RMC Students Spend Christmas Learning in China


BILLINGS - It is something people always hear: the role China plays in world trade. For 10 students at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, however, they took a trip of a lifetime during the Christmas break to the Asian country to learn the ways of business. For some of the students, like Logan Anderson, it was a Christmas first.


"I've never been to anywhere, except for Canada, as far as foreign countries go," said Logan.

Logan and others set off for the South-Central city of Shanghai in early December.

"For the 1st week we were in Shanghai, and we visited a lot of different businesses," said Chris Goutagny, a business administration student at RMC.

"We went to some technology companies, such as Motorola and Lenovo. We also went to some logistics firms," said Logan.

The team spent a second week in the northern capital city of Beijing, where they learned about local customs in doing business.

"The most we heard was not to show your emotions. Was to 'keep face', was the term they use," said Chris.

In addition to learning about business, the team also visited various tourist attractions, such as the Great Wall and the former imperial palace, also known as the Forbidden City. Besides seeing the cultural side of the country, the students said they also learned a lot about the country's business environment.

"You don't have a 360-page contract that shows everything that you need to do if something goes wrong. It's a two-page contract: here's what we need, here's the delivery date, if something goes wrong, we'll talk about it," said Chris.

The students also learned some Mandarin Chinese along the way, albeit limited to basic words like 'how are you?" (ni-hao-ma), 'thank you' (xie-xie), and 'I don't want this.' (bu-yao). The last word came particularly useful to Logan, who said people "tried to sell a lot of knockoff iPhones."

Students on the trip said they are aware of China's controversial history with human rights, but at the same time, they said they are equally impressed with the ways of business in that country as well as its culture.

As for working in China, or anywhere in the Far East, Logan said not at this time.

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