Thoughts on the LIM College China Trip: Part II

Posted by LIM College on Mon, Aug 12, 2013 @ 11:24 AM

by Michael Londrigan, Dean of Academic Affairs

Photo bombing! Although the number of non-Chinese visiting and living in China is on the rise, for many it is a unique experience to see Americans. Because of this, the local Chinese want to have their picture taken with you. As a group, it would be safe to say that our pictures were taken with Chinese nationals over 500 times.

chairman Mao
From the first stop in Tiananmen Square to the airport in Shanghai, totally random people asked us to have our picture taken with them. They would select who in our group they wanted to have the photo taken with and just ask. Or some would use the stealth approach and sort of sidle up next to you as if you did not know what they were doing and one of their friends would snap a picture. This was quite a unique experience -- almost as if we were not just fashion students and faculty, but fashion celebrities.

On the cruise around Shanghai, several of us were snapped with an entire family at one time and a group of 12 women asked me to pose with each one of them! At one point I too started to get into the spirit and was walking up to random people and jumping into their photos and they loved it. No doubt we will all show up on the Chinese version of Facebook. For the two weeks we were in China it was pretty cool, but it would get old fast if I lived there.

group at pagoda

The Americanization of China.  While traveling around I could not believe the amount of American brands, both retail and food, especially in Beijing and Shanghai. TGIF, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Papa John’s, Dairy Queen, KFC, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Sizzler, and even a Hooter’s, as well as many U.S. apparel and accessory brands. The funniest thing I encountered was in three of the cities we visited they had sections called SoHo.  I asked the tour director in each and they did not know what the reference was, only that it was a cool, fashionable place in New York City. What next?

Topics: study abroad, China, Michael Londrigan, photo bombing, Americanization

Thoughts on the LIM College China Trip: Part I

Posted by LIM College on Mon, Aug 05, 2013 @ 11:14 AM

by Michael Londrigan, Dean of Academic Affairs

londrigan terra cotta

LEDs -- otherwise known as light-emitting diodes. China has a fascination with LED lights. They are everywhere. On top of taxi cabs, affixed to historical buildings, skyscrapers, rickshaws -- you name it and you will find an LED. I pity the person who is susceptible to seizures from light stimulation. Peering out of my hotel room I could see them all over the place and every light appears to be blinking on and off and on and off. Even the façades of some apartment buildings are adorned with LEDs, for no apparent reason.

Money – RMB, also known as Yuan, is trading at 6.15 to one U.S. dollar, so cashing in $100 you walk away with six hundred plus RMB. When shopping it’s a challenge to try and figure out just how much you are spending.  Of course, everything is negotiable and to not do so is almost an insult. At times it feels like you are playing with Monopoly money, so you need to be careful, as many on the LIM College trip had to buy extra suitcases to travel back home!

Cars -- they are everywhere! Think about a society that woke up one day and 400 million people started to drive who did not drive the day before. I did not see any AAA driving schools. Drivers cut you off and change lanes and run you over any chance they get (more points for foreigners), so it was evident that driving schools don’t exist. I don’t even know if you have to take a test to drive and get a license.

The explosion of auto ownership has caught the attention of the government, and in both Shanghai and Beijing to help cope with the problem of pollution and congestion before you buy your car you must now buy a license plate from the government for about $10,000 U.S. dollars. That is the new cost of entry to auto ownership. Buy a plate and then your car for I don’t know how much. Leasing is a foreign concept in China, as most people prefer to pay cash, which is understandable given the history of the government.  How do you think the policy of buying a license plate would go over here in the U.S. where it is not uncommon for a family of four to own four or more cars?

Topics: study abroad, China, Michael Londrigan, driving in china, money, lights

Fashion Business Field Trips in Shanghai, China

Posted by LIM College on Mon, Jul 29, 2013 @ 05:42 PM

by Michael Londrigan, Dean of Academic Affairs

Hangzhou to Wuzhen. A lovely two-hour bus ride through the countryside dotted with farms. Wuzhen is often thought of as the Venice of China (ok, not really), although it is a quaint village that dates back several thousand years and has many canals running throughout it. Most of the buildings date back around 600 years to the Ching and Ming dynasties. The village is made up of bridges and narrow streets all interconnected by canals and are a step back in time. On the day we visited it was jumping with many local visitors who were celebrating the Dragon Boat Holiday. A one-night stay in Wuzhen on a bed harder than the one in Xi-an at another four star hotel (not, again). Next year this will be a day trip!


