A letter from my Chinese student

One of my Chinese students, having taken my course of International Business Development at SKEMA BS in Paris, has sent me a kind letter telling me of her first experiences right after school.

Apart from the fact that I’m obviously proud and happy that my international students would want to stay in touch after only a 15-hour course, I immediately realized that I really should publish her thoughts for the sake of my current and future students. Her words would  make them think about and better understand just what Intercultural Intelligence is.  They would then realize just how useful it is in today’s globalizing world.



letter-from-chinese-studentHey Sir,

I have too many things to share with you.

So far my internship in Pakistan is almost finished and I have found another internship as a Business Analyst in a digital marketing company in Shanghai. Through my three-month experience in Karachi I was shocked by the cultural differences among China, France and Pakistan.

As a religious and underdeveloped country, Pakistan is actually going through a period which China experienced before the Reform and opening. But the difference is, at that time, Chinese government tried their best to improve people’s living conditions by both attracting FDI and developing national industries. While Pakistan government cares more about earning money to feed their officials instead of paying attention to people’s lives, which results in that the country relies on foreign investment and technology and cannot develop healthily.

The country’s political and economic background also influences its culture and people. People are tired of struggling in the crowded and chaotic traffic on the streets, the occasional shortage of electricity and water, etc. They figure out their own way to live there and I felt most of them live happily. In the beginning, I was very surprised that people can survive in this kind of situation, but then I realized that what the society and their family taught them makes sense to their lives.

And regarding the religion, it’s both the best and worst thing in Pakistan. Religion gives people peace and teaches them how to expect things in life. But it’s hard to deal with a not well-educated population, which represents a large proportion of this country. Without education they become Muslim unconsciously following rituals, without any understanding of what religion is and who they are.

Sir, I remember during the class you told us that there are no good or bad cultures, just their differences. But there are some bad aspects in cultures. Even so, I’m sure many students like and find your course useful in practice (after school) since we learn the method rather than the theory.

Now I miss China heavily. My studies in France have made me more independent and the experience here in Pakistan helps me in finding interior peace. We always question the meaning of life. But actually it’s meaningless to think about this when you cannot live a decent life. And now I just hope I keep my own pace peacefully and do my best to learn as much as I can. Time really flies and hope we can still keep in touch in the future!

2 months later:

My life in Shanghai is good, work is challengeable but interesting, with friends and convenient transport, compared to my life two months before. And I’m also thinking of my next destination, hoping to get more experiences in different countries. The good thing is the more places you have been to, the much easier you can go.

徐迎迎 — Yingying Xu


I want all my students to understand that Intercultural Intelligence (or Diversity Management) is not simply a set of concepts, or useless sociological knowledge to get a Masters in marketing or finance. This is :

  1. a really powerful tool to comprehend our world
  2. and it gives one the ability to think clearly and understand its real mechanisms without any political correctness.
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