It used to be the call in the USA for young men to head West to seek fortune and adventure. However these days they may be better advised to be heading in the opposite direction i.e. East. The simple explanation is that economic power is slowly shifting and the powerhouses of China, Taiwan and South Korea are attracting many talented individuals.
However it can be difficult to work in such a different environment. I was reading an article on the BBC website the other day explaining how a second year University student managed to offend the CEO on his second day of work.
“I was sitting next to the chief executive and it was a fish dinner and I took my favourite part of the fish, which is the cheek,” he says. “It turned out this is reserved for people of high rank and standing – and being an intern I needed to eat from near the rear of the fish and the bits with more bones. “I had to apologise to her the next day once one of my colleagues had pointed out what I had done, and make it clear I wasn’t questioning her authority,” he reveals.
An innocent indiscretion but it does illustrate the problems and cultural barriers that people face from the West doing business in China. We are of course used to the flow of students who travel from the East especially to the United Kingdom and US colleges and universities. Although it is merely a trickle so far in the other direction – studying or working in China is starting to look very impressive on any CV.
There are lots of resources to help learn the basics of tradition and etiquette in China. You can also use proxies to access Chinese TV channels that exist online (may be blocked without a Chinese IP address). Check the language and culture information pages on the BBC website, there are some great shows on China on the Iplayer as well at the moment. If you’re outside the UK and can’t access this website illustrates how to watch the Iplayer abroad. A Proxy or VPN service is well worth investing in if you travel to China to work as there are so many sites blocked and filtered by the infamous Great Firewall of China.
It’s also extremely useful for other entertainment, check out this residential VPN service which is needed if you want to access the media giant from China.