By Jonathan Sua, DAC/FT/3A/03, Year 2015/2016
Dalian Polytechnic University
I had the privilege to be part of the group of students that went for the China Immersion Program (CIP) 2015 that took place from 13th September to 3rd October 2015, where we visited three places: Da Lian (大连), Ying Kou (营口) and Bei Jing (北京). A total of 42 students were selected for this trip, of which 33 students are from the Diploma in Accountancy (DAC). This trip was led by DAC lecturers Ms Lee Lai Mun and Ms Lynn Lam. This program was designed to give business students exposure to the business environment and engage in a research and presentation of an industry project in China. Moreover, it provides the students opportunities to interact with major industry players and tertiary students so as to immerse into the Chinese business culture and practices during the three weeks.
Group picture after the completion of the Chinese business research project! Hooray!
Research and site visits
During our 2-week stay in Da Lian, we were required to do a Chinese business practice research project as well as an industry research project on a company, namely Somerset Grand Central Dalian. Both researches were done with evidence from industry site visits to The Coca-Cola Company, Yingkou Shengshi Food Co. Ltd, Sila Fort Spa Town, Neusoft and Somerset Grand Central Dalian. Out of all these site visits, I would like to highlight the two that I found were the most interesting. During the visit to The Coca-Cola Company, we were able to understand how a multi-national corporation operates, from its communication and management to knowing how each individual bottle of Coca-Cola is manufactured. The Sila Fort Spa Town in Yingkou was fascinating as this technical visit allowed us to enjoy the hot spring while we analysed their operations.
Using the information and operations we obtained and observed though the various industry visits, we were able to complete the projects that were assigned to us with more reliable and accurate information. Through the Chinese business practice research project, we learn to adapt quickly to the environment and understand the different ways the Chinese do business as compared to the Westerners and Singaporeans. Meanwhile, the industry research project allowed us to use various business tools that were learnt in school to critically analyze a company and to provide valuable recommendations and improvements to the top management of the company.
Project consultation with Ms Lynn Lam at night!
Relax and recreation
Even though we worked hard through the two weeks, we also had time to relax and unwind. The 1-week stay in Beijing was probably what most of the students looked forward to. After finishing the 2 weeks of intensive research and presentations, the tour in Beijing was the best reward one can wish for. We toured many famous landmarks and tourist attractions in the modern yet historical capital of China. We visited attractions such as the Great Wall of China, Beijing Olympic Park, Tiananmen Square, as well as popular shopping sites such as Silk Market and the 798 Art District. To end off the trip, we got to watch an amazing cultural theatrical performance, which left us speechless and in awe because of their risky stunts.
The hostel life in Dalian is an experience that I believe all students who went found it worthwhile and thankful for. Hostel life is like entering a room with only the bed, study table and small closet. You would have to shop for necessities to get your refrigerator filled, snacks to munch at night as well as cleaning/laundry equipment like hangers, detergent, broom and mop. Fortunately, there was a super mart within six minutes from the hostel, where we shopped every other day for our daily necessities. As the Chinese saying goes, 在家靠父母，在外靠朋友. In this trip, friends were the only people that we could rely on. This trip was also a platform where one can realize the importance of being independent, as many things have to be done without the guidance of our parents.
Starring team 义气 at Tiananmen Square!
In a nutshell, CIP was a balanced proportion of work and leisure. This program gave individuals the chance to push themselves beyond their comfort zone, improve their time management as well as to learn to be more independent. Being able to enjoy myself but still ensure that quality work was delivered during the project presentations was the greatest takeaway for me. It was difficult to juggle between the two spectrums. Nonetheless, I would definitely recommend CIP to students who are open and willing to accept challenges as it will allow them to step out of their comfort zone.
Selfie during project discussion in hostel.