Cowritten reflection of China with students of LNU
By Ryan Graham and Marina Cruz
Every semester, E-Scholars are given the opportunity to see entrepreneurship and innovation on a global scale. This past winter break, our E-15 cohort spent New Year’s Eve and into 2020 meeting with business contacts, touring factories, and exploring the huge cities of China!
Each E-Scholar (or a team) has a venture that they have been working on for the past year. To those of us with products, having the opportunity to schedule site visits with manufacturers helped us narrow down our options. And to those of us with services, there were plenty of opportunities to learn from the Chinese market through our sit downs with alum and business owners in China!
Two months prior to meeting in China, all the E-Scholars were paired in groups of two and matched with pairs of Chinese students from Lingnam Normal University in Zhangjiang, China. We were able to introduce ourselves and get to know each other a bit over WeChat before meeting in person to create and give the presentation. All of our Chinese partners major in Business English, so we were able to communicate without much of a language barrier. On the business side of the Business English major, our student partners were able to clearly understand the Business Model Canvas framework and were able to give us relevant advice that will help all of our ventures going forward. We were blown away by their amazing hospitality, innate curiosity, and hard-working spirits.
The E-15 cohort is the first E-Scholar group to get the privilege of experiencing this unique project and working with Chinese partners, but it is our sincere hope that this experience continues and that the next groups of E-Scholars visiting China will get a similar experience. The connections we made with our Chinese partners are friendships that will last a lifetime. We crafted beautiful presentations, made dumplings, shared music and cultures, toured one of the largest steel producers in the world, and even celebrated my birthday together! This project allowed us to experience China and Chinese culture on a deeper level than anything else we did throughout the trip. Although it had bumps in the road, our experience in Zhanjiang and the students of LNU was second to none!