Free «Study Tour SUIBE In China» Essay Sample

Study Tour SUIBE In China

Introduction

The Shanghai University of International Business and Economics (SUIBE), earlier known as Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade, was established in 1960 and remained under the control of the Ministry of Commerce until September 1994. After that, the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government took over its administration. In April 2013, the Ministry of Education granted it a university status and finally it became known as the Shanghai University of International Business and Economics.

To enhance mutual exchanges between Australian and Chinese students, SUIBE holds the Summer School Course for the students of RMIT University, Australia, every year. This Chinese Program represents a two-week study tour sponsored by local municipal administration that provides the scholarship covering the costs of accommodation, tuition fees, textbooks and cultural activities.

The study tour consists of lectures on different topics of economics and business, cultural diversity issues, outdoor recreational and educational activities, as well as activities with local students. The characteristics of this study tour are oriented towards the introduction of English-taught courses at SUIBE. Since 2011, SUIBE has successfully organized five summer programs with 195 graduates from New Zealand, Vanuatu, Fiji, and Australia. Every year SUIBE encourages 25 students from RMIT University of Australia to take part in this program. These students are met at Hongqiao International or Pudong International Airport and taken to Gubei Campus. The university provides free accommodation inside the campus with free access to the Internet and three standard meals.

The current paper examines the features of summer study tour held by SUIBE and evaluates in what ways such programs have helped to improve relations with Australia and other Oceania countries and have been beneficial for international students in shaping their careers and enhancing their knowledge about China’s overall development in the last two decades.

A Study Tour Hosted by Shanghai University of International Business and Economics

The opening ceremony starts with SUIBE Introduction and Campus Orientation. The students meet with local students, exchange their knowledge and experience so that they can adjust to the new environment. The local students show the campus area to international students and invite them to participate in curricular activities such as Chinese martial arts and ballet dancing to strengthen friendship. The students visit various places such as banks for their financial transactions and Metro Station for commuting independently (SUIBE 2015).

The two weeks program covers lectures on business environment in China, Chinese language and culture including social justice and diversity issues, Chinese legal system, investment environment in China, and environmental protection. The first half of the day i.e. from 9.00 to 11.30 begins with a lecture on these topics, while during the second half of the day, students are taken outdoors for various recreational and educational activities. The two-week outdoor activities include a visit to Shanghai Stock Exchange, trip to Pudong New Area, Oriental Pearl Tower and financial district center, Night Tour to HuangPu River, activities with local students on Gubei and Songjiang Campus, a dinner at Xintiandi (famous pub area), a visit to Chinese Art Gallery Street, tour to Zhu Jiajiao famous for ancient water township, and trip to City’s God Temple. Besides, while at the campus, students also learn Chinese Painting & Calligraphy/Paper Cutting & Knot Making and Chinese Dancing /Martial Arts, as well as watch Chinese classical movies (SUIBE 2015).

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Business Environment in China

The first day of the program begins with the lecture on the business environment in China. China is a developing country, which has a huge potential for economic growth. Although it offers vast market opportunities to foreign investors providing access to a large market and significant savings in production and labor costs, investors should be cautious due to the fluctuations in the legal and political environment, which poses a threat of uncertainty and creates substantial risk for foreign investment.

The students learn various aspects of the economic, political, and cultural factors that influence business environment and practices in China. They acquire the knowledge on how economic reforms and opening doors to the developed economies have enabled China to become the second largest economy after the US judging from its growth of the purchasing power. Currently, Chinese government strives for quadrupling the gross domestic product by 2020 and doubling the per capita income (Zhang & Huang 2012). 

The Australian students participate in debates, seminars and discussions with Chinese students on such disciplines as business and finance management, international law, and economics which help students of both countries to enhance their knowledge. Besides, the international students also visit local communities and participate in their rituals and festivals. These programs also help to develop closer ties with China. The students learn the following topics on business environment in China during their study tour.

 
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General Business Climate -Trade

The students come to know that when China joined the WTO in November 2001, it experienced a considerable growth in its trade and foreign investment and became more competitive in the world market. According to the WTO rules, tariffs on certain goods have been decreased, and market entry to various regulated industries has gradually come into force. Industrial ventures initiated in the past decade include trade, manufacturing and distribution, including advertising services, franchising, freight forwarding services, and services of inspection agencies. Chinese leaders believe that a more free market system would attract technology, know-how, and services (Cross 2004).

China’s business environment reflects several aspects. In 2009, China entered FTAs along with many developing countries such as Pakistan, India, New Zealand and Mexico and also negotiated with the Gulf Cooperation Council.  These FTAs with the Southeast Asian nations have enhanced the Chinese economy and resulted in the increase of foreign direct investment that has attracted significant amount of FDI (Lardy 2012).

