First Acupuncture!


Today is the second day I have them ‘plugged in’, my first (ear) acupuncture. As you can see on the image I have two on my right ear (also have 2 on the left), and they are supposed to stay there for at least 3 days.

They are basically little stickers, with tiny pins on it, that you press into your ear on certain spots. I got 2 on each side. The lower one on my earlobe is to get or maintain a good sight. The upper one is to sleep better and be more relaxed. The ‘Traditional Chinese Medicine’-doctor told me to rub them every night for 3 to 5 minutes before going to bed.

As mentioned in my post of yesterday I’m not a real believer of these kind of things 🙂 but hey, nice first timer right?

PS: There are like many ‘spots’ on your ear that supposedly represent different parts of your body (see picture below). So for every problem you have there is an acupuncture spot on year ear. Or that’s at least what they believe.



First ‘Traditional Chinese Medicine’ Lesson


Today Hult offered an session on Traditional Chinese Medicine for whomever was interested. Since I’m always curious to experience local cultures I decided to have look.

Here is what I learned:

  • TCM is almost 2000 years old.
  • It is described as “The science dealing with human physiology, pathology, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases”.
  • TCM is based on the theory of ‘Yin and Yang’ by the yellow Emperor ‘Huang Di Nei Jing’
  • Natural phenomena (including human beings) can be categorized in 5 fases or elements according to TCM: Wood, Fire, Earth, Mental and Water.
  • Doesn’t use machines or advanced modern techniques. Almost solely based on ancient techniques.

The doctor who gave the sessions studied this for 10 years at a specialized university and is running a family business in TCM. Her father and grandfather were also practitioners of this medicine.

What I liked:

  • The fact that they stress the importance of healthy living and a conscious lifestyle.
  • Lot of the diagnosis and treatment is not solely based on scientific indications . They look at the person and the condition in a holistic way. Making the treatment more ‘human’.

What I didn’t like:

  • They have a lot of unproven things like they way they locate the acupuncture places. The doctor She admitted she doesn’t really know herself.
  • The explanation of the ‘meridians’ in the human body was pretty blurry.
  • Lot of things just don’t make sense to me like scraping your back to get rid a sun stroke. Or sucking glass bottles to your back to get rid of your negative energy (see picture below).

In general I’m not a very big fan of the whole thing. Back in the day it was probably the best they could do, but nowadays I’d rather go to a modern, scientific hospital.


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First Mandarin Lesson!


Not too long after I head my first Arabic lesson, I’m having my first Mandarin lesson!

Arabic wasn’t too different from western languages in a way that they also have an alphabet and a limited amount of letters. Also grammar exists of verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc like we have. Guess the writing would be the most difficult to master.

Mandarin on the other hand is a whole different ballgame. The grammar is just not the same 🙂 Also they have different words for similar things, they have 4 different ways of pronouncing an ‘a’ or ‘o’. I’m maybe already saying wrong things about the language. That’s how much I understood of it 😉

No, it’s good to get some basic things because it’s really useful in a city where the majority doesn’t speak anything else but mandarin. It also gives you an idea of how intensive it would be to really become good at it.

Next lesson is in a week. Looking forward!

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First Chinese career advise

Not really planning to stay in China because of professional reasons but still wanted to have at least 1 career coaching session on professional life in China. Just so I could get a feel of what it is about and how it would look like. You never know. Always interesting.

With a Chinese career coach from a local consulting company I discussed a bit the basics of life as an expat in Shanghai.

These are the things I learned:

  • Government reduced regulation for Visa’s. Process had become more convenient and less of a barrier.
  • Chinese companies in general have international ambitions and therefore want a certain amount of expats.
  • Sounds logical but knowledge of Mandarin is not to be underestimated (way less the case in Dubai for example, no need to speak Arabic there).
  • You earn up to twice as much as a local Chinese employee.
  • Modern companies are less Chinese than you would think; They try to create (read: copy) western corporate cultures and be innovative and stimulating.
  • Having a network is very important. Finding jobs doesn’t happen like in Europe where they are nicely listed on the website. It’s more of an ‘American’ system where you have to be referred and know somebody to get in.
  • Get used to indirect communication and a lot of strange habits.

Personal take-away: Note ambition no. 1 to work here but wouldn’t mind ending up here for a certain period of time.

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First consulting project!

For my last module at Hult, I don’t have any classes anymore but an ‘Action Project’ as they call it. It’s basically a real consulting project for a real firm where you are supposed to apply everything you’ve learned so far during your masters.

As you probably already figured out, the company I’ve been assigned is Weight Watchers. We’re doing a more marketing focused project and have 6 weeks time with our team of 5 member to come up with proper recommendations.

