Want to get involved with business connections between Oregon and China? Interested in learning more about international trade through real-world projects? The Oregon-Tianjin Sister-State relationship is one way for MIM students to do just that.
One of the perks of being a MIM student is the wide variety of opportunities for students to get involved with business and cultural activities in the Portland area. Last month, the Confucius Institute at Portland State University hosted the Oregon-Tianjin Relations Forum, a public meeting where representatives from Portland and Tianjin came together to speak about the progress with this sister-state relationship. The proposed Oregon-Tianjin sister state relationship is just one of a growing number of international connections between Oregon and China, and one that holds great potential for future business partnerships between groups in both locations. Tianjin is a port city along China’s east coast, just south of Beijing. It is a hub of industrial activity in northern China, and a major gateway for international trade. Much of the growing connections between Oregon and Tianjin have been based on the ongoing relationship between the Port of Portland and various groups in Tianjin, including TEDA (Tianjin Economic Development Area).
In terms of the opportunities for Oregon businesses, Mr. Jin Lan, the president of the Oregon-China sister state committee says that there are key products from Oregon that can be exported to Tianjin, such as Oregon wine, as well as other agricultural products. Tourism in Oregon is another key “export” that Mr. Lan brings up, noting that Tianjin has a population of 1 million people, and that this can be of benefit to the Oregon economy.
Professor Liu Meiru, head Chinese instructor for the MIM program, and a native of Tianjin herself, says, “Once this sister-state relationship is confirmed we [Oregon] can collaborate with Tianjin in many aspects; business, education, culture, government. We will be creating a lot of opportunities for MIM students.”
Liu Meiru is also quick to mention that past MIM students have successfully found English-teaching jobs in Tianjin and other parts of China, and she welcomes current MIM students who may be interested in similar opportunities. While she understands that for most students in the MIM program, taking a job as an English teacher may not be their ideal career choice after graduating, she says that it can be a good alternative, at least temporarily. “In Chinese we have a saying: Qí lǘ zhǎo mǎ (骑驴找马) While you are riding a donkey, you look for horse. In this case, if you cannot find a job at your ideal company right away, you can start teaching. In Tianjin there are a lot of opportunities. Many head-hunting companies are looking for skilled employees for international companies, so teaching for awhile in China can be one good option while you keep an eye out for other opportunities later.
For those interested in following the developments between Oregon and Tianjin, the Oregon-China Conference on Investment, Education, and Tourism will be held in Portland and Medford between May 28th and June 2nd, 2013. Tianjin will be sending a high-level delegation to this conference, followed by an Oregon Legislative Delegation that will visit Tianjin in September. Mr. Lan says public involvement is encouraged, and welcomes MIM student participation as well. For more information, please contact Jin Lan at firstname.lastname@example.org
Josh is a full-time student in the Master of International Management program. After graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in Japanese, he taught English in Tokyo for 3 years, before moving to China and teaching at a university in the city of Zhengzhou. Inspired by his experiences in Japan and China, he was drawn to the MIM program because of its regional focus on Asia, as well as for Portland State University’s reputation as a leader in the field of sustainable business. He is studying Chinese in the MIM program, but tries to keep up his Japanese whenever he can. Contact Josh at email@example.com