Working with different cultures

768025965Let’s face it: being the only Dutch student on a Chinese project, I work together with 9 other Chinese students, has its challenges. But most of the time it’s a lot of fun and very enriching! I get to experience a different way of working and a different culture. It makes me understand how daily life in China works.

Our project is pretty important; it is supported by the government, and aims to connect farmers and transporters with each other through two Android apps. A lot of farmers don’t have their own trucks to move their products, and there are also a lot people who have a truck that’s not in use. These two apps will connect both groups with each other, almost like a dating app. So the farmers have transport for their goods and the truck owners have something useful to do with their trucks.

n this project I am responsible for the design of both apps, together with Wu Siue. It’s very nice to work with her. She shows her best interest and really does her best to understand me and help me. Chinese people are also very flexible, because they don’t plan far ahead, only one or two days at a time, which makes the working process al lot more relaxed. We were informed in advance that in the Chinese environment, things keep changing, even when working on a project with other people. Because of this I really learned how to be flexible. Also the difference in language sometimes makes it difficult to discuss things together, but the longer you work together, the more creative you’ll get at explaining what you mean. You start drawing things out, showing examples, using gestures.

2Nevertheless, at the beginning of the project it was pretty  difficult for me. Chinese people are generally very shy when you meet them for the first time. It takes some time for them to get the courage to talk to you or come up to you if they have a question. At one point, I even missed a meeting a my colleagues were too reluctant to tell me the meeting was going to take place.

The longer we cooperate, the more we learn from our mistakes. We realized it would be better to start working with SCRUM. So now every morning we have a daily stand up; we talk about what we did, if we have any problems and what we are going to do today. Since we use SCRUM everyone knows what’s going on and what work has to be done. This makes our cooperation a lot more efficient.

Right now after working together for two months, it’s very nice spending time 1
together. We sometimes eat lunch together or play fun games. With some of the Chinese student I got befriended very well and I think it’ll be a good and long-lasting friendship. Friendship means a lot in China, which I think is a very beautiful gesture. Like a lot of other things in the Chinese culture, respect is a basis many things. I’m really enjoying my time here and this will be for sure an adventure I’ll always remember 🙂 !!

Emma Arts