can register people’s search history, purchases, etc. and thus use that information to enhance marketing techniques without taking any personal information. Companies are beginning to use Big Data in order to create “Recommendations” sections for consumers as well as leading towards more personalized marketing. That way, customers will be targeted individually, have a better experience and will most likely become more loyal to the company. Another interesting note that he brought up was differences in traditional marketing between the U.S. and in China. In the United States, there are larger shopping carts, stores have wider aisles and more purchases are being made while it is the complete opposite in China. Professor Yao explained this can be explained by three reasons. First, families are naturally going to be smaller because they are restricted by the child policy. Second, transportation has become an issue due to most families don’t have as many cars as families in the states. Finally, location is very difficult because grocery stores are less common, so access may be difficult. His lecture was very insightful.

After the lecture, we met some students who attended CUFE. We had a lunch with them as well as given a walking tour to explore the university. One of the main buildings we went into was their library, which was at the heart of campus. This library was gigantic and the “go-to” place for students whether it be studying, hanging with friends, or even to get a quick nap (yes, we did walk by multiple students who were sleeping). However, the most intriguing part of this library was in the basement, which featured an art exhibit. On display were beautiful scrolls with calligraphy and artwork created by students. When it comes to the differences between Chinese students and American students, there aren’t too many if I’m being honest. Yet, the one thing I have noticed was their work ethic. Chinese students are more dedicated to their work and believe that education comes first. Other than that, they are regular students just like us! It was fun getting to know some of the students and learning about how their lives as students were like in China.

At night, I was excited because we decided to visit the Olympic Village, which was where the 2008 Olympics were held. It was kind of far away from our hotel, so the group had to take the subway station. This was my first time in the Chinese subway, but it didn’t seem anything too different from the ones in New York. We had finally arrived, and the view was breath taking. I couldn’t believe we were standing right in front of the Bird’s Nest, which was Beijing’s National Stadium. It hosted the Opening and Closing ceremonies and some athletic events. We then walked across to the Water Cube, where the swimming events occurred. Walking in this Olympic Village was an amazing sight because there were lights shining everywhere that highlighted the main buildings. The architecture truly made them a sight to see, which was the perfect ending to the night.

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