“I went on the trip to gain a greater understanding of China’s social culture and their business culture. One of the major highlights was having buddies at the two universities that hosted us on our six week study tour.
“This provided me insight and an opportunity to meet and understand a young Chinese student’s perspective of their country, and ours,” Annabelle said.
The Asian Agribusiness Summer School exposed students to both urban and rural experiences and highlighted opportunities and constraints to doing business in, and with China.
It consisted of four weeks in Yunnan Agriculture University (YAU) followed by a week in Pu’er City, and a week in Yunnan Minzu University (YMU). It was a mixture of lectures, field trips and social activities covering the Chinese culture, ethnicity, economy and institutional system.
“The trip made me realise what stage China is in, in terms of socially and economically,” Annabelle said.
There were other lessons too.
“I now know how to interact professionally and socially with Chinese- as well as how to use chopsticks.”
Trip organiser, Professor Christophe Gan, said by interacting with Chinese students, academics and business people of both domestic and international companies, small and large-scale, students were able to grasp the peculiarities of doing business in an Asian country.
“One of the best part of the programme for the students has undoubtedly been the buddy system,” he said.
“Not only has most of what the students learnt been through conversation, they have also enjoyed the opportunity to network and make friends, to help improve Chinese students’ English and to teach them about New Zealand.
The students got their Chinese counterparts excited about studying at Lincoln University and living in New Zealand.
They had a project to develop a business plan for an export or import opportunity and visited many retail outlets, including major supermarket chains. The complexity of the task and the huge level of uncertainty when developing a business plan in a foreign country was soon highlighted to them.
“They were also made aware that many amenities they had taken for granted, such as electricity, heating for winter, clean drinking water and ubiquitous Internet access, are not a given in other parts of the world,” Professor Gan said.
There were some colourful aspects of the trip too, such as the tea and coffee making workshop hosted by Tropical Crops College (a branch campus of YAU). Students were given practical lessons on how to identify different types of tea (unfermented vs fermented), and how to brew, serve, and drink it correctly.
Image1: The Lincoln students try on some traditional dress in China.
Image 2: Annabelle Adkins, right, with her “buddy” Jiaqi Yan.