Author: Matthew Spoelhof

Highlights from China 2017

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This view here was from the top of Purple Mountain in Nanjing.  This was a great spot that I will remember forever because Prof. Tubergan and I raced up the steps all the way to the top and he ALMOST beat me 😉

Our trip nearly fell on Chinese New Year! It was great to experience the amazing anticipation that the Chinese have for the New Year, the year of the rooster!!! p.s. There were roosters EVERYWHERE!

Pictured is Jay VanAndel and Rich Devos. Two hometown heroes! It was very cool to see what hometown company, Amway was doing all the way in China.

Another personal highlight: Worshiping in China was a whole new way to hear the word! Figuratively and literally!!!

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A miracle or modern technology?

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On January 19, 2017, our group visited a company by the name of “Wiseye”.  Over the past eight years, Wiseye has developed and patented a number of products that helps children ages 5-16 with vision problems. Wiseye will assess and diagnose the severity of your vision deterioration and then make a personalized therapeutic plan for you to do.  For example, a kid would use one of Wiseye’s products anywhere from 3-5 times a week for 15 minutes a night to reduce stress on their eyes to in turn somewhat correct their vision. I, being 18 am not necessary Wiseye’s target market, but they were kind enough to let me trial one of their products to see if this mystery machine really helped or if it was just a gimmick.  I began by taking 3 minutes to focus in/relax my eyes on a target looking thing, then after my eyes focused in a bit, the target moved laterally from 2 inches to 2 feet from my nose for approximately another 3 minutes.  My friend Issac who actually uses the product daily back in the states then told me to close my eyes, slowing back my face away from the machine and then open them. (THIS IS NOT A JOKE)—> Upon opening my eyes, I was truly amazed. For the first time since third grade, I could, without the help of glasses or contacts, make out facial expressions and I could see the sharpness of objects in the room and buildings in the surrounding landscape. Now I know this sounds to good to be true, but friends, I kid you not… I didn’t feel any need to wear my glasses for the next half hour to hour.  Then I thought to myself, if I spent six minutes on this machine one time and saw that kind of result, what would be the result of 5-10 times a week at 15 minutes a pop?!

Also I was fortunate enough to be gifted one of Wiseye’s newer products to bring back to the States.

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Sino-American Shanghai Shanghai Squibb Pharmaceuticals and Custom Molded Products

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On January 12, 2017 we visited two companies that were both in the greater Shanghai area. Our first visit of the day was to Sino-American Shanghai Shanghai Squibb Pharmaceuticals and it was a very interesting visit. We first listened to the head of operations named Yan. Yan was a frenchmen that gave us the low down on the company he ran and also just business in China for our general knowledge. We also listen to a Chinese man who lead the Chinese half of the joint venture. This particular individual was not quite as interesting to listen to, but still knowledgeable none the less. We then took a tour of the plant and had to wear these totally awesome white suits (pictured below). Overall it was a great morning to see a Pharmaceutical company in China coming from West Michigan which is home to a few large Pharmaceutical companies itself.
The second half our day was a total 180 from our morning. We visited a company called Custom Molded Products which is headquartered in Georgia, but produces all of its product in Shanghai. CMP is headed by a 2001 Calvin graduate named Jared English. Jared took over CMP in January of 2014 and inherited a mess. Since then, Jared has turned the company around and has completely changed the culture of CMP. Jared was a great guy with great familial values and informed us of the challenges that come along with being an expat in a great conversation over dinner following our company visit. Overall January 12 was a highlight for me because Jared was able to shed light on a lot of questions I have as a student that potentially wants to work abroad.

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