Final Blog: End of a Journey


Ryan Beringer & Kyle Murphy

Work day! The grind begins. These past two weeks have all been exposition for the hard work to come. After arriving in Shanghai and doing some fieldwork, every group went all out in finishing their final projects, both the paper and the presentation. Synthesizing all the data we had gathered in each of the cities we went to was difficult work, especially considering the language barrier when actually translating our results. The one sentence thesis was probably the most difficult part of the project, considering the thesis had to fit all of the arguments, of which there were many, as well as reference the effect of Globalization on our projects. The work was difficult, blood, sweat and tears were shed, but we all completed our projects to perfection.

After presenting our final projects to Professor Sheehan, all 14 of us were free to explore Shanghai. The majority of us decided to go to the fake goods market, a sprawling mall full of ‘genuine’ luxury branded products. Bargaining was an incredibly useful skill here, so everyone was able to get goods at incredibly cheap prices. Beware for the search for the authentic.

Others of us went with Professor Sheehan to the French Concession, a beautiful piece of Europe in the center of Shanghai. Wide, tree-lined avenues, with relatively quiet streets. Biking through the French Concession was pretty amazing, when looking at all the boutiques and cafes, almost reminiscent of Paris itself. Several historic landmarks dotted this part of Shanghai, including the Garden Hotel, a former Expat clubhouse converted into a luxury hotel, as well as the many villas left by French nationals in Shanghai.

Ryan and Professor Sheehan in the Old French Concession

Ryan at the Art Deco Park Hotel – the tallest building in East Asia in the 1930s

After returning from our daytime activities, the entire program went together to a Global East Asia banquet with Professor Sheehan’s wife, YiYu, where we enjoyed traditional Shanghaiese food. We all individually toasted with Professor Sheehan for our experiences on this amazing program, as well as our TA, Hao, and Ron for their birthdays. The cake was delicious.

There and back again, now that the trip has ended, with all our fun experiences and hard work, we each go back to our normal lives, but with true bonds of friendship, not broship. Thanks Professor Sheehan for such an unforgettable experience in China, and we can’t wait for the reunion!

Hello Shanghai!

Sofia Cortes & Stacey Belyaeva

June 3rd:
After our adventure in Zhengzhou, we grabbed our last delicious lunch organized by Johnson (our tour guide) and headed to the train station. The train to Shanghai lasted approx. 5 hours which was great because we all got plenty of time to sit with our groups and start crafting our final research paper…and play some fun card games too. By the time we arrived in Shanghai, every group had a pretty solid thesis and outline so we were all ready to go out and explore.

Jenny and Sarah working hard on the train

Working hard or hardly working ? 😉

Our first night in Shanghai we took the subway to The Bund which is a waterfront area where, even despite the air pollution, we got to see the STUNNING skyline. I was so amazed to see how cosmopolitan and modern this city is with its multitude of restaurants, clean streets and tall office buildings. Funny story we were all convinced that our moment of fame and random strangers taking photos with us was over but a group of monks came up to us asking for selfies and pictures! #WeChatViral

June 4th:

Yummy breakfast at the Sheraton!

We had the best breakfast this day in our hotel, the Four Points Sheraton. There were waffles, toast, eggs, noodles everything! Since we have a lot more independent meals in Shanghai we all took advantage of the delicious food.

The next day we all split up into our research groups to conduct our field work in Shanghai. The Supplement group visited several pharmacies and supermarkets to collect their final data and observations. They then had the best idea ever and decided to go to a dog and cat café to play with the animals and take a bunch of photos (the puppies were so cute!!).  They then got some yummy drinks and continued working on their final paper.

Such a fun trip to the dog and cat café

The Caramel Macchiatos visited a few coffee shops around the city before going to the biggest Starbucks store in the world: The Shanghai Reserve Roastery!! As Starbucks fanatics themselves it was a dream come true and everyone was in shock at how amazing the store was. In addition to the traditional Starbucks goods they sold clothes and pizza and even had demonstrations showing how coffee beans are roasted. As the Starbucks pamphlet put it, it was a “bean-to-cup experience…inside a coffee wonderland.”

The central decoration in the Starbucks Reserve Roastery has words like “world” and “traceability” written all over it

Love this quote!

May 30 and 31

Leah King & Carolina Nehrer de Souza

May 30

Today was the day that our group left Shangqiu for Kaifeng.  We boarded the bus early in the morning and set off for a busy day. Our first stop—lunch, a meal full of fried foods including fried chicken, fried bread, and even fried ice cream.

After lunch we headed to the most rural place we would see on the trip, a remote village surrounded by acres of pastures and fields. We took a stroll around the village and made conversation with the locals we encountered. The village consisted of connected brick buildings along paved roads, many with large red doors adorned with Chinese characters. Professor Sheehan and Hao made conversation with many people in the town. The first was a group of elderly who told professor Sheehan that their now grown children had jobs in the larger cities nearby. We also talked to a mother who was cleaning her young toddler outside her home. Although this was the most rural place we visited, the village was considered well off since it had paved roads, cars, and large buildings.