The students acquire knowledge of various modes of entry in the Chinese market such as joint ventures, franchise, wholly foreign-owned companies and equity joint ventures. Besides, knowledge of Chinese business laws and FTAs make students acquainted with simplified procedures to attract foreign investment and collaborations. The application of FTAs helps China to get access to foreign investment, technology and foreign markets, expanding natural resources, and reassuring the world that its economic growth will help to enhance the development of other countries (Thoma & Senn 2007).

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Currently, the Chinese government has delegated enough resources to local governments for foreign investment approval with simplified procedures that have encouraged large MNCs to invest in the Chinese economy. This step is extremely significant for reducing bureaucracy. The government encourages foreign investments in priority areas such as environmental protection, information technology, water conservation and energy, and even offers subsidies. The coastal areas of China have become highly industrialized compared to the inland areas, thus improving infrastructural facilities. Needless to say that Chinese government has amended laws and regulations to encourage FDI in the western and central regions of China (Kuo & Yang 2008).

Expanding and Diversifying Access to Natural Resources

Students also study various factors that influence China’s economic growth and business environment such as dependency on oil and natural energy resources. This knowledge helps them to learn about China’s efforts to become self-sufficient in terms of its energy needs.

The primary objective of China’s economic policy is to enhance diversification of natural resources, especially hydrocarbon energy resources. The Chinese government focuses on developing friendly relations with the neighboring countries to meet China’s energy needs. Currently, China is one of the largest consumers of the world’s total production of steel, aluminum, copper, fertilizers, and cement. China imports these resources from the developing nations. Similarly, China imports more than 50% percent of oil for consumption purposes and economists predict that if China does not explore its domestic resources then it may face threefold increase in oil consumption in the following decade and considerable reduction of foreign exchange reserves.  .

China’s economic policy is focused on improving friendly relations with the Asian countries to fulfill its energy requirements. It attracts energy producing countries by providing ODI, financial, and economic aid, and extending support in the United Nations assembly to protect their interests and rights.

Currently, China focuses on those countries, which produces light crude oil, because it has installed two more refineries for processing sulfur and crude oil. Thus, the nation’s dependence on energy and oil needs from the Middle East and African nations has increased Beijing’s political, military, and economic influence in these regions (McGiffert 2009).

Chinese Language, Culture Diversity and Ethical Values

After acquiring comprehensive knowledge on China’s business environment, students have an opportunity to learn about Chinese language, culture and traditions, which largely impact its economic growth, and make the Chinese nation one of the highly civilized societies in the world.

Cultural Diversity

Chinese culture is extremely complex but scholars argue that in spite of the diverse culture in Chinese communities, many shared characteristics can still be observed. These values derive largely from the prevailing influence of Confucian philosophy, which is deeply embedded in the Chinese culture, and form a core of Chinese identity. Undoubtedly, Confucian thought has been influencing the Chinese life for more than 2,500 years; it is unlikely to die away even after the participation of three generations in British society. The most significant values of Chinese culture represent the value of a family unit, cultivation of self-restraint and morality, hierarchical structure of society, and the emphasis on achievement and hard work. According to its traditional culture, the Chinese nation is a ‘collectivist society’ in many ways (Hu & Qiu 2009).

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As a rule, the interests of a family unit as a whole are prioritized over the interests of its individual members. Children learn moral and ethics of family life and respect their elders and parents. Chinese society considers that the family as a whole will prosper and thrive if harmonious atmosphere prevails in the home environment. To put it simple, family members adhere to the basic rules of moderation, obedience, toleration and self-restraint. The present generation encounters many difficulties related to the expectations of their parents, elders and other family members. The modern generation finds it difficult to meet the demands of parents as they want to choose their way in life to realize their own ambitions. Such instances often strip their traditional position, deprive them of respect, as well as make them abandoned and isolated. Parents feel helpless in their efforts to influence their children according to their own views and ethical values which sometimes results in guilt and shame if the children defame their name in the society (Keane 2006).

Ethnic, Language Groups and Social Justice Issues

The whole concept of being Chinese is not related to racial peculiarities; instead it is cultural conceptualization. In short, to behave and speak like a Chinese and to integrate the Chinese cultural values is a true identity of the Chinese. The Chinese call themselves Han or decedents of Han Dynasty, which was an era of great historical value. According to the historical data, small ethnic groups, which mixed with the Han Chinese also embraced Chinese culture and were assimilated into the mainstream. Though there is no legal guarantee of the protection of culture and rights of the minorities, this process continues. The definition of a minority in China embraces a small community, which occupies a common area, speaks a common language, and shares common social values. Minority groups mostly live in scattered frontiers of China and have cultural ties with minorities in neighboring states such as Kazakhstan, Thailand, Mongolia, Myanmar and North Korea. The Chinese legal system protects the rights of minority groups ensuring political equality among the Han communities and encouraging them to maintain their identities. Meanwhile, Putonghua is promoted as the national language of the country. All minorities learn this language and live in harmony with the Han. The Chinese government takes measures to strengthen economic development of minorities enabling them to develop their capabilities and enhance their relations with the Han (Faure & Fang 2008).

