As we’ve seen in a couple of posts from MIP alum, Lauren Hardisky and current student Holly Sloan, MIP offers a wide array of opportunities to study abroad, thereby enhancing the international experience. Colombian mechanical engineer Leonardo Bonil, one of Holly’s fellow classmates, is currently doing his exchange at Sun Yat-Sen University. Here a snapshot of what the first couple of weeks have been like for this MBA candidate.
“When I arrived to Baiyun airport in Guangzhou my adventure began. Most people don’t speak English. The experience in Europe for me was different- in the west we use the same alphabet, so you easily can memorize or write some indications. Now, without a clue of what to do, the fun begins. This sensation is really interesting- being completely be out of your comfort zone, not being able to understand or communicate as you are used to, your mind clears and your, body acts instinctively. Human beings have basic rules for communication: your facial expressions, hand movements to approve or disapprove (this hands language is very developed by the Italians they always move the hands to talk, so I had this little advantage) and basic sounds. Once my buddy arrived I felt completely relieved.
Getting an apartment is not an easy task for a foreigner- even you can speak Chinese. Landlords will charge you more just because you appear to be an outsider. I’m supported a lot, by my very helpful buddy and we got a small but nice an cozy apartment next to the school in a modern and tall building The city is surprising as they are investing a lot to change and improve Guangzhou, some areas are more modern and beautiful that any city in Europe or States. This process is really different from MIP and Politecnico, I must admit this process of getting a good room for you in Milano is piece of Cake (Sara you are number one).
Regarding the school, Lingnan College is very good and is part of the best University in southern China with a large and beautiful campus (Sun Yat-Sen University).
My expectations about the classes were very different from what I actually found. I assumed that I would be in a large lecture hall with hundreds of students, but that is not at all the case. Sun Yat-Sen (included Lingnan college) is the most important university in southern China. Only the best of the region are accepted, so the classroom is not full of people. The classes are dynamic, mixing local experience with case studies from the U.S and Europe. All my professors have a PhD and have studied abroad (most of them in U.S.)
Studying the cases of Chinese companies is very important to me – you cannot have this perspective outside of China: how Chinese companies have clear goals, and how to adapt to the changes of the market. Not all of the companies are cost oriented, looking to be the king of commodities. Companies such as Haier are focused on high quality and product adapted to the market.
One of my favorite classes is History of China, you cannot understand a culture if you don’t know their past. I especially enjoyed learning about the terracotta soldiers. This is evidence how the Chinese are hard workers. I’m waiting for my entrepreneurship class to understand the Chinese perspective on how to create a company and how much influence (if any) of the government has in this process.”