Day 12: From the States to China

Today began with another company visit, to Delphi. By now, I’ve gotten the hang of dressing business casual and knowing what to expect from presentations. However, Delphi had a surprise for us! Our presented actually did graduate research at Pitt and worked under the mechanical engineering advisor. His story is interesting, because he loved learning about engineering, but he loves working in sales, so he switched his fields. I understand that with other fields; for instance, I love learning about urban studies but I couldn’t imagine working in it, and I can picture myself working in industrial engineering but I couldn’t see myself studying it. We then toured the company and got to see the rooms where they actually perform testing on their engines. It’s interesting to see how remotely controlled all of the testing is.

daytime Shanghai
Our second visit of the day was to AmCham, and the presenters there are both from the States. Hank went to school in New England, and the other presenter worked for PNC in Pittsburgh. This made the presentation much more relatable to us, as they could make analogies to experiences we knew well. During the presentation I learned a lot about adjusting to China after moving there and it really hit me that Shanghai, unlike Beijing and Xi’an, is a truly international city. One notable part of the presentation was when someone asked about security concerns from the general public after the Facebook breach. Hank said that most people around our age weren’t aware of it, as Facebook is blocked in China. However, I talked to Jane and Young afterwards and they said that most people have VPNs through their university, so they’re able to access Facebook, and furthermore many people were very worried following the Facebook breach. I find it interesting how much trust many people here put into weChat’s payment security, whereas at home many people won’t use even Venmo. Overall, I found the AmCham visit to be the most effective of all of the company visits, and they did a particularly good job of showing us the transformation of Shanghai from a small village to the international city it is today.

egg custard bun
After the visit, we headed back to the hotel and finished our presentation for tomorrow. Lilianna ended up visiting after her Spanish exam. A group of people went out to dim sum in one of the nearby malls, with Lilianna, Young, and Jane. This was a different eating style from the family style meals that we’ve been having, and it definitely was a change from the individual meals we’re used to back home. Basically, in small groups of 4, we marked off which dishes and in which quantity we wanted to order them on a piece of paper, and the waitress took it back. When the food came out, there was enough per order for each of us to try it, so for instance, we each could have one bun or one dumpling each. My favorite food was the egg custard buns, which melted so perfectly in my mouth. We also tried a cold soup that was supposedly good for females to eat. I find it funny how much superstition goes into everyday life in China, from the food to how you walk. Anyways, I’ll miss Lilianna and I hope she has a good time travelling to New York next week!

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