Marketing student grasps “Belt and Road” opportunity by learning business and culture in Russia
To grasp the opportunities associated with the “Belt and Road” initiative, in recent years many Hong Kong students pursue their study or take internships in “Belt and Road” countries. However, their popular destinations are mostly nearby Asian countries. In the past summer Vanessa Yim Lee-mei, a Year 4 Marketing student of Lingnan University made a difference by visiting Russia, a Belt and Road country in Eastern Europe, to attend a summer exchange programme. Apart from learning how to run business in Russia, she also gained a lot by experiencing local history and culture.
Through Lingnan’s Office of Global Education, Vanessa visited Saint-Petersburg State University of Economics in early July to attend a two-week summer course to learn about Russian business culture. During that time, she had to take three hours of classes every morning, with courses covering “Doing Business in Russia”, “Competitive Strategies in Russia” and “Russian History in the Context of Intercultural Management”. In the afternoon, she was arranged field trips to cafes, hostels and corporations to learn about business operations. She was also assigned to participate in a bar management project and, with the help of experts, designed a business project for a bar.
“These arrangements allow me to understand Russia’s role in the world from the perspectives of global economy, competition strategies, and marketing and management, as well as Russia’s workplace culture, rituals, techniques and characteristics, from which I can learn how to conduct business in Russia, which is very fruitful." said Vanessa.
In addition to classroom learning, field trips and group projects, Vanessa and other students were arranged to visit attractions and landmarks in Saint-Petersburg, including The Peter and Paul Fortress, the Russian Museum, the Winter Palace, and the Summer Palace of Peter the Great. They also went to watch the famous musical Swan Lake. These activities all helped her understand the history and culture of Russia.
It is better to travel far than to read voluminously. Vanessa revealed that it was her first visit to Russia, and the trip completely changed her impression of Russia. “Before the trip, Russia was very mysterious to me. I used to think that Russians are cold. But the people I met in this journey, including our hosts were all very friendly and helpful, which made me realise that one should not just look at the surface of things or get prejudiced by first impressions, but should experience by oneself.” Vanessa said that the trip made her respect cultural differences and became more independent, calm and detail-minded, which will help her develop a career in the tourism industry in the future.
More in Feature