The 20 FSU visitors had just finished seeing the Beijing Olympic Village, and they were preparing to leave when a crowd of people caught their attention.
“We saw a long line of [Chinese] students,” said Charity Hicks, a senior management major. “They were all staring at us and waving. So we were all like, OK, well, why not? This is a trip – let’s have fun with it.”
What followed, Hicks said, was “really fun and overwhelming.
“All of them pulled their phones out. Everyone [was] taking pictures left and right. … One word that they all used a lot was ‘beautiful.’ One of our main hits was Allie with the red hair. … All the kids were just yelling ‘beautiful!’”
This was just one of many stories heard on Wednesday in the 1839 Room as a few students reflected on a business department-led trip to China which took place during the winter break.
Dr. Sandra Rahman, a professor in the business department, was the trip’s coordinator. The trip was designed for students who took her class, Doing Business in China.
However, Rahman opened the trip to all FSU students, allowing all those interested in China an opportunity to visit.
While there, students visited Chinese landmarks and business centers in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Some of the sites included the Beijing Olympic Village, Coca-Cola offices, The Forbidden City and Honeywell China.
The speakers included Hicks, junior economics major Austin Howie and junior management major Allie Carroll.
Hicks, who is minoring in Chinese, explained that she witnessed first-hand the importance of understanding the culture of other countries when doing business.
“In order to do business in another country, you actually need to thoroughly understand not only the language, but the culture and how [the people] are. So I think the best way to do that is to submerge yourself within the country itself because you really see all the differences.”
The highlights of Hicks’ trip included tasting a variety of Chinese teas, visiting the Great Wall of China and riding in a rickshaw – a two to three-wheeled carriage.
The students said one of the most interesting parts of the trip was how the Chinese people were fascinated by them.
“One of the coolest parts of the whole trip was when we were in Tiananmen Square and people would just come up and ask for pictures of us,” Howie said.
Carroll said a tour guide explained that some of the Chinese citizens have never been to the big city and never interacted with Americans before, so they took pictures of them to show their friends and families.
Additionally, students spoke about how interesting it was to tour Chinese businesses and banks.
Howie added the students also visited the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.
“That was one of my favorite parts of the whole trip because we got to see the history of all the money, the different fraud protections of the money that they have and how they print the money. … It’s a cool inside look not many people would have,” he said.
After the students gave their reflections, Rahman presented a slide show of her own in which she detailed some of the group’s most notable memories and reflected on the trip.
Rahman said the trip was “an exploration” because it was the first time many of the students visited China.
“A lot of business is the culture,” she said. “Knowing how people live and how they look at things. What they do.”