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International Workshop in China
Memorable experience

Text and photos Hugh Clack,

One of the greatest trips of my life has to have been the recent visit to China for the International Workshop.

Before leaving there was some time for preparation to get to know what it was I was supposed to do when I got there. Each person in the team of six, had a specific job (mine was financing and taxation - something I knew very little about before I got there).

Upon arriving in Hong Kong there was some time for us to get acclimatised to the weather and also to the people that we would be working and living with for the next 2 weeks.

When travelling, whether it was by coach or plane (and there was a lot of it I can assure you), we were not allowed to sit by a person from our own country. This enabled us to mix with each other and throughout the trip we were supposed to speak only English. Although obviously not a problem for me, some people had a problem with the language but it did not put them off trying and I found that with a few people, their command of English had improved in such a short time.

The first couple of days were the relaxing part, but then it was off to Mainland China and the start of the Workshop.

When we arrived at the Xi-An hotel, where we were to spend the next 8 days in the Workshop, I was surprised at the standard and quality of the accommodation - indeed I was to find this throughout our stay in China. All of the hotels far surpassed my expectations, being very clean and having top modern facilities.

Shanghai Old Street - a bargain hunter's paradise
During our trip, we made various company visits and tours, but I was a little disappointed with these. Our schedule was so tight that we were unable to stay in any one place for very long. I think that the highlights of the trip were the visits to Tian An Men Square, The Forbidden City, and The Great Wall but the visits to these places were arranged so that we only had a short time to look around which didn't allow us to really experience them. The visit to The Great Wall is a must if you are visiting China for the first time but spending only an hour there certainly doesn't do it justice.

For shopping we had a few days in Shanghai - a mixture of old and modern places to shop. The main street for shopping is Nan Jing Road. This is a very modern area with all the top names in fashion and not exactly a place for finding bargains. On the other hand, we found an area which seems just right for tourists - even Chinese tourists. The place, called Shanghai Old Street, was only a short taxi ride from the centre. It was a market type shopping area with a great atmosphere and such fun in haggling over prices.

Nan Jing Road - ultra modern and extremely clean where you can take the train when your feet get sore from shopping

If I ever get the chance again, I would definitely like to go back to China with my wife. There was so much I didn't see and much that I would like to see again. Having said that, if you are offered a chance to take part in this kind of Workshop, don't hesitate, I'm sure that it will be a memorable experience for anyone and who knows, you may even learn a few things!

More information
Insider Editor in Chief
Hugh Clack,
Kymenlaakso Polytechnic, Business Department, Kouvola

This article is from Insider 13/2000 28th April 2000. Insider is a weekly student magazine of Kymenlaakso Polytechnic Business Department, Kouvola.

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