The trip from Hangzhou to Shanghai was two hours by bus (notice the two-hour theme) not including traffic.  The anticipation was building as we approached this city of 23 million which was a fishing village and industrial port a mere 35 years ago. We had all heard about Shanghai and how important the city is to the financial markets of China and the world -- plus the great shopping. A visit to the urban planning museum helped set the stage for what was to come.  The massive buildings that make up the Shanghai skyline are impressive, and the world’s tallest building is now under construction. During our time there we could not see the top due to low-hanging clouds. Although the other stops were punctuated with business visits, the students got to see firsthand how business is conducted in China by visiting companies in Shanghai. These included a state-owned apparel factory with their own stores (Conch), a discussion by a luxury consumer product expert (Bund 18), Roxlin - a new up and coming Chinese brand with local retail and online distribution, GTL - a full package womenswear apparel company making items for for GAP, Ann Inc., and BeBe to name a few, and Alfilo ( -- a company started by an LIM College MBA graduate (Richard Kisembo) – and, of course, more shopping.

Afilo has a unique variation on the licensing business which offers partners the chance to own a piece of the business through an IPO. Some of their current labels are Cynthia Rowley, Nicole Miller, and Tracey Reese, as well as over a dozen other labels representing men’s and children’s brands.

All in all, the entire trip proved to be a great time and wonderful experience for the students. Then it was Shanghai to Newark - 14 hours direct. Gotta love that United Airlines food!

Topics: shopping, Michael Londrigan, Wuzhen, Shanghai, Alfino

Terra Cotta Soldiers, Tea and Silk Scarves

Posted by LIM College on Mon, Jul 22, 2013 @ 05:32 PM

by Michael Londrigan, Dean of Academic Affairs

Next stop was Xi-an, a two-hour flight from Beijing at 6:00 a.m. The reason to make this stop is to see the Terra Cotta soldiers. We spent one night in Xi-an in a hotel rated 4 star (not) with beds as hard as rocks, but we had the opportunity to see the Terra Cotta soldiers, which was priceless. The soldiers were first uncovered in 1974 by farmers drilling a new well. They had been buried for over 2,200 years! MJ, our guide, provided a unique perspective on this stop.

Terra cotta Soldiers

Another two-hour flight at a more reasonable hour brought us to an ancient city with much history. In Hangzhou we met our third and final tour guide, Thomas, who stayed with us for the duration. Hangzhou offered a more relaxed pace then Beijing and a better hotel then Xi-an. We visited ancient pagodas, climbed the steps to view one of the oldest Buddhas in China and took a Dragon Boat ride on a beautiful lake. A group of students also took in a beautiful (I am told) play which took place right on the lake, literally. A visit to a tea farm along with a tea tasting was quite a hit as we learned all about how tea is grown, picked and drank, as well as the many healthy benefits  Chinese tea offers. A visit to China’s National Silk Museum saw several of our fashion business students participate in a silk tie-dye project where they created beautiful one-of-a-kind scarves.

silk scarf

Topics: Michael Londrigan, terra cotta soldiers, Beijing, Hangzhou, Silk Museum

Trains, Planes, Cars, Boats, Buses, Bicycles and A Rickshaw

Posted by LIM College on Mon, Jul 15, 2013 @ 09:55 AM

Two weeks in China saw us on a total of four flights (two international and two domestic), a train ride that reached speeds of 260 miles per hour and covered our 20 mile ride in 7.2 minutes, three different tour buses which we hopped on and off of 68 times, two private cars, seven taxis, four boat rides, two bicycle rides and yes, a rickshaw! The trip was action-packed and fun-filled with lots of laughs throughout five cities: Beijing, Xi’an, Hangzhou, Wuzhen, and Shanghai.

K  Shared Administrative Documents LIM Photos Study Abroad China 2013 grreat wall resized 600 

Landing in Beijing we made our way to the hotel via tour bus and met James, our Beijing tour guide who spoke perfect English and had a great sense of humor. Beijing highlights included Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Olympic Village and the Great Wall. To learn about the fashion industry in China, mixed in on the Beijing stop were visits to a pearl factory/showroom and the Cloisonne Factory, as well as a visit to the art district. Let the shopping begin! Safe to say, our little group helped stimulate the local economy.

Topics: study abroad, China, international business

The Many Faces of China: Part II

Posted by LIM College on Mon, Jul 08, 2013 @ 11:28 AM

Arriving in Beijing, a city teeming with 25 million people, one encounters a mix of the modern and old worlds. The modern is represented by towering skyscrapers, fancy cars, and fast-growing wealth, while the old world is marked by the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace and of course the Great Wall.

