My life in a blog

IMBA Chinese Track student at The University of South Carolina, Moore Business School, I'm currently living in Columbia, SC and traveling all over the place

Check out my other blog: My life in pictures or better check out my Flickr account

Monday, February 25, 2008

internship early stages, 实习很早的时候

From the moment I joined the Moore School of Business, I knew that I will be spending 1 year and a half in a country where I never though I ever live, China.
I spent already one year of my life in China and must say that I can now officially add Chinese to my spoken languages. I can pretty much explain what I want to say, but I am always using a pretty simple way of expressing what I mean. I am not able to read nor write well anymore, so the only things I still have are my speaking and especially my listening.
The other part of my Chinese experience, the 6 months, I was scheduled to spend them doing my internship in China. From the beginning, I knew that a Chinese company might be too much for me, as I would not be able to handle it, because of the complicated language barrier. Also, there is always the risk that one would work there and get to be used just because of the English speaking abilities.
My internship search started late October last year. Being in a new big city, apparently is hard to make good contacts but, by attending a lot of social events, you really get started in meeting a lot of well connected people. If only time would allow to do this every time, one could become a very good People Connector. I tried using my personal contacts, people and friends who I had in Beijing. In the same time, I attended different meetings aimed at helping expats to find a job in this large crazy city. Another very useful channel was AbroadChina, the company that always helped us to have an easier life here in Beijing. Last, but not least, our University has good contacts in Asia, particularly active in Shanghai and Beijing.
Because I really wanted to stay in Beijing, I considered the location more important than the actual function or company itself. Why? Simple, my life is here now, Mandarin is widely spoken and friends are also here.
I think it turned out that I made the right decisions at the time, but I guess waiting some more time will ultimately tell me if I took the right decision. More to come...


Monday, February 11, 2008

see the doctor learn new things, 看医生学新的事情

Recently I've been infected with a bacteria, so I've developed acute bronchitis. Realizing that, I scheduled a doctor's appointment. It's been a few days now and I feel a lot better.

In Beijing, as a foreigner there are just a few choices on where to go to the hospital. If your Chinese is very good and you trust the Chinese doctors, then you can go to a Chinese hospital, but if you don't master Chinese, then is a lot better to go to one of the Western hospitals or clinics.

In here, you can bargain for almost anything, from purse to food in the restaurant, but I feel that when it comes to doctors or health, there should be no bargaining involved, rather a lot of transparency and good communication can give the patient a lot of confidence. Since the doctors at the Western clinics are very well paid and have good command of English, the price you pay for the service is as such, very high!

Today though, me and Dr. Tony Z., the physician that took care of me, had a very entertaining conversation after the consultation. As most of Chinese en vogue, he is up to date with all the development of the country, the region and the world, has interest in Domestic and Foreign stocks and is planning to correct his nutritional and exercise habits in the future. Does that sound like a Western plan? Maybe... but as he further explained, in China, still right now, before the age of 30 or 40, the parents still somehow look after you, but after that you start to look after them. He also seem to like Singapore's policy on child birth control, the more educated you are, the more kids you can have. In China, it is somehow the other way around, people in the countryside can have many kids while in the cities, families are limited to one. The penalty for having the second child is 100,000 RMB or more (about 15,000 US$) and it goes lot higher if you are a famous figure.

From him, I learned that Japanese people "eat with their eyes" (many colors, pretty food, but when you mix it with the sauces it all tastes more or less the same), Chinese people "eat with their tongues" (things need to taste very well, and have many different flavors and spices) while Americans “eat with their brain" (they think what to eat, how many proteins, carbs, nutrition, etc.) I thought it was a pretty good comparison on the three habits. What do you think, isn't this true?

After the hour spent there, the bill was still very expensive but at least this time, I found out some new interesting things about China.
Still, after one year, China can be a new experience every day!


Friday, February 08, 2008

chinese funnies

This post was just outside of our University last semester. You be the judge...