The 2014 CSPP Cultural Immersion Trip to China
Posted on behalf of Dr. Toni Knott, CSPP-Fresno Faculty, CSPP alumna and China trip organizer/leader extraordinaire!
We have just returned from a great and exciting ten day trip to China where we visited Shanghai, Xi’an, and Beijing with a group of 19 people including 1 Faculty, 12 students (representing the SD, Irvine, Sacramento and Fresno Campuses and every program housed within CSPP-OP, Clinical, CFT, & Undergrad), 5 Friends and Family, and 1 Alum. Initially, we had over 50 inquiries about the trip which included 45 students and 5 alumni. A brief summary of our activities and experiences are below to give you some idea of our itinerary and activities while we were in China.
Shanghai Jianqiao University (SJU), a private, non-profit university established in 2000, composed of seven colleges (Business School, Mechanical & Electronic Engineering, Journalism & Communication, Art Design, Foreign Languages, Information Technology and Nursing) was established in 2000. We were invited to our second Faculty/Student exchange with presentations from SJU (China’s Changing Face) and Alliant (Thought Partners: Understanding Organizational Psychology) at their annual Fall Holiday Symposium. Students and Faculty from both Universities enjoyed an afternoon together and learned more about their new International Studies programs and visited with their international students. They are moving to a new campus next year and we were able to see the plans for their expanding programs for their students—all 30,000 of them!
Beijing Arts & Foreign Affairs Service School – We had a Student exchange with their Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts students with demonstrations of management, hospitality and culinary skills. We were mentored by the Culinary Arts students and learned how to make popular Chinese cocktails and Chinese dumplings (Pot Stickers to us) and ate & drank with them! Many of their graduates work in some of the very high end restaurants and hotels in China.
Business and Organizational Visits:
Coca Cola – Visit with the Sr. Management Team and presentation on the Shanghai Coca Cola operation in China with a tour of the bottling and distribution facility which is the largest in China. Recently, they have become almost completely automated and are now in 40 different locations with many new products. They shared their plans for being the largest facility in Asia by 2025 with expanding marketing and a new focus campaign on “Being Healthy”.
Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center – Visit to the Center with presentation of the plans for development of Shanghai through the year 2020. Additional tours of the Historical Museum and topographical map of Shanghai were included.
Blue Frog Restaurant – Visit and lunch at former Montana resident, Bob Boyce’s, Shanghai restaurant in one of the largest shopping centers near The Bund in Shanghai. He now has opened five more restaurants in Shanghai, two in Beijing and one in Nanjing since he came to China on an extended visit ten years ago. His staff presented his journey of opening restaurants in a foreign country and how the business has flourished—we enjoyed an afternoon of sampling the many dishes and drinks on the menu.
Disney Shanghai – Our visit with the Senior Management Team whom we met on our trip last year was shortened as they had an unexpected trip to Beijing, but we did learn of the future operations at the Shanghai site with the ten year strategic planning for this new park/resort which will be the largest of all of the Disney properties. This was a real highlight for us as we’ve been trying for two years to hear about this project and how the “Western Mickey” would be transferred to accommodate the Chinese values and culture. This was an amazing presentation of pictures of the ground breaking and progress on the site (between downtown Shanghai and the Airport) which covers over 800 acres (they have completely replaced all of the soil from the previous farms which were located there and work has commenced on the largest Castle ever (China always has to have the biggest, tallest, etc.!) and a huge lake. Learning from their past experiences in France and Japan, they have taken extra ordinary steps/processes to ensure that this theme park will be representative of its native Chinese—their motto: Distinctly Disney – Authentically Chinese and opening next year.
Beijing United Family Hospital & Clinics (privately owned & operated) hosted our visit with CSPP-LA PsyD alum, George Hu. Dr. Hu has been practicing in Beijing for a year now and gave us a tour of the Clinic that he currently shares with Oncology Services. He provided a presentation on Mental Health in China and the changes which are occurring with the psychologists (both clinical and organizational) who are being recruited to China to provide these services. Dr. Lei Jung also joined us who practices OB-Gyn at a Public Hospital in the city to contrast the differences in services. Both of them were guests at dinner later that evening and continued the conversations with us related to mental health issues in China.
Cultural Immersion and Historical Venues:
Zhujiajiao Water Town and surrounding area near Shanghai-Visit to the expanding water village and with new promenades, folk art, restaurants and we even found a Starbuck’s (one of 500 now in China!) Walking Tour of The Bund Financial District in Shanghai along the Yangtze River tributary, Huangpu. with new and expanded promenades, gardens, with views of the newest skyscrapers and very close to the hotel where we stayed. Evening Cruise on the Huangpu River and view of the Port of Shanghai and the impressive light show from all of the buildings on both sides of the River. Ancient Yu Yuan Garden and Old City Bazaar-This is an older section of Shanghai and the new skyscrapers are beginning to rise above the old village. Visit to the original French Quarter buildings in Shanghai which have now expanded into a very high end village with shops—Coach, Boss, Polo, etc. (and another Starbuck’s!). Visit to the Observation Deck of the Chinese Television Building and associated Museum (once the tallest building in Shanghai, and the first one on the “rice paddy” side of the River. You can see all of Shanghai from a glass bottom deck near the top on the building. Visit to a Shanghai Silk Factory to learn about the trade and the products which are all made by hand here. Welcome Ceremony at Xi’an City Wall with keys to the city and a ceremonial dance with the Emperor and Empress. We concluded with a walking tour of the ancient Wall. Visit to the Terra Cotta Warriors Museums and exploration of the three open Pits available for viewing. Lunch at the Noodle House on the premises. Truly an amazing day and we met the farmer who found it all in the early 40’s while digging for a new well. Visit to Empress’ (Dragon Lady) Summer Palace in Beijing and boat ride on the Lake. Visit to Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City in Beijing. Visit to Badaling Great Wall and Museum near Beijing-we climbed the East Wall to the third Lookout. Visit to Jade Factory in Beijing to see how the many different types of jade is carved and made into sculptures, jewelry, and other items. Hutong Rickshaw tour, visit, and lunch at Madame Wong’s private residence in the old Beijing Neighborhood Hutong District, ending with a climb up the Old Drum Tower. Restaurants for traditional Peking Duck Dinner (Beijing) and Nineteen Course Dumpling Dinner (Xian). Temple of Heaven Park in Beijing-visited with many of the people who were doing their morning exercises, dancing, singing, playing cards, knitting, etc. Rode the High Speed Rail from Beijing to Xian (230 miles per hour) to the new Railway Station there. Rode the Magnetic Levitation Train (Mag Lev) from downtown Shanghai to the International Terminal for our trip back to SF. It is the fastest train in the world with an 8 minute ride covering 75 Kilometers on the highway with speeds over 300 mph.
As you can see, we were a very busy group for our 10 days in China and the students were very appreciative of having the opportunity for this type of international experience. We tried to balance cultural immersion with visits to organizations and schools with many opportunities to interact with local residents, University faculty, and students in several cities in China. We have been very fortunate in developing some excellent connections in China in our last five years there who have collaborated with me in providing the excellent travel arrangements, accommodations, and guides for us while in the country. We hope you can join us next year!
If you are interested in receiving information on the 2015 China trip, please email Dr. Toni Knott at Tknott@alliant.edu