Day Two in China- reports from student pods

Report from Ari, Roberts pod:
Yesterday five of seven pods visited a local television station that focusses on educational TV. Shanghai Education Television, or SETV, an eighteen-year old TV station broadcasts programs that are aimed to educate or help others. One of the programs is something they have nicknamed “James Bond” and they use this time to share stories about individuals who need help. One example was a man who was turning 100 years old and wanted to make a traditional Chinese outfit to wear. The television station helped him make the clothes he wanted and on his 100th birthday, he wore the special outfit. Another story they showed was that of an abandoned teenage boy who was severely underweight and in much need of help. Two days later, people went to the hospital to visit the boy and gave him money, and he is now much better.
We spoke with two of the newswomen, Cindy and Rose, and asked them questions. We talked about what it is like to be a female journalist in China and how to achieve a goal or dream. They said that sometimes it is hard because people will swear at you or beat you, but you have to have a strong heart. Rose said that the most pressure in your life comes from inside yourself so you must make your heart strong and believe in yourself. She also said that sometimes pressure is good because it motivates you to achieve something. Something interesting that they said was that if you are a woman and you are independent, you can live happily. Cindy shared a little more wisdom and she said that your parents are given by God, but your heart is shaped by you, so you can decide how to make yourself.
In addition to talking to the anchors, we got to walk around and take pictures on the stage that is used for filming. There was a large screen on one side, floor-to-ceiling monitors on sides next to the big screen and then an audience area opposite the screen.
It was a really fun visit and it left us with a lot to think about.

Report from Kendall, Nawas pod:
I was part of the group that visited a company called Tencent, best known for their online games, “Chinese Facebook”, and an instant messaging service called QQ. Tencent has offices all around the world and more than 600 million active users (more that twice the population of the US), making it one of the largest technology companies in Asia. While there, we toured the beautiful facilities, including a dance studio, and talked with female employees about the state of professional women in China.

Report from Josie’s pod
After eating breakfast at the hotel, we headed off to either SETV or the Apple store. My pod went to the Shanghai Educational TV. After playing around with some of the cameras and a set, we interviewed two women journalists and broadcasters. We regrouped for lunch at Cisco to meet with some young male professionals. At my table, we discussed women in the workplace and at home as wives. After lunch, we separated into three groups: one stayed at Cisco, another went to Marvell, and the last group went to QQ. I went to Marvell, where we watched a short clip that taught us about the company. We also learned what a ‘day in the life of a female Marvell engineer’ was like. After a quick coffee and cheesecake break, we had a Skype session with a couple women from two other offices in China. Finally, we ended our visit by breaking into smaller groups for discussion and questions.

After learning yesterday that the retirement age for women is younger than the age for men, I was surprised to find out that both women in my group were actually glad that they could retire earlier. They said they would not want to work for that long and it would give them more time to do what they wanted. All three groups then met back up at the Oriental Pearl Tower. We took an elevator up more than 100 stories– 279 meters!– to the observation deck. We were very lucky today because the sun was out (it was not warm though), giving us an exquisite view of the city. We also went up one more floor to the observation deck with a glass floor. Although I am not usually afraid of heights, I was terrified of standing on the glass: if you looked down at your feet, you could see buildings and streets hundreds of meters below you.

After taking many beautiful pictures of the city as the lights were beginning to turn on, we went to the restaurant in the Oriental Pearl Tower to have dinner with some older gentlemen. My table talked about favorite foods, what we wanted to do in college, and what our Chinese names would be. I might also add that the food was fabulous, especially the deserts. The restaurant floor rotated, so we got a constantly changing view of the city. The restaurant was buffet style, but there were about seven different stations with hundreds of options of food. My favorites tonight were the mango ice cream, red bean ice cream, and the jellyfish. A couple of the girls at my table decided to be adventurous, as we tried some squid, kangaroo soup, jellyfish, and chicken feet. After dinner, we went to the Bund, where we took many more pictures of the city and the lights. I have learned a lot about Chinese culture over the past two days. However, I look forward to tomorrow’s day of sightseeing!

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