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There is limited freedom of religious practices in China. As a rule, people adhere to such religions as Islam, Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, and Taoism. These religions are equally respected in the Chinese society and people are not discriminated according to their religious beliefs or practices. Religion is deeply embedded in all spheres of social life of the Chinese and its values loom largely in the daily lives of the Chinese society. The religious values and ethics of the vast Chinese society are distinguished as scattered because they remain largely in community and family contexts and are not governed by a specific doctrine. Daily worship and rituals are a family affair while territorial communities also practice their own rites. The Taoist and Buddhist clergies usually live in temples situated away from cities, which they visit as ritual specialists for funerals, weddings or other community events (Lizhu 2009).

Environmental Challenges in China

The students also attend lectures concerning environmental challenges that are currently faced by China and appreciate its efforts towards global awareness on conservation and protection of the environment. China’s economy currently focuses on green products and reduction of carbon footprints in all manufacturing technologies. The Chinese government encourages foreign investors to adopt the latest technologies to reduce carbon footprints in their supply chain management. Chinese government has implemented several legislative frameworks for the reduction of carbon footprints to conserve and protect the environment, which is explained by various amendments and laws at both local and national levels (Feng et al. 2002).

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The environmental law improves and protects the ecological climate from degradation, adopts preventive measures to control public hazards and pollution, and protects human health. Recently, China has been faced with a crucial problem of deforestation and increase of hazardous gases such as carbon dioxide and Nitrogen in the atmosphere so that Beijing is rated as one of the most polluted cities in the world. The rapid industrialization in the previous two decades has encouraged the Chinese government to enforce new laws on environment such as the law on protection of wildlife and marine environment, water pollution amended act of 1995, protection of wildlife sanctuaries and pollution caused by heavy engineering industries. The industries adhere to the environmental laws and encourage the Chinese government to make efforts in projecting China as a green ecological country. China strictly follows guidelines provided by “WHO” on prevention and control of pollution. Such measures are adopted to minimize the level of pollution created by heavy engineering industries located in urban areas. The Chinese government is in the process of shifting such industries to the south of China, which is not thickly populated. Such measures have received appreciation from UN organizations for the safety and health of its citizens (Zhang & Wen 2008).

Outdoor Activities

All students from RMIT Australia enjoy outdoor recreational and educational activities planned for the second half of the day of a four-week summer tour. These activities provide a practical perspective and reveal a true image of China’s rich cultural heritage and practices. During the visit to Shanghai Stock Exchange, they learn about the foreign and domestic companies listed on the stock exchange and the trading of shares helps them to learn about the performance of various companies.

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The students visit beautiful Yu Yuan Garden abundant with scenic view, which is a classic creation of the Ming dynasty, and explore the ancient Shanghai Old Street that emerged during the reign of the Qing dynasty. Shanghai's waterfront acquaints students with local culture, while soaring skyline views at the International Architecture Exhibition represent a great attraction to students.

The study tour gives an opportunity to visit Shanghai´s Museum of Ancient Chinese Art, which has a collection of more than 120,500 rare works in 20 categories. Besides, the panoramic view of Jade Buddha Temple with its extraordinary and priceless Burmese jade statues acquaints students with religious culture practiced in China.

Suzhou is another destination visited by students, which is a historical and cultural city in China that is famous all over the world for its elegant gardens. The classical gardens are made of stones, plants and water with literary allusions. All gardens of Suzhou incorporate a vast part of Chinese cultural heritage. The study tour will not be complete without a visit to Zhouzhuang, which is an ancient town along the Yangtze River of China. Situated in the southeast region of Suzhou City, it is famous for water townships with ancient buildings. The ancient residential houses surrounded by lush waterfalls offers profound cultural heritage of China. Such experience of students develops closer ties with China. Regular classes of Chinese martial arts and dancing are also organized for the students during which local students teach them ballet dancing and martial arts. Such types of mutual exchanges develop friendly relations between local and international students (Tsang 2011).

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Learning calligraphy and brush painting is an exciting experience for international students. Students gain knowledge about Chinese calligraphy as a mark of creativity, cultural sophistication, and education. Chinese calligraphy is the quintessence of Chinese heritage because it encompasses Chinese philosophy, history, aesthetics, and language. The translation of words and a peculiar way of writing identifies the depth of the art, which is closely interrelated with painting and written signs. Perfection in brush calligraphy is considered to be one of the four traditional skills of the Chinese that foster the minds of people with the proficiency to play musical instrument (Keane 2009).

Conclusion

SUIBE China has been actively involved in international exchanges and cooperation in the field of education and cultural programs over the past five years. The university conducts summer study tours for RMIT Australian students by inviting them to attend a two-week summer course in the field of business environment and cultural relations and even offering scholarships to students to cover accommodation, tuition fees, textbooks and various activities.

Such programs not only benefit the international students in terms of expanding their knowledge base about China’s business environment, economic growth and ancient cultural heritage but also help China to strengthen the relations with other countries. This strategy is one of the primary objectives of China’s foreign policy.

 

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