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.
The last three days in China were a lot of fun. We did a lot of sightseeing, had a couple more business visits and got good at bargaining in the Chinese markets. Sights in China were all very grand. However, my favorite place we visited was the summer palace. I thought it was the coolest because the lake and longevity hill were both man-made. It was spectacular because the lake is about 1.2 square miles and the hill is about 200 feet. The clay that was dug up to make the lake was then used to make the hill for the palace. It was a very grand place, and although it was foggy, the view was still amazing.
The business visits were pretty cool. My favorite one was the Microsoft visit. Initially it was cool because they gave us a tour of all the new technology they have, which actually almost convinced me to become a PC guy. Other than the showroom, the lecture given was also one of my favorites. The guy talked to us about what made Microsoft's business model in China very different from other companies. It was cool to see the different techniques companies use to be successful in the new country they are expanding to.
The summer palace and the Microsoft visit were both interesting, but the place I had the most fun was the markets. It was a lot of fun trying to bargain with the shop owners. It was like a game - both you and the shop owner know that the item for sale is up for grabs, it's just finding the right price for it. Sometimes I win while other times they get the better deal. It is hard to walk away from the negotiation, especially when you really want something. It was really funny because the shop owners would be really nice to you until you start negotiating with them. Once the talks started to happen, they changed their demeanor and became really aggressive. One of the people on the trip got punched because they could not agree on the price, and another person got tapped in the head with a calculator. Luckily none of this happened to me because my negotiating technique was not as stern as my peers. I personally found that trying to make the sellers laugh worked for me, so luckily I never got hit. However, I did get a friendly slap in the hand because I told one of the ladies she was cute. I did get a good deal from her, so I wasn't too angry.
China made me realize how useful it is to learn another language, especially one that can potentially help in the business world in the future. The overall lifestyle was very different from the U.S., and it was fun to put myself in the middle of it and experience what it was like. Thank you to our driver and our tour guide, who helped make the trip more memorable.
Take care and RAISE HIGH!