26 Regent's undergraduate and postgraduate students from both faculties took part in a 10-day study programme in Beijing, China from 26th June to 6th July 2016, sponsored by the Confucius Institute at Beijing Language and Culture University, one of our Chinese partner universities.
The programme, with the title 'Youth Entrepreneurs China Mission: Chinese Business Models, Entrepreneurship and Innovation', gave students the opportunity to experience the urban lifestyle and the rapid development of Beijing with its vibrant commercial scene as well as the rich historical and cultural heritage of the capital, including the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, and the National Museum.
This was by no means merely a sightseeing trip: students investigated Chinese approaches to business related to their subject area: five groups covered areas such as marketing, family business, fashion design, fashion marketing and Chinese management, based not only on secondary research but mainly on first-hand observation and experience during their stay in Beijing. Josef Mueller and Linda Li from Regent’s Institute of Languages and Culture, and Vincent Ong from the Faculty of Business and Management accompanied, supported and supervised the work of our students on this study programme. The project had its own Blackboard area and the students used the Wechat group chat function to communicate, and thereby also experienced social media in China.
The programme culminated in a final day of group presentations of students' findings to our Chinese partners, followed by substantive group reports that will be submitted to the Confucius Institute. Apart from gaining a better understanding of the specifically Chinese approach to their chosen topic areas, students also increased their cultural awareness and tested their own cultural adaptability - not always a painless process - through writing personal reflections. In Nicolas Sutter’s, one of the students’, words: “these last 10 days have been a very enriching experience, culturally as well as intellectually. I am happy that I had the chance to get a glimpse of this enormous country, full of culture and history.”
The project aims to have long-term outcomes, one of them being a Regent's China entrepreneurship society, which is being set up by BAGM student Mattias Bohmann, one of the participants on the programme.