Brian Mojica is a rising junior on the men's water polo team. He will be traveling to Singapore, Vietnam and China as part of a Dean's Scholars study tour May 20-June 5 and will be blogging about his experience.
I've been in Beijing, China, for three days now, and although it's been great, I've experienced quite a culture shock. Never in my life have I felt so helpless as in China. I can't read any of the characters and I cannot communicate with anyone here. Trying to find my way back to the hotel is always an adventure and trying to order food is difficult when there are no pictures. However, all of these obstacles is what makes being out here fun. It is interesting to try to interact with people who speak very little or no English at all. You have to be creative when trying to ask for simple things like directions. Hand signals, hotel cards, apps that translate into different languages are all things I've used so far. Each time I attempt to go out without the guide is quite the adventure and I get the biggest sigh of relief when I find my destination.
Besides getting lost and finding my way around, we've had one business visit and we also took a tour of Jingshan Park, the Beijing Bell and Drum Tower, Ghost Street and the Great Wall. The business visit was really interesting because we got to compare the way Ernst and Young operate in Vietnam and China. The same company in different locations act differently because of the cultural norms of the country they are in. An example would be in hiring employees. In Vietnam, employees are less willing to travel to another branch, whereas in China people are more willing to travel. This means that in Vietnam the company needs to hire people who are local, whereas in China they can hire and transfer people to the greater Chinese region. It is just one of the many differences, but it was very interesting to see firsthand.
The tours we took in the very short time we have been here were all very exciting. The hill on top of Jingshan Park is considered to have the number one view of Beijing. On the top you can see how the city aligns itself from north to south. At one side of the park looking north you can sometimes see the Olympic Park, then heading south you hit the Bell and Drum Tower, then the park, then looking south you see the Forbidden City. It is a marvelous view, and although I haven't seen many sightseeing spots in Beijing, I could agree that it is an amazing view. Our tour of the Great Wall was also very cool. It was weird walking along the Great Wall because growing up I've heard so much about it. It was amazing and it is truly a wonder.
Although we've only been out here for a few days, I feel like I have learned a lot already. We have a lot planned for the rest of our trip, so keep checking out the blog.