CAMP Shanghai Summit – March 2017

What is CAMP – China Australia Millennial Project (CAMP) is a program designed to connect young people who are passionate about social innovation and the China-Australia relationship.

Why did I apply for the program – I applied for CAMP as I wanted to learn more about the Asia Pacific region, specifically China, and how Australia interacted with the region. Furthermore, CAMP’s Shanghai Summit offered a fantastic opportunity to immerse myself in Chinese culture and their amazing food.

My experiences in China

Prior to the commencement of the Shanghai Summit I visited Kunming located in the Yunnan Province. Kunming is a beautiful city during March, the cherry blossoms are blooming and the weather is comfortable. The best way to experience the city is via bicycle or an electric scooter. Whilst exploring the city, my friend introduced me to some really good eating spots and to the game of Jianzi. Playing Jianzi with the locals was loads of fun as I was able to connect with them despite my very limited mandarin skills.

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During the Shanghai Summit I had the privilege to visit the Alibaba headquarters and meet some really inspiring entrepreneurs working within the China-Australia markets. This program combined with CAMPer’s (delegates) made the trip amazing. Outside of the CAMP program, I immersed myself in the Shanghainese way of life visiting the Yunnan Temple, the bund, travelling on the metro and eating copious amounts of Xiao Long Bao.

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What did I learn?

Upon reflection of my brief visit to China I gained a couple of insights into the complex culture that is modern China. Firstly, a lot more living occurs on the city streets and I love it! I really think Australia could learn a lot about designing open streetscapes which accommodates pedestrians socialising, eating and general activities. Secondly, with my very limited mandarin speaking capabilities I felt very culturally ignorant. However, sharing food, visiting temples and playing Jianzi I was able to experience and connect with some of China’s culture. In summary, I have only scratched the surface of Chinese culture and I think you need to visit China multiple times to truly appreciate what China has to offer. For my next China trip I would love to visit rural China and Beijing.

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My trip was amazing and I would highly recommend it to anyone considering visiting China!

Ryan

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