Spring Break in China!


Downtown Shanghai at night from the riverfront Bund.

Today’s Tuesday with Tulsa blog post comes to us from Kyle R., a junior accounting and economics double major from Leawood, KS.

Ni hao! While some people took Spring Break as a time to go to the beach, visit family, or work ahead on homework (okay, it’s highly unlikely BUT you never know!), I traveled with my International Business class to China, the land of rich history, culture, and growing business opportunities.

Dr. Mike Troilo, one of the professors in the International Business department, has been taking both grad and undergrad students on week-long business trips abroad for many years now.  As I write this blog, he is currently planning next spring semester’s business travel abroad.  I signed up because it fit a course requirement for my IB minor and because China sounded awesome!  The coursework leading up to our trip was full of case analysis of Chinese operations and articles regarding Chinese business, but the selling point was the chance to visit all China had to offer.

Great Wall

Standing on the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China.

I couldn’t contain my excitement when we took off from Tulsa.  We would fly into Shanghai and depart from Beijing.  The itinerary composed of four main things: cultural sightseeing, company visits, unstructured free time to visit places during the day, and free time to venture around the city we were in during the evening.  During our trip, we were led by two amazing tour guides: Willing and Chengying.  Our class quickly befriended the two once we arrived, making the experience all the more enjoyable.

During our time in Shanghai, our site tours included the American Chamber of Commerce, Haworth, Volkswagen Shanghai, and a wellness center that takes care of Chinese orphans that suffer from physical or mental deficiencies.  We also experienced Nanjing Road, a Chinese acrobatics show, the Yu Garden, the Jade Buddha Temple, and the Bund.  In Beijing, we visited BamaChina, China University of Petroleum Beijing, and Hanfeng Century Technology.  We also went to see Beijing Olympic Park, the Houhai district, the Beijing hutongs, Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City.  I could go into detail about each of these amazing places, but I have such limited blog space.

While I have traveled an extensive amount in my lifetime, I truly think that this – my first trip to Asia, my first real exposure of China – was an unbelievable and incredible experience.  I was so fortunate that I could fit this into my class schedule, make friends in the class, and share in the joy and gratitude that China offered.  To this day, our group keeps in touch with Willing and Chengying through Facebook and WeChat.  I can reflect years down the road with crazy, insightful, beautiful, forever-keepsake photos and believe that China ranks up as one of the best trips on which I have ever been.  I was blessed with a wonderful occasion and would not have traded it for anything else over Spring Break 2014. This opportunity is made possible by the generosity of the business school and the vision of a professor who believes in the power of learning how to do business by visiting companies abroad.  Only at TU was I able to harness such an incredible opportunity.