One month of my student exchange has gone already! Time certainly does fly when you’re having fun!
Classes are in full swing at JUFE and I can finally say that I am feeling a lot more settled, am getting into a weekly routine and am becoming more accustomed to the language and cultural differences of China.
When signing up for my classes, the first thing I noticed was that class timetables run very differently at JUFE than at CSU. Classes are scheduled to start at 8am each morning and some days they run as late as 9pm at night making for a couple of very long days in my schedule!
I have chosen to study Corporate Finance, Public Finance, International Business, Chinese Business Culture, International Business Negotiation and Chinese Language, which is by far the most challenging of all of my classes! We have started with learning Chinese Pin Yin which is the official phonetic system for transcribing the Mandarin pronunciations of Chinese characters into the Latin alphabet. Pin Yin consists of three parts: initials, finals and tones. The tones are very important and they give the seemingly identical pin yin words different meanings. For example, ma when pronounced with a neutral tone means mum, with an accelerated tone means numb, with high to low tone means horse and with a short, sharp tone means scold! I will definitely have to be careful putting this into practice when speaking with the Chinese people!
While facing challenges whilst learning to master the Chinese language was expected, what I was surprised about was the diversity of cultural knowledge I was to learn during my business classes. Although these classes are taught by English speaking lectures, quite often they struggle to translate their teachings from Chinese into English and this is where the students become the teachers as we help them with English words, pronunciation on meanings.
I am also fortunate to be study with many other exchange students from a diverse variety of countries and as a result the lectures often ask us to make correlations about the similarities and differences between China’s business policies and practices and those of our home countries. This has provided an excellent opportunity for each student to teach other students about the practices of their home country as well as an opportunity for me to extend my knowledge of business and trade practices and policies from Germany, Austria, Poland, Sweden and America. My fellow students are also very interested in the Australian business culture and are often amazed at the significant differences between Australia and their home countries. I am really looking forward to learning more from my teachers and fellow students alike during my time at JUFE!