A Mauritian in Shanghai

Its been over three weeks now that I had been in China, starting in Beijing, ending up with amazing experiences throughout the journey. Saturday morning we presented to the class about our findings and experiences with our clients, and listened eagerly to the same from other members in our cohort. Notably, we heard of the challenges some of the other teams had around access to information, access to people, or just plain old social faux-pas. There is something to be said about learning from the experiences of others.

Friday evening, we headed down to TianZiFang, which is an arts and craft area of the French concession. It was apparent that the place had staved off aggressive redevelopment, and retained much of its original characteristics.

To my surprise, one of the pubs there had mini flags from many countries from around the world, including my birthplace, Mauritius.

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Image: Mauritian flag in a pub in China

As my last day was approaching, I was eager for some good old street food, so it was with delight that I saw a local street vendor making grilled calamari and octopus. I could not resist, and bought enough to also share with my friends.

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Image: Streetfood – seafood on a stick

As I start preparing my luggage to head back to Sydney, I contemplated at how much my perspective had changed in this one trip. I would never have considered working in China. Having experienced what I experienced today, understanding a bit more around the local culture and the way the Chinese do businesses, I can see myself enjoying China.

And the people are amazing. Peculiar in many ways, but still amazing.

If I could do one thing differently, I would learn Mandarin before coming to China. It is not absolutely necessary, but, as David Gosset puts it, it is an incredible advantage. In that spirit, I bought myself a copy of RosettaStone Chinese (Mandarin), so I can learn mandarin, and enjoy the Chinese culture more by being able to communicate more effectively.

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