China: Summary

My time in China was unforgettable and easily an experience of a lifetime. Studying abroad opened my eyes to another side of life both in a professional and cultural way. Culturally I got to witness how Chinese people live everyday which is a significant difference compared to the United States.  For example, road rage is extremely prevalent in the states even when unwarranted but in China road rage is near nonexistent even though the drivers there are significantly worse at driving and traffic laws are followed a lot less. Even in the most simple things like bathrooms I was surprise. I promise that I will never take publicly supplied toilet paper for granted again.  Every part of Chinese culture was crazy for me to see and being able to take part of it really expanded my knowledge of all walks of life.

One of the largest differences was in a professional aspect. Work in China seemed a lot more strict. The work day is longer, less breaks are allowed, and Quotas seemed more harsh. I remember going to the Yang Shan port visit and hearing the presenter say that one of the largest issues for productivity was the human labor restrictions. They stated that production is slowed down mainly by employees taking breaks and needing to eat. This seemed incredibly brutal to me since workers in America are treated fairly well. Therefore, I believe there is an ethical issue with how employees are treated. Even the programmers for companies seemed to be overworked and as a result I believe they only retain as much or less productivity as well treated workers in the United States.

A huge benefit to this study abroad experience was the fact that there was a generous mix of engineering and business learning. This was really important as I got to experience first hand how e-commerce is impacted by both engineering and business in different ways. HuaWei was a great example of this mesh between fields. At HuaWei, although they weren’t able to answer some questions about the technological development of certain devices they did answer a lot on the e-commerce side. We learned a multitude of topics that were about where engineering and business met and this helped to provide perspective on many aspects of my field especially job prospect.

The social professional environment of China was way different than that of the states. I felt as if I saw more employees with headphones in while working and a lot less collaboration. Even at VIPKid, which had a very open to communication setup, it was nearly dead silent. Meanwhile, at Google in America, each employee is assigned to a team. This was extremely strange for me to see since I’m used to open communication work especially with the work I do at the IMedLab in Schenely place. China was a life changing experience and given the chance, I would definetely study abroad again.

Leave a Reply