It looks challenging because we don’t have a Chinese in our team to translate or explain the local market trends but I’m sure we’ll get there!

And yes, I’m going to attend some of the Weight Watchers meetings an will probably be an expert about there system :). Not really my industry but certainly an educational and interesting experience!

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First time eating Stomach!

Yes, it didn’t take so long before eating the weird Chinese stuff. I met a local Chinese guy through a network I recently joined, and he invited me for a dinner at his university. One of his professors also joined us for dinner and insisted to have a proper traditional dinner. What else could I say but, “Ow yes that would be lovely!” 😉
I would do anything to make this blog more interesting 😉

Besides parts of frogs, where you still had to peal of the skin, and rotten parts of certain trees (also a delicatessen apparently), there was the favorite  food of local students, the outside of a cow’s stomach. On the picture it are the white sliced pieces of meat mixed with salad on the plate on the left.

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The brown things the lady is holding are the ‘rotten tree parts’ and the dish on the right are pieces of pork (including skin, fat, and some other layers I don’t know). The latter is apparently the favorite dish of Mao. Always good to know.

The stomach, as well as the other dishes, didn’t taste that bad. It’s more the texture of the meat and the way it feels in your mouth that you wouldn’t like, rather than the taste itself. And of course this was a nice experience!

Again, getting in touch with locals is by far the best way of doing real cultural things!

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First Teppanyaki!

I did pretty well in doing ‘local stuff’ in the first couple of days while I’m Shanghai :). This blog will be about my first ‘Teppanyaki’ experience.

It is a Japanese way of cooking/eating where the cook is installed at the middle of the table with a big cooking plate and all the guests sit around it. Just have a look at this picture and you’ll quickly know what I mean.

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You order all kinds of food from the menu (mainly by pointing at pictures since the Chinese people here don’t understand English ;)) and then they bring the ingredients to the cook who prepares in front of you.

It’s not only nice to see, it also tasted very well. Ate many different things from prawns, mussels and snails to lamb chops, steak (ow yes, my ‘being-a-vegetarian’ experiment is over after almost 2 months ;)), all prepared in a tasty Japanese way!

The formula is typically a fixed price for ‘all you can eat and dink’. In this it was 238 RMB. If in China or Japan, definitely check this out. But put some time in finding a good one. I’ve heard cheap, low-quality Teppanyaki’s as well.

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First Time at Shanghai!


Today I arrived at Shanghai! This is the last stop of my rotation program and maybe the most interesting so far! Going to San Francisco and Dubai was pretty convenient. You can adapt quickly and at least you can speak the local language (in Dubai everything is English). Shanghai is a different game! Although they are very modern and civilized, they still do things differently. A lot of modern and western products and services are especially adapted for the Chinese market. Will be interesting to discover!

I will stay here for 7 weeks and do an ‘Action Project’ for a Shanghai based company. Monday I will know which company I will be working for and which other Hult-students will be in my team. This the final part of my masters program that I have to. This is our ‘thesis’ if you like to put it that way.

More updates later!


First time at a Suq!

During our stay at Muscat, the capital of Oman, we went to visit a ‘Suq’ for the first time. A Suq is some kind of Arabic market held at very tiny streets, only accessible by foot. Some of them are ‘over-arched’, others have open sky.

Walking through it gives a real special feeling and looks something like this:

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Because Muscat isn’t filled tourists, this market doesn’t make you feel like all the market owners are trying to rip you of. The majority of the shoppers were local people so it was nice to blend in and enjoy the walk. Although I didn’t buy anything (don’t have room left in my bag anyway) it was very nice to see the different parts: Gold market, Clothing market, Household materials market, Gifts & Souvenirs Market, etc.

Some parts are nicer than others but you can really have nice time there, just by watching the whole scenery.

Apparently there are Suqs in every major Arabic city, but this is where I visited my first!

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First time at Muscat!

After visiting the former capital Nizwa, we continued our trip to the current capital, Muscat. In proportion with the total population of Oman (almost 4 million), Muscat isn’t a real metropole, but nevertheless a very nice city!

There are many things to visit: mosques, forts, museums, markets, beaches, resorts, etc. The city holds some authentic and old venues as well as more modern places. Overall the city’s architecture is not my kind of thing, but if you know the sweet spots you start appreciating it.

While being a capital it still isn’t very expensive and traffic is not too bad. We went to everything by car and that was pretty convenient to do so.

This is a panoramic picture with the palace of the Sultan (Oman is a Sultanate) at the right.

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The city is completely surrounded by mountains which gives it a very pitoresque feeling.

Whenever in Dubai and having some time left, consider visiting this city!

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