As part of Experiential Learning – Asia Pacific Study (RMG 917), a group of 17 TRSM Retail Management students are visiting China for a two-week learning experience exploring the Chinese retail market. The group began their journey in Beijing on Saturday, May 7th.
Here, students Samantha Rondinelli and Lauren Jaques tell us about their first day of exploration in China.
Today’s agenda was absolutely incredible. We got to visit one of the greatest wonders of the world – the Great Wall of China – and saw how jade is made and carved into beautiful statues, jewelry, etc. We also went to the Forbidden City.
For our first introduction to China, the retail class was fortunate enough to be exposed to Beijing’s unique cultural history and the way of life for the people of the city. As a retail student, I definitely noticed the many vendors, markets, and bargaining techniques presently being sold and used in Beijing. The people of the city are very fascinated by foreigners and tourists, and often stare, follow and take photos which was definitely interesting to see – and humorous at times.
This was also prevalent when we students were showing interest in products being sold by street vendors or shops visited in the city on the tour. Our tour guide, Maggie, shared many interesting stories about the cultural history of Beijing, which enhanced our experience even further, making all of us feel very welcome and comfortable on the tour.
As most of us were jet-lagged or tired from our flights, we were not exactly looking forward to being at tourist sites all day long. However, as we all loaded the bus bright and early in the morning, we couldn’t help but feel the excitement of being in a new city and wanting nothing more than to explore it and the surrounding areas.
We drove about an hour and a half outside of Beijing as Maggie, our awesome tour guide, gave us some history on the sites we would be seeing. The Great Wall was built by hand 2,000 years ago by the young men of China. It now spans 6,000 kilometres across the country, with about 60 percent of it having had renovations or repairs.
As we drove through the mountains into the Great Wall, the landscape was absolutely gorgeous. So remote, with very few buildings and just a winding road through the rocks and forest. We climbed on the southern portion for about 40 minutes each way. In some places the stones were uneven or missing, and some portions of the wall were so steep it felt as though we were climbing a ladder!
Overall, the view was stunning and it was amazing to stand and walk on such a huge piece of China’s history.
Want to learn more about the innovative experiential learning opportunities offered by the Ted Rogers School of Retail Management? Visit the Retail Management website.