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My Cultural Experience in Freeiva

I think everyone has a dream of touring around the world-to enjoy the view, to feel the history and to experience the culture. Thanks to Freeiva, I have the opportunity to realize part of my dream which I would like to share here.

I have accompanied a customer from India. He is a Hindu, as well as a vegetarian. Unlike other foreigners, he showed little interest in Chinese food, even the vegetables. He thinks they are too greasy. So it is a little difficult for me to find proper food for him. But he was so kind that he would try everything I suggested and finally I found that he like potato, peanut, curry and all the fresh fruits. He is a follower of Gandi and does a lot of charity work in his country. Everyday in China he would compare China and India and make detailed report on his mobile. Sometimes you will find Hindu will pay much attention to cast. He would ask you a lot of questions about social class and something related to politics. I always try my best – ask for experts, search on the Internet, etc - to give him the proper answers. We often talked about the strength and weakness for China and India to develop, which is a good topic to help us understand better. You will find that Hindu is rather conservative. They love their God and will not take risk in trying new things.

Another customer is from South Africa. His family is coming from India too but believing in Muslim. Finding right food is also a problem. That is because there are special ways of cutting for Muslim. They would rather take their own food than take risk in eating unknown food. Muslim has five Salah time everyday. They would have their accurate timetable for praying. So every time the customer would take four things with him: a box of Muslim food, a towel (for cleaning before prayer), a small carpet to pray and a compass to find the right direction. You will find Muslim is very devotional, no matter how hot it is or how late it is, he would make his prayer regularly, even during the business meetings. My customer is very knowledgeable. With his help, I became to know the situation in South Africa which is a totally unknown country to me before. I became to know what would be potential business opportunities between China and SA. I also became to know that Muslim is a group at peace actually…

I also met customers who are Christian. I always watch TV serials and movies about USA and make my own judgement towards it and its people. After I met people from this country in person, I think I made mistakes. Not all people from the same country have the same character. They are more conservative and cautious than I think. They love their family so much that they would not think any way of destroying the good relationship. They are loyal and trustful. They are trying to get away the bad habits which most Chinese want to adventure. They are trying to return the good traditions which are also losing fast during the development of China. After spending time with them, I began to look at myself and started to think more about true life. “I am happy to help the others because God gives me the reason to feel like that”, one of the customers said. I was really moved when they said these words and acted according to his words.

My life is so richened by these experiences. I should thank again to freevia. Without the opportunities they provide, I would not improve myself in terms of language and knowledge. They just give me a platform to show myself and I get more and more confident in doing this.

I should give my special thanks to Emma and Nick. They are crucial to unite all IVAs and give their considerate advice. They are good team leaders. I feel so honored and glad to work with them.

Cicely Chen

Cicely Chen