The Chinese Culture Week was a 2-day event spontaneously held by Chinese students at HEC Paris during the Spring Festival in 2017. It aimed at celebrating the Spring Festival and carrying forward Chinese culture to students from all over the world. On February 7th, the theme was the Temple Fair while activities on February 8th centered on the Lantern Festival.
After the Chinese Culture Week held on campus and the Mid-Autumn Festival held in Jouy-en-Josas in the course of 2015, it was my third time to participate in the organization of such an event. Inspired by the two previous events, I played a more active role this time by being in charge of finance, public relations, and online advertising.
In the preparation stage, I drafted the activity plan and the budget application in order to gain financial support from UCECF (Union des chercheurs et des étudiants chinois en France), participated in the pricing and the sale of tickets, drafted invitation letters to faculty and residents of Jouy-en-Josas, and created a public event on Facebook to boost our event. During the event, I was in charge of the reception of our guests from Jouy-en-Josas as well as follow-up online report. After the end of the event, I collected and selected photos taken by our photographers and then distributed them along with letters of thanks.
How to well demonstrate Chinese culture and involve as many participants as possible under a budget constraint was the question that we kept asking ourselves. Thanks to proper advertising, sponsorship, flexible pricing strategy as well as cost control, the broad participation and the reaching of break-even point were guaranteed. Regarding the finance part, in order to facilitate payment, we accepted online payment, cash, and WeChat Pay.
The event was kicked off by the opening ceremony speech given by MBA Associate Dean Andrea MASINI in Building S. Then guests were welcomed by tens of workshops designed to demonstrate traditional Chinese culture from all aspects of our daily life: divertissement, food, and drink, traditional costumes from different dynasties, fortune telling, etc. On the next day, authentic Chinese dinner was provided in the entry of Building T, followed by Lantern Festival show in the amphitheater André Blondeau. According to some feedback, the self-directed show combining songs, dances, acrobatics, interactive games, was compared to a fantastic cultural tour.
To my joy, one of my host families living in Jouy-en-Josas also joined me in celebrating the Spring Festival on campus, the most important Chinese festival for family reunion. During the past two years, together we have celebrated the Christmas, New Year, Epiphany, Chandeleur, and visited Chateau of Versailles, Musée de la Toile de Jouy… They helped me overcome the homesickness and contributed to my integration into the French society. I will always appreciate the welcome, encouragement and help that they have given to me. This time, I was so happy to be able to show them the splendid culture of where I come from in return.
Besides, I got to know another couple from Jouy-en-Josas. The husband used to study at HEC Paris as a MBA student in the early 1990’s. I was glad to learn that being back to campus again recalled memories of some wonderful moments that they experienced here. Meanwhile, I was amazed by the rapid change taken place at our school over the past two decades.
Not surprisingly, our event received unanimous praise. It mobilized between three and four hundred people of various nationalities, including students from different programs and promotions, faculty, residents from Jouy-en-Josas, etc., to take part in. Its success was a joint effort made by all organizers, performers, and audience, and was due to the support from notably UCECF, the HEC Paris MBA Council, Comité de Jumelage de Jouy-en-Josas. Thanks to the 2017 HEC Chinese Culture Week, I was not only able to appreciate all kinds of talents demonstrated by my schoolmates, in design, directing, music, networking, marketing, etc., but also to obtain a more profound understanding of my own culture from a new perspective.
Writing at this point, I can’t help but recall my determination to « mettre du mien dans les échanges amicaux entre la France et la Chine » in my essay when applying for HEC Paris in 2014. A sense of fulfillment then arises.
Last but not least, I would like to say that HEC Paris is a wide platform where all kinds of ideas and cultures interact with each other, and therefore, allows the students to be more open-minded and most importantly, to thrive.