Over the summer in June, I attended the Soochow university in Suzhou, China for two weeks. This is where students from universities around the world gathered to team up and collectively tackle the ten global challenges we face, and to see how we can plan to change and overcome these challenges using the initiative of the team in a new and unknown environment and culture. My group chose Green, Clean & Efficient Transport as the global challenge we wished to solve. Being thrown into a new culture, a world away from the UK was a challenge and an obstacle I feel I accustomed to over the duration of the programme. I learned to adapt to my surroundings and learned the culture of China; from the food; to the mannerisms; to the business relationships and ways business is conducted. I learned how to work in a team and play an active role in generating a concept and prototype from an idea, decided collectively by my group members all from different countries having different attitudes and cultural experience. This in my opinion was the most impactful learning curve of the trip and is what held the most value to me in the program.
My most memorable experience was the trip to the Silk museum and factory. This was particularly fascinating because I had the opportunity to see the silk weaving process and production elements – something I would not be able to see in the UK. I found this insight into the process really intriguing and the production process, not just of silk, but of manufactured goods has on the whole resonated with me, and when I buy goods in the future, I will be able to think more deeply into where they have come from, how they have been produced and the processes they have been to in order to get onto the shelf.
The experience as a whole has allowed me to network and connect with people from countries around the world, something I would be unable to do without the INCITE programme. It has made me more open minded, more willing to work in a team, and more prepared for intercultural business opportunities which may arise in the future.