Grant Paranjape in China

Hi again everyone! My name is Grant Paranjape and this blog will talk about my recent experience in China as part of the master of management cultural immersion trip. Simply put, from the moment you get to the airport for your departure flight, everything is an adventure.

Finding out what gate your flight is, if it’s on time or not, watching some 400 odd people board the same plane to spend the next 13 hours together. For me, my adventure began in Detroit, Michigan at Wayne Country Metro Airport. From here I was to take a direct Delta Airlines flight to Shanghai, China, where my class, John Clarke, Stephen Estrada, and our professor Knud Berthelsen, would spend the next 4 days. Also meeting me at the airport on that fateful day after New Year’s, as a classmate of mine who was connecting from New York.

Together we boarded the massive 747 and taxied to the runway, only to be sent back due to an indicator light on engine #2. An hour later, our journey began again, making it half way to the runway yet again, before being told that we would be returning to the gate because a passenger was too ill to travel. Yet another hour later, we were finally off, to stay awake for our 14 hour journey so as to avoid being jet lagged upon our arrival.

Upon reaching Shanghai, everything you see is an adventure. Even though your classmates who land earlier might give you some hints, everything is for you to discover. For instance, where the nearest bathroom is when you get off the plane, where the customs line for Americans is, and where the heck the currency exchange place is. Shortly after you accomplish these goals, you’ll be faced with the choice between a random taxi driver approaching you, and a 40 minute wait in the official taxi line. Hopefully you make the correct choice and safely arrive at your hotel 30minutes to an hour later. Then the real fun begins…

After checking into our hotel we had to navigate our way to the group dinner that had begun nearly an hour ago. Let me tell you, taking taxi’s without being able to speak to your driver is super sketchy. Literally you solely rely on them having read the address that the hotel concierge wrote on a little card correctly and telling you when you get there. Nonetheless, my classmate and I made it to dinner and had an amazing meal of hot pot, a completely unique experience in and of itself.

While this may detail our arrival, it is but a taste of what you will experience. You’ll experience lack of sleep like no other, ungodly early wake up calls, walking places where you don’t know your destination, a severe lack of time to work on your actual project to your clients, and more food then you have ever seen in your life. But most of all, you will experience China, Chinese culture in every aspect, good and bad, how just over a billion people live their daily lives. It is a tall order for such a short trip, so make every moment count, when someone asks if you want to go out after a grueling day, your only answer should be absolutely! More than anything remember, this is China.

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