2016 China Field School: Shanghai to Beijing

After a good night’s rest from a travel day, we awoke and met together in the restaurant area of the hostel to start off our day. The first place we headed out to was the historic Shanghai Museum. This museum holds some of the most coveted artifacts of China’s great history. Some of these consisted of ancient currency to chairs, scrolls of calligraphy, pottery, and lots of artwork and crafting. Was interesting to see this display. Chris enjoyed seeing the museum and was sad when we had to leave. From there we split up and took on the city separately. One thing most people did was grab lunch. The group I was with grabbed some amazing dumplings and wonton soup. After eating we decided to take on the Big Red Bus Tour. We thought this would be a good way to get around the city and for us to learn information on certain unknown sites. We decided to hop off and stroll around the Bund. We took in a great view of the city skyline. Louisa really enjoyed the sites! We later got back on the bus and headed back towards our hostel. Eating was on our minds, so we all grabbed some food at the hostel restaurant which offered a variety of good food. After chatting to some people who were staying at the hostel with us, we took some of their site seeing recommendations and headed out to this foreigners street of Shanghai for some nightlife fun. One of the more interesting sites of this street besides the many foreign themed bars was a monkey that you could take pictures with. Tom welcomed the fellow with open arms. Apparently they are trained to pick pocket, but luckily this didn’t happen to anyone. After enjoying a good night out, we headed back to the hostel to get some rest and sleep.  

The next day came quick as another dawn broke in Shanghai. We grouped up at the hostels restaurant and went over our daily plan. Myself and a group of others as group leaders had to head off to book our train tickets for our bullet train ride in the coming days. Everyone else got the pleasure of going to go explore and experience the city core of Shanghai which included the very popular French Concession district. This area consisted of many high end trendy shops that much of the group enjoyed. The city sites were fantastic to experience and take in. After booking our train tickets we met up with some of the group back at the hostel and went to go see the Jade Buddha Temple. This Temple was very majestic and very well maintained. They had renovated it only a few years prior. Just goes to show even in the middle of the city, you can find rich history. Kelly thought this temple was amazing! After this, the group split in different directions. Some went to go see some more city sites, while others like myself went to go see the famous Cricket Market. Ahmed was really excited for this market. At this market you can find a huge range of animals and insects that are sold as pets and in a weird case, for fighting purposes. In Shanghai, cricket fighting is a huge thing. At the market you can find all sorts of crickets that people purchase for the sole purpose of having them fight other crickets for money. We didn’t take part in this form of gambling. The other creatures you could find at this market consisted of dogs, cats, squirrels, rabbits, fish, worms, ducks, and so on. After getting a good taste of that, we decided to grab dinner. We went to this really great vegetarian place that some of the others had gone to a day or two ago before. This meal was great and put smiles on everyone’s faces. After eating, we took off to go walk the skywalk around the huge towers of the financial district of Shanghai and along the Bund. Some of the group and myself decided to take an elevator trip to the top of the 5th tallest building in the world. The view was quite cloudy, but was a cool experience! Kaaren enjoyed the experience. We later walked around the river and then headed back to the hostel to hang and regroup at the hostel bar before calling a night shortly after.

Today was a busy day of company visits and presentations of sorts. We first went over our daily plan at the hostel restaurant while enjoying a good breakfast. We then headed off to our first company visit of the day, Publicis Sapient. This company is about digital transformations through marketing and ecommerce. They gave a good presentation and really showed the power of a platform called WeChat. At one point in the presentation, Mark and I got to try a limited edition cognac that is only available in China that Publicis Sapient marketed. Was a good cap to a great first presentation! Shiva liked their presentation. We then headed to another great company, Johnson and Johnson Innovation. They are a company that deals with such products as sophisticated as pharmaceuticals to more simple ones like Band-Aids. It was neat getting some company history and seeing their facilities. The group really enjoyed the visit. Nathalie got really engaged. We soon after grabbed lunch as most people had not eaten since breakfast. From there, everyone had some free time to do what they wished. Some of the group went to go about the city centre more, while others headed back to the hostel to pack before a big travel day coming after one more sleep. We then regrouped later on to head to our final presentation of the day. We arrived at a nice hotel to have dinner with the CMO of Coca-Cola China Shakir Moin. He was a great presenter and really made an impact on many future business and communication professionals among us. After the presentation, we dug into our dinner which was very good! We headed back to the hostel after to get some rest and sleep before a big travel day. The bar and pool table might have been a quick pit stop prior to sleepingJ.

Big day of Travel. We awoke really really early to leave our hostel to head onto a bus to take us to the Railway station. From there we boarded a Bullet Train to take to our next destination, Beijing. Besides most of the group being half asleep, we all made it onto the train and were off! The ride was smooth considering we were traveling at over 300kms/hr. These trains can get up to over 400kms/hr. but luckily we didn’t go that fast. Robin enjoyed the train ride! After about 5 hours, we arrived in Beijing. Once stepping off the train, you could taste a burning smell in the air. It was very clear in the sky, but pollution was quite evident in the air quality still. Camila was not a fan. Most of the group deployed their masks at this point. We took the metro to our next place of stay which was a hostel near a main part of the city. We quickly unpacked and cleaned up as we had to head to a presentation at the BC Trade Office near the Beijing city centre. On the way to the presentation we took in some amazing sites and architecture of the Beijing skyscrapers. The presentation went smoothly, the BC Trade office is quite nice and of course has many Canadian items referring to the West Coast which was cool to see. Precious really got into the presentation! We then headed to get some food at a restaurant nearby. After eating, we decided to check out the Silk Market. This market sold products of all sorts from brands recognized around the world. The only thing was that most of the products were fake and made in China illegally. However, this did mean a good price on said items so we browsed and found some good deals. After some shopping, we headed back to the hostel to get some sleep before a trip to another city the next day.



This group of CapU students and faculty are currently in China on the 2016 China Field School offered through the Wong and Trainor Centre for International Experience and the School of Business at Capilano University.


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