After our short trip to the village, we headed to a theme park based on the Song Dynasty. The theme park had many shows, including an acrobatics show, a fire show, and a horse show that reenacted a famous war story from the Han Dynasty. The theme park also had people dressed in traditional Song outfits and recreations of traditional style bridges and buildings.

At last we arrived at our hotel in Kaifeng, our nicest hotel yet. That evening, we explored Kaifeng’s famous night markets. We quickly recognized Kaifeng’s lively spirit. At Kaifeng’s famous Drum Tower district, many families and young adults were out and about, enjoying the atmosphere and delicious food from local vendors. We found ourselves in a shopping area with European architecture. Many of the stores were teen clothing stores, which is perfect because that is our research topic.  Jenny and I capitalized on the opportunity and recorded observations of product offerings and store atmospheres in Kama, Meters/Bonwe, and Samir—our stores of interest.

After hitting all our stores and doing a little bit of shopping, Jenny and I headed back to the hotel. Before heading to bed, we found the group gathered around a claw machine. We used the last of our day’s energy watching Ron’s triumph, winning a stuffed animal from the machine—a great end to a great day.

May 31

On the 31st of May, we started the day with breakfast at the hotel and then went sightseeing in Kaifeng before doing more field research. In the morning, we went to see the Iron Pagoda; some people decided to climb up the Iron Pagoda, while others spent their time taking Instagram worthy pictures instead since the location was absolutely stunning. We learned that the difference between a pagoda and temple is that while a temple houses a deity that people can worship, pagodas house relics instead, but both are considered sacred. Afterwards, we visited the Bao Gong Memorial and was given a brief history lesson about his life. We learned that Bao Gong was a very well-respected government official who judged very fairly and was very loyal to the emperor. As a result, he was well loved by everyone and a memorial was built for him.

After lunch, each group was given time to do field research. Our group decided to go to a mall in Kaifeng to check out some foreign clothing stores there, so we can compare them to Chinese clothing stores. In the mall, we went to Peacebird’s men store, and found that that their marketing strategy was to collaborate with the Coca-Cola company. We spoke to the saleswoman and was told that one of their shirts that had the Coke logo on it was the best-seller of the store. We also noticed that this item was the most heavily foreign influenced item sold in the store, as Coca-Cola is an American company. This piece of information is very helpful because it serves as evidence that consumers prefer designs associated with foreign culture. After visiting Peacebird, we took a walk around the new city and then headed to a bakery to buy a cake to celebrate Professor Sheehan’s 10th year of leading the Global East Asia China trip! We picked out an oreo cheesecake and celebrated with it at dinner.

Beginning of the End! June 1-2

By Leah King and Carolina Souza

June 1st:

This was our last day in Kaifeng so we all wanted to make the most of it. First we had the morning and afternoon to work on our projects and present our projects to our peers. The Caramel Macchiatos are researching consumer coffee culture in China, and has the only Starbucks in Kaifeng as their main hangout spot. In fact, they headed there today for lunch and met up with me (Leah King) Ryan, Sarah, and Jenny who were taking a quick break after doing fieldwork. All our hard work researching is paying off so far. We have started working on our thesis as well as organizing our data. After our presentations, some of us went on a run around the area.

Sarah and a Local during our Run

Some of the local people joined in on the fun. After Jadon, Sarah Jenny, and I went to the Donkey restaurants to eat Donkey soup (which was really good)! However, we were still hungry so we went to the Kaifeng nightmarket to eat dumplings, xiao long bao, and tofu. Lastly, we met up with Professor and some other classmates to get a 6 dollar massage!

Us two at the Massage Spot

June 2nd:

We woke up and hopped on a bus heading to Zhengzhou, the capital of the Henan Province and our fourth city as a group. We were very excited to see what a first-tier city would be like in comparison to the provincial-level city of Beijing and the third-tier cities of Kaifeng and Shangqiu we previously visited.


Upon arrival we had a traditional Chinese lunch, organized by our tour-guide Johnson. Our group has adhered to the local tradition of giving a speech before a meal, and today I volunteered. I took the opportunity to thank Papa Sheehan, Hao, and my classmates for such an amazing trip which I will remember eternally. Afterwards, we all got the metro to the city center together, conglomerated at Caramel Macchiato’s hangout spot (aka Starbucks) for our afternoon caffeine fix, then each group went out to conduct research. Personally, I was particularly impressed with the enormous high-end luxury malls with stores like as Versace, Moncler, and Armani. Afterwards, we all met up to walk over to an extremely special dinner together; our T.A. Hao was super generous and invited us to the famous Haidilao Hot Pot.

Kyle was very well received at Haidilao

It was delicious – one of my favorite group meals!

We then left directly to the hotel for an early evening before heading to Shanghai. Good night!