On one of our day trips we passed stores for luxury fashion brands such as Vuitton, Piaget, Prada, and Chanel, as well as Mercedes, Ferrari, Maserati, Audi, and BMW showrooms, all within minutes of each other. Yet the average wage in China remains below $2,000 per year per person, hence the contradiction. 

describe the image

In the past 35 years with Chinese economic reforms there have been great fortunes made (with more to come) coupled with an emerging middle class estimated to be over 300 million people, or roughly the size of the entire U.S. population. But that still leaves well over one billion people living at or below the “poverty” line. The nouveau riche are evident everywhere you turn (Chairman Mao must be rolling in his tomb). The past 35 years in China have seen unprecedented growth, mainly in the first-tier cities, although the pace seems to be slowing, which is orchestrated by the government, but only slightly.

The way it was told to me while on the trip was, “30 years ago the average Chinese citizen dreamed of owning a bicycle, 20 years ago a new motorcycle or scooter, 10 years ago a car and a house.” Unbelievable!

Topics: study abroad, China, international business

LIM College China Trip 2013: The Many Faces of China

Posted by LIM College on Tue, Jun 25, 2013 @ 09:16 AM

by Michael P. Londrigan, Dean of Academic Affairs

LIM College's annual trip to China -- to explore business, culture and the fashion industry -- kicked off on June 1 with a direct flight from Newark International Airport to Beijing and concluded with our return on June 15 from Shanghai to Newark for a total of 28 hours of flying time (not including the two domestic flights).  Our group of 17 -- 15 students, myself and Professor Paula Wang -- bonded immediately. The students were an eclectic group whose ages ranged from 17 to 35. There was one MBA student, five MPS students and nine undergraduates, all with varied backgrounds. 

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China proved to be an interesting contradiction in many ways. Everyone agreed it was a great trip and we all came away richer for having shared the experience. But why a contradiction? The picture that is often painted of China is one of poor air quality, low wages, harsh working conditions, overpopulation, and a poor record on human rights. Yes, all of these conditions do exist in one form or another, but there is so much more happening that the average visitor may overlook, or not even see, the above-mentioned conditions. 

Topics: LIM College, study abroad, China, international business

Hong Kong

Posted by LIM College on Mon, Aug 13, 2012 @ 11:53 AM

Hong Kong is very different than any other Chinese city the group visited. Due to its separation from mainland China, Hong Kong is a very international and Western. Comprised of Kowloon Peninsula and Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong is certainly a beautiful city surrounded by mountains and water. staff Staff Profiles Desktops & Documents lola.rephann My Documents website BLOGS Hubspot Blogs Study Abroad China HK1 staff Staff Profiles Desktops & Documents lola.rephann My Documents website BLOGS Hubspot Blogs Study Abroad China HK2

Lunch on the Jumbo Floating Restaurant staff Staff Profiles Desktops & Documents lola.rephann My Documents website BLOGS Hubspot Blogs Study Abroad China HK3

Every night at 8:00PM in Hong Kong, the city puts on a laser light show. staff Staff Profiles Desktops & Documents lola.rephann My Documents website BLOGS Hubspot Blogs Study Abroad China HK4

Repulse Bay beach is a beautiful public beach located in a very wealthy area of Hong Kong. Its sand was imported from Hainan, a tropical island off the shores of China.

-- Andrew Charette

Topics: LIM College, city life, study abroad, China, fashion, culture

Hangzhou - Land of Tea Plants

Posted by LIM College on Mon, Aug 06, 2012 @ 11:26 AM

A three-hour drive west of Shanghai stands Hangzhou – a peaceful town located near West Lake. It is surrounded by cascading hills of tea plants, and the spirit of the city was definitely calming.


The Tea Planting Garden


Linyin Temple, or the Temple of 1,000 Buddhas

-- Andrew Charette

Topics: LIM College, study abroad, China, culture

Shanghai - China's International City

Posted by LIM College on Mon, Jul 30, 2012 @ 12:08 PM

When compared Beijing – an ancient city full of history – Shanghai is a city that is much more international. A river called the Bund splits the city into two distinct areas: Pudong and Puxi.

Since the French occupied Shanghai for a period of time, Shanghai architecture is very different than any other Chinese city.


Xintindi is a popular spot of Shanghai for restaurants, bars, and shopping. After much consumption of Chinese food, the group was overdue for Western food. Xintindi was our cure.


Local Shanghai design


-- Andrew Charette

Topics: LIM College, study abroad, China, fashion, culture, architecture