The official study trip ended on the 6th February with the journey back from Beijing over Frankfurt to Winterthur. The voyage back was unproblematic and the group arrived safe & sound but exhausted in Winterthur. I wish all those who extend their Asia trip individually e.g. to Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Thailand or Vietnam a safe and inspiring continuation!
With the end of the study trip, we have now time to reflect on all the impressions and insights we got during the past two weeks and I’m looking forward to further discussions. (Sebastian Scheidegger, Sandro Meier, Stephan Bodenmann)
After getting up at 07.00 o’clock, we checked out the hotel and set off for a 4 hours bus ride. Our destination was Chau Doc, located close to the border of Cambodia. The region is known as the rice bowl of Vietnam.
On our way we stopped after 3 hours at a brick factory in a typical rural village of Vietnam. The bricks are produced in a very simple manner, mainly by hand, and are fired in small ovens heated by rice husk (the outer layer of the rice seed), which are a waste product of the regional rice production. Next to the brick factory we had a walk through a rice field. Rice and brick production are an integral part of the housing in this small village and one can very well see the interrelation and dependency for people and community. Signs of it, especially of the brick production, are seen in all streets and sideways between the houses. The process from clay to brick takes about three months and a brick in Vietnam can be sold for 700 Dong, approximately CHF 0.035. Continue reading →
The breakfast took place in the rear deck of the boats, the crew had already prepared everything in advance. The views as well as the ambiance were stunning, as the two heavy vessels, still tied together, gently floated upwards on the quiet Mekong River. The fresh morning breeze helped everyone to wake up quickly.
It took another one-and-a-half hours until we reached our anchorage, where we changed to small boats that would allow us to travel further river upwards and see Vietnam’s largest floating market.
There were an uncountable number of little barks and small rowing boats that sold almost anything related to Vietnamese food. There was a diversity of sights and scents, which carried on as we went onshore to visit a typical market in Can Tho. Pigs and chickens were taken apart with bare hands on the open street. The smell of this was not easy to take for everyone.
Day 9 started with the familiar bus-ride early in the morning, this time in the direction of Cai Be. Due to the high amount of travellers on the road, as the locals were eager to go to their families for the Chinese New Year’s festival, the traffic was rather slow. The majority of the travellers were on scooters, motorbikes, or a form of this two-wheeled transportation. Some rode alone, in thick sweaters and mouth covers, others consisted of the whole family, father, mother and the child in the middle, few were transporting goods, overloading their bikes with boxes on every surface possible. Unexceptionally, all riders wore helmets. Along the streets one notices the poverty reflected in the shabby shacks and run down shops. Nonetheless, they exuded charm and colors from every corner. Once in a while one would see a luxurious villa amidst it all, representing the huge difference in wealth. Either way, the red communist Vietnamese flag with the yellow star was a common denominator along the streets. For resting possibilities, the coffee shops on the sides of the roads offered a relaxing break, with hammocks integrated. “Does one have to pay for the hammock services?” asked a fellow bus-rider. “No,” Nguyen Ngoc Thang, our tour-guide, answered, “the hammocks are free.” Continue reading →
At day 8 we dived into the Vietnamese culture. After a long trip from Shenzhen, China, to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, we finally reached the tropical climate. Due to a delayed arrival, we cancelled the first sightseeing part of the city. The day started at ten o’clock with a modest breakfast compared to the impressive one at the Shangri-La in Shenzhen. However, the friendly atmosphere of the city warmly welcomed us right from the beginning and we went to the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre of Ho Chi Minh City. The presentation was held in an unusual surrounding as it took place in a display room in between teddy bears and other Vietnamese export products. The woman holding the presentation was talking about the general economic situation as well as the influence of the WTO entrance. Additionally she focused on the emerging sectors and provided a broad outlook into the economic future in the year 2020. One major focus is set on the service sector, accounting now for 38% of the GDP, including the fields of finance, tourism and infrastructure. Continue reading →
Welcome to the journey of the International Management Class of 2008 to China & Vietnam.
The exams are almost behind us, and our Study Trip is about to start this Saturday 22nd January 2011.
Throughout the semester the whole class did work on a documenation about our trip to various cities in China and Vietnam, such as Shanghai, HongKong, Saigon, Beijing and many more. This Study Trip Booklet was produced to give every participant a guideline for our journey. The booklet contains of an overview about the programme and some background information about the cities, the sights and the companies we are going to visit.
You can click on the picture if you like to have a look inside the booklet to find out what is ahead of us. Once on the trip we are going to blog daily about our experience if we are not far from an internet access point as might will happen when we are cruising on the Mekong River towards Cambodia.