We had thought our time at UVA in Charlottesville had gone by fast, but the past nine weeks at Lingnan (University) College in Guangzhou, China, really flew by! It literally felt as if we had just settled in, and then it was time to pack our suitcases again and get ready for the final leg of the M.S. in Global Commerce program in Barcelona, Spain.
We spent our time in the U.S. really getting to know each other, and in China, roles shifted and we certainly grew together as a group even more, dealing with the daily pleasures and challenges in a country so different from most of our own nationalities.
The program made it easy for us though. We were warmly welcomed by the faculty and, above all, by our Chinese classmates who were excited to show us their country. And they kept their promises. In the last weeks, we were exposed to the Chinese culture in every imaginable way. We learned about doing business in China, not only in class but also through exciting company visits in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. We enjoyed multiple delicious Dim Sum and hot pot dinners. We lost our voices during Karaoke and learned about Chinese customs, especially during the Lunar New Year and at multiple cultural events like calligraphy lessons.
Since it was the first time in Asia for many of us, and we found ourselves in a country in which we could barely make ourselves understood during daily tasks as simple as ordering food, our Chinese classmates repeatedly took the lead assisting us with getting comfortable and settling in. Our amazing apartments on the beautiful campus of Sun Yat-sen University, however, made this fairly easy!
We also took advantage of multiple occasions to travel within China and in Southeast Asia. Highlights of this term were certainly these trips together, as well as getting a real impression of the Chinese culture and families when invited to the homes of our Chinese friends. As always, we also had to juggle a considerable amount of course work, as nine weeks is not a long time to complete four classes and split tasks effectively within newly mixed, but diverse-as-ever teams. The last two weeks especially demanded us to focus on our final exams while still trying to experience as much as possible of this fascinating country.
When reviewing our short but intense term in a review session with Lingnan staff and faculty last Tuesday, we all realized once again what a great time we had and how many exciting moments we were able to pack into this short period of time. In the end, the term at Lingnan will definitely remain in our memories as a term full of busy course work, delicious food, new impressions and encounters on a daily basis, and, overall, a lot of fun. After two amazing terms, the bar for Barcelona is set high, but we are sure that this final destination of the program will keep up with our expectations!
-Written by Charly Lidy