Zhejiang University International Summer School
15 March 2019
Masamba from Economics was awarded one of our tuition fee free places on the International Summer School at Zhejiang University. Read all about his experiences on the entrepreneurship and business programme in Hangzhou.
Masamba Senghore, Economics
Flying to the other side of the planet to be immersed in a completely different culture, surrounded by an impressive landscapes and insightful knowledge from a prestigious institution was nothing short of amazing. My time at Zhejiang University gave me the opportunity to develop a business plan with other students from all around the world under the guidance of the school of managements professors. To add to this, the course was brought to life with company visits to giants such as Alibaba. And with the surrounding city of Hangzhou providing for great scenery, from the peaks overlooking the city above Lingyin Temple to the calm bliss of the West Lake, my three weeks there made for a once in a lifetime experience.
I didn’t expect to find myself on the other side of the planet at the end of my first year of university, pitching a business plan to the professors of one of the top schools of management in one of the best universities in China. But there I was. Spending 3 weeks in Hangzhou, China studying at Zhejiang University had to be the most enriching experience I have had. Not only was I taught great content on Entrepreneurship and Business in what is set to become the world’s largest economy, but I was opened up to a completely different culture.
Lectures in the morning, exploration in the afternoon. That seemed to be our routine at Zhejiang. We would walk to the school of management from our hotel for two-hour sessions on different pillars of business, from market analysis to financial management. I particularly enjoyed learning about the cultural differences in business practices in East Asia, compared to the West. We would then be taken on business trips to experience some of what we learned.
Our visit to Alibaba, referred to as ‘the crocodile in the Yangtze river’ by founder Jack Ma, had to be one of my favourites. Learning about the true scale and range of their operations was interesting and took me by surprise. Our other company visits included SKIO Matrix the business incubator known as Dream Town. As an individual who wants to work abroad, being shown the business environment in China was very beneficial.
Some of my favourite moments of this trip came from exploring the culture and sites of the city. We were given freedom to explore the city, with my favourite discovery in my free time being the central business district of the city. The towering skyscrapers were lit in unison as the fountain in the centre of the area danced to music. And as it was the first day of the wet season, the thunderous rain cleared out the area making it seem as if we were alone.
We were also given license to roam around the West Lake, which I have to say was the most beautiful of all the great places in Hangzhou. We rented out a little old boat and got to paddling around it, enjoying a magnificent view as we went along. And resting below one of the peaks of the city, we found Lingyin Temple. This Buddhist Temple of Souls was nothing short of breath-taking.
As you can expect, the language barrier is tough to get over. However, I was surrounded by people who could speak some Chinese. And the university provided us with survival Chinese classes and print outs to help us get by.
All in all, I can’t say enough good things about this opportunity to study abroad. Not only is the course informative, but the city is amazing with a ton of things to do and see. If you have the chancec to take up such an opportunity, I highly recommend that you do so! I learned and experienced so much, but I also met so many interesting people from around the world who I now have the pleasure of calling my friends.